Sturgeon Festival


Run With the Sturgeon is a 5K race and 1K fun run along the beautiful Blue Water River Walk on the shores of the St. Clair River. Meet our mascot, Seymour Sturgeon, who will be cheering you on! We are proud to be the Blue Water Area's first green race --- leave your footsteps, but not a carbon footprint! Our water station uses biodegradable cups, race packets are delivered in reusable cloth bags, and runners receive a reusable water bottle. All 5K participants receive a t-shirt, matching bag, water bottle, and finishers medal. All 1K participants receive a medal, with an option to purchase a t-shirt for additional money. All 5K and 1K participants receive a finisher’s medal. Awards are presented to the top three males and females in all age groups in the 5K. Stick around after the race for the award ceremony and to visit the live sturgeon touch tank. Funds are available for students through the Starting Line Youth Running Fund. Race proceeds benefit Friends of the St. Clair River, Sturgeon For Tomorrow, and Starting Line Youth Running Fund.

8:15 a.m.1K start
8:30 a.m. 5K start
9:30 a.m. Award Presentation

Click here for Race Registration - Online race registration closes June 2nd. Registrations will be taken on-site the day of the race. The race takes place rain or shine!

 Click here for the Course Map

This race is in memorial of a special sturgeon friend from St. Clair, Jerry Vranish, who was an avid fisherman, discovered his true passion when he caught his first sturgeon.  During sturgeon season he could be found out on the river at least two nights a week and during the off season he could be found researching and clipping articles on sturgeon. Jerry passed away suddenly December 2012 and his family wished to find a charitable way to honor him.  We could not think of a better way than to support the fish he respected which had provided him so much quality time with family and friends!

Sturgeon Festival

Sturgeon Festival is a family-friendly event, sponsored by Friends of the St. Clair River, centered on providing close encounters with the “Giants of the Great Lakes”. Browse a dozen indoor & outdoor displays with hands-on activities, drop-in a workshop, touch a live sturgeon and other native fish, or take a ride on our exclusive Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise.

Sturgeon are phenomenal to see up close because they reach enormous size - weighing up to 150 pounds, growing over 7 feet, and living over 100 years. The St. Clair River supports the largest remaining population of threatened lake sturgeon. Over 10,000 lake sturgeon call underneath the Blue Water Bridges home which makes it possible to see these majestic fish if given the opportunity. At the Sturgeon Festival, we are bringing this unique opportunity to thousands of families each year.

picLake sturgeon populations have declined since the early 1900’s, not just from historical over-fishing, but from habitat destruction and increasing pollution levels, and as a result were added to the Threatened Species list in Michigan. In recent years, the lake sturgeon has made something of a comeback due to completion of numerous spawning reefs in the St. Clair River. Sturgeon can be used as a spotlight species to gauge the health of the river, and with sturgeon numbers slowly on the rise we are assured that the health of the St. Clair River is also improving. A sustainable fish population and healthy river system is not only important for our health but it means increased recreation opportunities and tourism for the Blue Water Area.

Are you ready for your close encounter with this prehistoric freshwater fish?

Sturgeon Cruise

Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise
10:00 a.m. • 11:30 a.m. • 1:30 p.m.
Tickets go on sale April 1, 2017-


Get a glimpse of these enormous fish on the Blue Water Area’s exclusive Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise! Courtesy of Gregory A.D. scuba divers, Sturgeon Cruise guests will watch live video of lake sturgeon swimming in the St. Clair River on big screen televisions on deck. Enjoy the St. Clair River and the beautiful expanse of Lake Huron on this 1 hour cruise narrated by sturgeon experts. There are only 100 seats available each cruise, so don’t delay, get your tickets today! Boarding for the sturgeon cruise begins promptly 20 minutes before departure.

Live Sturgeon Touch Tank
It’s a live sturgeon encounter! Meet the fisheries biologists and sturgeon experts from the MI DNR and US Fish and Wildlife Service that are conducting ongoing sturgeon assessments in the Blue Water Area.

