By Chris Fish
BREVARD -- One group of Brevard County residents is hoping to raise awareness for the Indian River Lagoon this year.
On Saturday, Feb. 1, Marine Resource Council will host the first "LagoonFest 2014"from 2-7 p.m. at the Ted Moorehead Lagoon House in Palm Bay in an effort to raise awareness to the ailing condition of the Indian River Lagoon.
"The goal of the event is to rally the community, in support of the Lagoon we rely on for our quality of life," said Leesa Souto, executive director for Marine Resources Council. "We lost more dolphins, manatees, sea birds and sports fish habitats in the Lagoon last year than we have in recorded history. The Lagoon is in crisis, and we all have a role to play in saving it."
Since July 2012, more than 100 manatees that live in the Indian River Lagoon have died, leading to multiple community efforts, including the opening of a research lab at Florida Institute of Technology, to find a cause and cure for this crisis.
To raise awareness of this issue, the event will feature a variety of food trucks, inspirational speakers and live music, performed by Souler Eclipse, Rayananda & the Wandering Sadhus, Mark Demao & the Four Given, Jeanne by the Sea and Richard Car & Friends.
Ms. Souto said the Indian River Lagoon brings in an annual $3.7 billion to the local economy every year, as well as provides recreational and pastoral experiences.
"(The event) is a showcase for community revelry and support for our Indian River Lagoon," she said. "The event is a sounding board for the Lagoon, in more ways than one. I encourage anyone, who wants to show their support for the Lagoon, to be there."
A $10 donation will allow entrance to the festival, as well as contribute to Marine Resources Council's new Lagoon Lifesavers program.
Ms. Souto said that she would like to thank those, who helped make the event a possibility, including Vern Nicoli, who provided the art for the posters and T-shirts; Richard Carl, who arranged the musical guests; Kim Kines of Less Stress Events for organizing the food trucks; and event sponsor Jotkoff Financial Group.
Marine Resources Council is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that is dedicated to protecting and restoring the Indian River Lagoon coast estuary for the economic, recreational, aesthetic and environmental use of the people of East Central Florida.
"LagoonFest 2014" will be held at the Ted Moorehead Lagoon House at 3275 Dixie Highway N.E., Palm Bay, on Saturday, Feb. 1, from 2-7 p.m.
For more information, visit www.MRCIRL.org.