Clean up: Creekfest returns to Zionsville’s Eagle Creek


On Aug. 28, Zionsville Parks and Recreation and several community partners will hold Creekfest, an annual clean-up and celebration of Eagle Creek, which flows through town and supplies most residents with drinking water.

“Creekfest is an opportunity for residents to get involved in their drinking water — Eagle Creek,” Zionsville Supt. of Parks and Recreation Jarod Logsdon said. “We come out and do a creek cleanup, and it is an educational opportunity. It’s just an opportunity for the community to come together, celebrate and also share in the preservation and restoration of one of their most important resources. It’s a time to celebrate creeks, waterways and how important they are in our daily lives.”

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Families can participate in a creek stomp during Creekfest.

Besides the creek cleanup, Creekfest includes a festival at Elm Street Green, a park in Zionsville at 165 N. Elm St., from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Aug. 28. The festival will include live music, a duck race, water- and conservation-related activities, kayak demonstrations, a creek stomp, an Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources bass-casting station and other family friendly activities.

Volunteers must register online in advance for the creek cleanup, which begins at 9 a.m. The cleanup will be capped at 100 volunteers because of the pandemic. Each year, the event focuses on cleaning different sections of Eagle Creek. This year, volunteers will focus on cleaning the section from Creekside Nature Park to Zionsville Golf Course.

Creekfest began in 2013 with a stream cleanup and 40 volunteers. More than 7,000 pounds of trash have been collected since the beginning of the stream cleanup.

“Eagle Creek flows down to the reservoir, where it is utilized for drinking water in Zionsville and other areas,” Logsdon said. “By targeting sections of the creek and clearing out litter, trash, it is going to create a higher quality (drinking water) and reduce pollution in our water.”

Logsdon said tires and metals are often some of the debris cleared during the event.

“The parks department is also continuing to stabilize our banks and reduce erosion, so that’s our efforts to improve water quality, but citizens also get an opportunity to increase that as well,” Logsdon said.

Zionsville Director of Recreation Services Mindy Murdock said the majority of the town’s parks are “natural.”

“We’ve left it that way, but even if it’s not, like an area like Mulberry Fields, we try to find areas where we can put that natural habitat back in,” Murdock said. “So, for us, it’s important that the community has an understanding of our natural habitats here in Zionsville and in central Indiana. To keep those areas healthy, that in turn keeps us healthy since we are a part of nature. Clean drinking water affects us, and so does air and everything else.”

Murdock said Creekfest helps highlight Eagle Creek, which she said most people drive over on Willow Road without realizing it eventually becomes drinking water for most who don’t get their water from a well.

Creekfest is a partnership between the Zionsville Parks and Recreation Dept. and the Zionsville Dept. of Public Works, the Boone County Solid Waste Management District and Zionsville resident Todd Settle, who originated the idea for the event.

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Debris is taken out of Eagle Creek during Zionsville’s annual Creekfest. (Photos courtesy of the Town of Zionsville)

Returning after last year’s hiatus

The 2020 Creekfest was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This year, however, town officials believe conditions are safe enough to conduct the outdoor event.

“In 2020 we had to pivot, and with resources and timing, we decided it wasn’t a good fit,” Zionsville Supt. of Parks and Recreation Jarod Logsdon said. “Now that vaccination rates are up, and it’s an outdoor event, we can safely host this while still allowing that well-known gathering of the community.”

Logsdon said some features of the event will change because of the pandemic, such as lunches being served in individual packages.

“We are still taking precautions,” Zionsville Director of Recreation Services Mindy Murdock said. “The number of people who have come out to our parks has increased exponentially over the last 18 months, and we get a lot of people who have asked what they can do to help.

“Some didn’t know this park was here, so we are able to offer that and give them an opportunity to help out and maybe get some people to Elm Street Green who have never been to that park before.”