New free event series designed to draw attention to Lake Wellington

5:18 p.m Monday, Jan. 29, 2018 Local
Wellington’s gazebo along the southeast shore of Lake Wellington is seen on Monday. The village is launching a Lakeside Family Fun Day series to raise awareness for the lake and the Wellington Community Center. (Kristina Webb/The Palm Beach Post)

Lake Wellington may just be the village’s best-kept secret — but it’s one Wellington officials hope to share.

new series of free, family-friendly events along the lake’s southern shore is designed to draw attention to the lake and its recreational opportunities, Wellington community programs manager Michelle Garvey said.

“We really want to showcase this hidden gem that we have behind our community center,” she said.

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Wellington’s Lakeside Family Fun Days will be Feb. 17, March 10 and April 14. From 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. on each of those days, residents can find free activities including kayaking, paddleboarding and bounce houses.

Each day features free demonstrations from Community Center instructors. On Feb. 17, families can try yoga and meditation. On March 10, there will be a free Zumba session and yoga for children. Zumba returns April 14, along with a reptile demonstration from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The Wellington Art Society — fresh off its Art Fest on the Green this past weekend at the Wellington Amphitheater — will take part with activities, demonstrations and a sidewalk chalk art display.

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The lakefront is “an ideal spot” for art demonstrations, said Leslie Pfeiffer, Wellington Art Society development chair. The organization will have a coloring contest for children Feb. 17 where kids will learn how to use paint, crayons and other materials.

“We want to spark their curiosity,” Pfeiffer said. “They will learn how to use brushes and how to appreciate the wildlife along the lake.”

On March 10, the society will host a plein air art demonstration, where artists will set up their easels and paint in the open air. “I think watching artists do a demonstration is really wonderful,” she said.

For the April 14 Lakeside Family Fun Day, the Wellington Art Society is producing a scaled-down version of the Street Painting Festival in Lake Worth. Chalk artists will like the sidewalk behind the Community Center. “That’s an ideal spot,” Pfeiffer said. “We’re looking forward to this. It’s going to be great.”

The lake stretches from near South Shore Boulevard to the southeast, with Big Blue Trace to the west, Wellington Trace to the north and Forest Hill Boulevard.

Those who have been into the village’s nearly two-year-old, $8 million facility have been able to enjoy expansive views of the lake, she noted. But some residents don’t even know the lake is there.

“We want to bring the attention to the lake that it deserves,” Garvey said.

The village wants to see how much demand exists for more recreational opportunities on the lake, she added. Garvey and community programs coordinator Chris O’Connor put together events together the past few weeks after being tasked in the new year with boosting awareness of the lake.

At each Lakeside Family Fun Day, village staff will be at an information tent to gather feedback from residents. “We want to know, are (residents) interested in kayaking and paddleboarding? Do they want to bring their families to the lakeside?” Garvey said.

And the fun extends into the evening. The first Lakeside Family Fun Night is March 20, she said. It will be Mardi Gras-themed, with a face painter, balloon artists, a jazz band on the Community Center’s back patio and lawn games. The evening will be capped off by a festive boat parade organized in part by Wellington resident Jack Brownson, who also organizes the annual holiday boat parade on Lake Wellington.

“It will be a really unique experience,” Garvey said.