Organizers are gearing up for the seventh annual Shoal Creek Water Festival this Saturday at the Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center.

The center will host the annual Shoal Creek Water Festival, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Admission is free – except for those who are entering the cardboard boat race – and open to the public.

For more information about the Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center or to register for programs, call 782-6287 or log on to the website at

“In Joplin, we get 90 percent of our drinking water from Shoal Creek,” said Kerstin Landwer, Development and Volunteer Associate, Wildcat Glades Conservation & Audubon Center. “So it is really important that we share with folks just what that water does for us as a community, and how it affects our well being through the health of the water. So primarily, this is an educational event so people can really understand how their actions affect water that they drink.”

Events include a cardboard boat race, a shoebox box race, a concert by WildHeart, a bird sanctuary, a rubber duck race and vendor and educational booths.

There is also something new this year.

“It kicks off at 10 a.m. With our first ever kayak slalom races, those are new this year,” she said. “We have two age divisions, one is 13-15 for youth, and then 16 and above is for adults. They will race down Shoal Creek through some wacky buoys that we have got set up and then a straight race back. We will have a first and second place winner in each age division. Men and women will compete against each other in these age divisions, too.”

Landwer said they have been talking about doing these races for a while now.

“It also gives another really fun exciting event for the spectators to watch,” she said.

“We are limiting it to 30 contestants, it will be a pretty quick race, it will probably be over by 11 or 11:30 a.m.”

Another event is the concert by WildHeart.

“They are an award-winning musical group that sings about conservation and environmental educational issues,” she said. “That is great for the smaller kids – actually kids of all ages. They have a very well-know album called ‘Critter Rock’ they will be singing.”

The shoebox boat races will start at 11:30 a.m. It is open to children ages 3-12.

After the shoebox boat races, another highlight will be the cardboard boat races.

“It is made out of cardboard and paper, can not be any kind of specially-treated cardboard or wax cardboard. You are allowed to use duct tape and Liquid Nails as your fasteners. It can be done and it can be done very, very well.”

On the educational side of things, various booths will be set up.

“We will have educational booths, that is everything from MAKO fly fishers, Master Naturalists, Mercy will do skin checks, because we are outside, we don’t want anyone to get over exposure to the sun, we want to be conscious of that,” said Landwer said. “We also have trader’s row, which has vendors inspired by nature, we have some neat artists that will be selling their items.”

Other events include a World Bird Sanctuary at 2 p.m. and at 2:45 p.m., a rubber duck race will be held.