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Lake Lanier birthday celebrations begin today

LAWRENCEVILLE

The 50th anniversary celebration of Lake Lanier begins this weekend.

As part of the summerlong celebration, marinas, business owners and others have events planned for 50 days beginning Friday, when a regatta sponsored by the Lake Lanier Sailing Club begins.

Organizations have planned safety days, sailing events, fireworks shows, free movies and concerts and other activities.

The 50 days begins just two days prior to the 50th anniversary of the first power being produced at Buford Dam and ends with National Marina Day Aug. 11.

"We're really trying to encourage people to visit the lake," said Pamela A. Keene, executive director of Marina Operators of Lake Lanier. "I'm glad to live in a metro area with such a fabulous resource for recreation."

Lake Sidney Lanier, which was created to provide water and navigation, produce power and protect wildlife, welcomes 8 million visitors a year and creates a $5.5 billion economic impact, according to a recent study.

Many people attribute the lake to Atlanta's growth and prosperity.

"We wouldn't be having such good success without the lake," Keene said. "With our wonderful climate, that lake can be enjoyed every single day of the year."

In addition to the events, officials have a program for people who wear a special pin to receive prizes at lake area businesses.

To find out more about the celebration, go to www.lakelanier50.com.

50 days for 50 years EVENTS

n Today through Sunday - Lake Lanier Sailing Club Reggae Regatta

•Saturday - Aqualand Safe Boat Day

•Sunday (Father's Day) - Let's Go Sailing - Lanier Sailing Academy

•Thursday through July 15 - "Metamorphoses," Gainesville Theatre Alliance

•June 23 - SAFE KIDS water Safety Fun Day, Life Jacket Exchange, with COE

•June 23 - Aqualand Solstice Sail

•June 23 - Nifty-50 50-minute sailboat rides and Lake Lanier Birthday Celebration - Windsong Sailing Academy

•Today through Aug. 11 - 50 prizes for 50 days - Habersham Marina

•June 23 - Kids in Boating - MarineMax Bald Ridge Marina

•June 23 - Free cruises on the New Chota Princess II, Upper Chattahoochee Riverkeeper, reservations suggested - 770-531-1064

•June 23 - Aqualand Solstice Sail with Barefoot Sailing Club

•June 30 - Women on Water - MarineMax Bald Ridge Marina

•June 30-July 1 - Independence Day BBQ and Sales Extravaganza - West Marine Lake Lanier

•July 3 - Giant Lakeside Fireworks Celebration - University Yacht Club

•July 7, 14 , 21, 28 - "Sunset Sail on the Pirate Ship at Lake Lanier Islands for 50 percent off" - Lord Nelson Charters

•July 7 - "Sample Sailing" - Windsong Sailing Academy

•July 7-8 - Independence Day BBQ and Sales Extravaganza - West Marine Lake Lanier

•July 14 - Let's Go Sailing - Lanier Sailing Academy

•July 14 - "Charlotte's Web" Free Movie in the Park at Lake Lanier Beach/River Forks Park, 4 p.m. - Hall County Parks and Leisure Services

•July 20 - Art Show at Aqualand Marina

•July 21 - In-water boat show - Starboard Cove Marina

•July 27 - Banks & Shane with special appearance by Jerry Jeff Walker, Lake Lanier Islands to benefit Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, sponsored by McKinney-Geib Foundation - details TBD

•July 28 - Ladies in Boating - Gainesville Marina

•Aug. 4 - SeaQuest Nationals at Lake Lanier Olympic Center

•Aug. 11 - National Marina Day (Special Events at All Marinas)

•Aug. 4 , 11, 18 , 25 - "Sunset Sail on the Pirate Ship at Lake Lanier Islands for 50 percent off" - Lord Nelson Charters

•Aug.11 - Banks & Shane concert at Holiday on Lake Lanier Marina

•Aug.25 - Ray Marine Electronics Seminar - Gainesville Marina

•Aug. 25 - Boat Smart Classes - Atlanta Sail and Power Squadron