Sturgeon Birthday Cake
Right now thousands of lake sturgeon from around the Great Lakes are gathering under the Blue Water Bridges to spawn. This happens every year at this time. A week later after spawning the eggs hatch, which means every sturgeon in the Blue Water Area was born at the same time! Sturgeon live to be 100 years old, so we need 100 candles to celebrate!

Face painting, t-shirt and mug sale, give-aways, Seymor Sturgeon mascot photo opportunities, and more!

Great Lakes exhibits with hands-on kids activities

Art Contest Voting
Vote for your favorite 5th grader’s sturgeon poster using your pocket change! Fourteen finalists were selected from 380 entries from across St. Clair County. The top three winners are announced at the close of the festival.

Drop in for a 20-min presentation inside the Maritime Center classroom. Workshops are general seating and open to all ages.


Chalk the Walk Sturgeon Mural
Join artist Lou Rodriquez to create a stunningsturgeon masterpiece in chalk! Lou is the artist who designed and built our beloved StellaClaire, the giant sturgeon sculpture on Blue Water River Walk. Help Lou bring the art to life by dropping in anytime to watch him or add your own touch to help complete the work.

School Sturgeon Cruise
Local 5th graders are invited to participate in our Sturgeon Poster Contest which could win the class a free Huron Lady Sturgeon Cruise on Friday, June 2, 2017. During the educational 1-hour cruise students learn about lake sturgeon habitat, and see live sturgeon tagging in Lake Huron from fisheries biologists. The contest is open to public, private or homeschooled 5th grade students from St. Clair County. Artwork can depict lake sturgeon biology, habitat, their role in the food web, their connection to Native Americans, or how to protect water quality. Posters must be 8.5” x 11” and completed individually. For complete details, email School Sturgeon Cruise Coordinator.

Sturgeon Cruise

Recent News

Sturgeon in Detroit: Ancient fish weighing up to 200 pounds lurk in river

Searching for young lake sturgeon near Detroit-area spawning reefs

An annual Sturgeon Festival in Michigan celebrates the fish’s resurgence while teaching people about the importance of clean water

Great Lakes Fishery Commission Sturgeon News
DiverGreat Lakes Lake Sturgeon
St. Clair River Area of Concern
The St. Clair - Detroit River System Initiative
The Great Lakes Commission
Fish Habitat Projects in the St. Clair River

Video Clips
Return of the Gentle Giants pdf
Top 10 Lake Sturgeon Clips pdf

Fact Sheets
Great Lakes Heroes - Super Sturgeon pdf
Helping the Ancient Sturgeon
Restoring Fish Habitat in the St. Clair River pdf
Restoration of Lake Sturgeon in the Detroit River pdf
Dinosaur of the Great Lakes pdf
Michigan: Great Lakes Restoration at Work pdf
Marysville Living Shoreline Project pdf


Phone: (810) 987-5306
Facebook: Blue Water Sturgeon Festival


Fast Facts

Type: Fish
Diet: Omnivore
Life span: Male 55yrs / Female 115yrs
Size: 6.5 ft
Weight: Up to 200 lbs

Did you know? The lake sturgeon is often called a "living fossil”. It’s part of a family of fish that has existed unchanged for more than 135 million years.

Take the Lake Sturgeon Quiz!  pdf

More Facts











Underwater sturgeon photos by Greg Lashbrook


The Sturgeon Festival, organized by Friends of the St. Clair River, is a partnership between natural resource agencies, government, industry, scientists, anglers, and recreationalists in order to highlight the ecosystem approach to managing fish and wildlife in the St. Clair River and to increase interest in restoring the lake sturgeon to higher levels of abundance. With everyone’s cooperation, this “Gentle Giant of the Great Lakes” will be saved from extinction for all to enjoy. Click on “More Facts” to read more about lake sturgeon and recently completed local habitat restoration projects in the St. Clair River.


© 2013-2017 Friends of the St. Clair River Watershed. All rights reserved.
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