Save the date and mark your calendar! 
Saturday, August 7, 2021
All day. All free. 
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Raising public awareness of water quality issues in the Iowa Great Lakes and beyond.


Festival moves forward with plans for 2021

OKOBOJI – The Okoboji Blue Water Festival will return this summer after a one-year absence last year due to COVID-19. “After having to postpone our event in 2020 because of the virus, we are excited to announce that our popular event will resume this year on Saturday, August 7 in the Preservation Plaza green space in Arnolds Park, said organizer Greg Drees. “We are encouraged by the pace of the vaccine rollout and are confident that the festival can be conducted as it has in the past. Of course, we will monitor social distancing and other protocols and adapt creatively if need be,” Drees added.

The inaugural festival was held in 2016 and has grown into Iowa’s premier water quality event. More than 30 exhibitors – lake protective associations, non-profits and conservation organizations – are already registered to be at the event from 9 AM to 3 PM. “Exhibitors will line the winding sidewalk in the green space and capture the natural pedestrian traffic there to visit with patrons about clean water and natural resource preservation,” Drees said.

A panel of statewide clean water experts will speak to the public under a large tent in the green space at 1 PM, followed by the keynote address to be delivered by Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. Kennedy is a global water quality advocate who has championed clean water initiatives around the world.

A designated area in the green space is reserved throughout the day for the Kids’ and Family Activities, a part of the festival that has grown in popularity each summer. “A committee is busy at work planning a dozen or so watershed education stations for parents and children,” Drees explained, “that are both informational and fun. When we make it entertaining, youngsters show a keen interest in enhancing our natural resources, and they are the future of that guardianship.”


The festival will culminate that evening with a concert on the Preservation Plaza stage.

“This event is brought to the public all day and free of charge,” Drees said. “The festival is supported financially by a large group of businesses, organizations and individuals who are vested in protecting the beautiful and unique water resources of the Iowa Great Lakes.” 

The Okoboji Blue Water Festival was created by the Okoboji Protective Association (OPA) in 2016 to raise public awareness of water quality issues in the Iowa Great Lakes. The OPA, founded in 1905, is a 501(c)-3 non-profit organization dedicated to the protection and enhancement of West Lake Okoboji and the Iowa Great Lakes watershed.