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Free Sturgeon Fest in Port Huron Saturday

Photo courtesy of Friends of the St. Clair River The 2019 Sturgeon Festival welcomed over 4,000 people to the city.

Food, music and hands-on activities planned

By Barb Pert Templeton 

When you have a species that’s both threatened and endangered, sharing information about it with the public is a priority and is the cornerstone for the annual Sturgeon Festival in Port Huron. 

This year marks the 15th Anniversary of the group Friends of the St. Clair River and it’s the ninth annual Sturgeon Festival. The event was cancelled in 2020 due to the pandemic and was a scaled-back version in 2021, according to Sheri Faust, president of the Friends.

The 2022 Blue Water Sturgeon Festival will be back at full bore hosted from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, June 4 at Lighthouse Park in Port Huron. Visitors are invited to experience a live sturgeon touch tank, hands-on activities, workshops, a Native American drum ceremony, a public sturgeon release, food, music and shopping at over a dozen vendor booths.

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Photo courtesy of Friends of the St. Clair River.
A touch-tank is part of the fun for visitors to the annual Sturgeon Festival.

Faust said the booths will include artists, authors, environmental organizations and even the chance to purchase some swag from Friends of the St. Clair River like t-shirts and mugs with images of the mighty sturgeon. 

A Native American organization from Sarnia will perform at the event sharing stories through music, songs and a drum. 

“The performance is very impactful and very moving, sharing where this whole thing started on the golden beaches by the water and tells the story of the significance these waters had for hundreds and thousands of years,” Faust said.

Photo courtesy of Friends of the St. Clair River.
More than a dozen vendors including artists, authors and environmental groups will be at the festival.

Visitors are also invited to purchase tickets to enjoy a one-hour cruise on the Huron Lady II where they can interact with scientists catching, tagging and releasing Lake Sturgeon underneath the Blue Water Bridges. Participants can ask questions to the biologists who study Lake Sturgeon and learn about the latest Great Lakes’ sturgeon research. 

Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise tickets are available at www.SturgeonFestival.com for the 11 a.m. cruise. The 1 p.m. trip is sold out. Tickets are $30 per person and limited tickets are available. 

Faust said organizers hope the people who take the cruise will disembark and then head over to Lighthouse Park for the festival including a ceremony to release a baby sturgeon set for 2:30 p.m.

Other activities include the release of a sturgeon at noon by Port Huron Mayor Pauline Repp and County Commission Chairman Jeff Bohn who faced off in a contest to name the fish. Repp was the victor but both will be at the event for the release, Faust said.

Photo courtesy of Friends of the St. Clair River
Sturgeon have been around for 136 million years, but in the last century they’ve nearly been wiped out.

The public will have the opportunity to adopt a sturgeon and will be given the data to keep track of their fish, each one tagged and microchipped, before being released into the St. Clair River.

Faust said the event is particularly meaningful because the festival had to get permission from both state and federal government agencies to release a baby sturgeon.

“That’s something new for our festival this year and something we are very excited about,” Faust said. “And people can come and witness it and be part of that release.”

Blue Water Sturgeon Festival is Friends largest annual fundraiser which supports local conservation and education programs and a devoted list of sponsors make it all possible, Faust said.

“It’s a celebration of the conservation of the species and protecting the species,” Faust said. “And the Blue Water area has the largest sturgeon population in the Great Lakes.”

Photo courtesy of Friends of the St. Clair River
There will be plenty of hands-on activities for children at the Sturgeon Festival.

Sturgeon have been around for 136 million years, but in the last century they’ve nearly been wiped out. Numerous federal and state partners invested $4.3 million to construct three fish spawning reefs in the St. Clair River to study environmental cues to spawning and mortality.” 

Lake Sturgeon, the Great Lakes’ largest fish, can grow to more than six feet long and weigh more than 100 pounds. Biologists are recording the abundance, distribution, and growth of Lake Sturgeon to better understand the life cycle and movements of this threatened species. 

For more information, visit www.SturgeonFestival.com.Celebrating their 15th anniversary, Friends of the St. Clair River is Michigan Thumb Coast’s largest environmental organization. Their mission is to protect and restore the St. Clair River watershed through community education, environmental monitoring, hands-on stewardship, and advocacy. Visit www.scriver.org and “Friends of the St. Clair River” on social. ### Blue Water Sturgeon Festival June 4, 2022 Port Huron, MI @friendsofthestclairriver MICHIGAN’S LARGEST FESTIVAL FOR THE GREAT LAKES LARGEST FISH.

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