Those who work to improve Otterbein Lake will be highlighting the often-overlooked lake during the fifth annual Wessie Fest this Saturday.

Those who work to improve Otterbein Lake will be highlighting the often-overlooked lake during the fifth annual Wessie Fest this Saturday.

The festival is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Aug. 28 at Otterbein Lake, which is accessible from the bike path off Main Street just west of Alum Creek.

As always, the festival will focus on educating attendees about the lake, aquatic ecology and conservation, said Mark Dilley, of Mad Scientists, who has helped to organize the festival.

"We're going to be looking at the turtles, fish and insects that live in the lake, and we'll be leading some tours about the lakeshore restoration project that's under way there," Dilley said.

There will be about 15 exhibits set up by local conservation groups, such as Friends of Alum Creek and Tributaries, Franklin County Metro Parks and the Ohio Wildlife Center, Dilley said.

There will be live music by Al Velasco and Bardic Circle, and food and refreshments will be available.

Dilley said many nature-related activities for children are planned during the festival.

"We're going to have a lot of hands-on activities for kids," he said. "There's a lot of things not just to see, but do."

One of the highlights of the event will be Mad Scientists taking a 75-foot net into the lake and doing a sweep to collect fish to show kids what the fish that live in the lake look like. The fish will be put into an aquarium for people to see during the festival before they are released back into the lake, Dilley said.

He said the annual festival provides an important opportunity for volunteers to showcase what they're doing to improve the habitat in Otterbein Lake while providing kids with the chance to learn more about nature.

"It's a unique opportunity to draw attention to the restoration efforts that are ongoing at the lake," he said. "The lake historically has been in an out-of-sight, out-of-mind kind of place. Now that the city's leisure trail goes beside it, it's gaining some more recognition."

The current construction on Main Street means those attending will have to turn onto Main Street from Cleveland Avenue or Collegeview Road. Parking will be available in the lot south of AmeriCheer or at the Westerville Senior Center.

jnesbitt@thisweeknews.com

www.ThisWeekNews.com