Westerville residents will have a chance to learn more about nature at Otterbein Lake during the fourth annual Wessie Fest, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Westerville residents will have a chance to learn more about nature at Otterbein Lake during the fourth annual Wessie Fest, which will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Wessie Fest will be held at Otterbein Lake, which is accessible from the bike path off Main Street just west of Alum Creek. Patrons are encouraged to park in the COTA lot on Main Street.

The festival, named for Otterbein Lake's own fictional water horse, will feature opportunities for people to interact with nature, including exhibits of native plants and live animals, as well as nature-themed educational exhibits and activities for children.

Hot dogs, hamburgers, s'mores, beverages and other foods will be available, and there will be live music, with River's End Sound performing from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m., Al Belasco performing from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. and Bardic Circle performing from 12:30 to 2 p.m.

"There's tons of just fun things for kids to do. They can pet animals and go down to the lake with the MAD Scientist group and scoop out animals," organizer Lindalee Brownstein said. "And it's all educational."

Those attending this year's festival should notice the strides volunteers have made over the past six years in enhancing the lake, which was once a dirt quarry filled with water, Brownstein said.

Over the past few years, volunteers have raised money to regrade the lake, create an environmental park, plant native species of vegetation and remove invasive plant species.

Many of the plants have started to grow tall and the vegetation within the lake has started to provide a habitat for animal life, Brownstein said.

"It's getting to be a more wildlife-friendly park," she said. "There are animals in the pond so we know it's getting better."

Brownstein said she hopes Wessie Fest will give residents an understanding of what volunteers have done to improve Otterbein lake and why -- and perhaps garner more volunteers to help with plantings and other events at the lake.

Those interested in volunteering can e-mail otterbeinlake@att.net or call Brownstein at (614) 570-7342.

Brownstein said even if people aren't interested in volunteering, she hopes they'll attend Wessie Fest to learn more about the lake and to have a good time.

"It's a fun day, and it's free, so you can't get any better than that," she said.

More information about Otterbein Lake can be found at www.otterbeinlake.org.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com