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Annual Barnegat Bay Festival   

The Barnegat Bay Festival is the Barnegat Bay Partnership's (BBP) signature event, held at a beautiful waterfront location on the first Sunday in June.  This day of free family fun reaches out to year-round residents and summer visitors to learn more about the Barnegat Bay, celebrate its resources, and to participate in interactive programs which stress the importance of the ecosystem to our Ocean and Monmouth County communities.
Environmental groups, as well as state and local agencies, provide excellent exhibits and activities that focus on the environmentally responsible ways we all can enjoy and protect the Barnegat Bay and its watershed.  The entire family can participate in a myriad of environmental crafts such as fish printing and sea life origami.  Festival-goers also enjoy decoy carving, interactive touch tanks, seining demonstrations, and other displays exploring life along the Bay, past and present.  For a chance to get up close and personal with the Bay, attendees can take advantage of eco-tours such as kayaking through area creeks or traveling cross-bay with Ocean County naturalists aboard the educational pontoon boat.  Artisans and crafters sell marine art, jewelry, garden statuary, pottery, and custom-made skiffs; live music is provided throughout the day and festival food is available.  


Visit our Photo Gallery page to view photos from past Barnegat Bay Festivals.

barnegat bay festival 2016

Sunday, june 5

10am-4pm/rain or shine

wanamaker field, island heights nj


(Click Here)  2016 Exhibitors information & application form

(Click here)  2016 Vendors information & application form


guardians of Barnegat Bay Awards 

The Festival is also the perfect venue to honor those who have made significant contributions to protect the environment.  The Guardian of Barnegat Bay awards are presented annually to individuals and/or groups making a significant contribution to the protection of the Barnegat Bay. Recipients have been honored in three separate categories: Lifetime Achievement, Community Caretaker, and Government Leading by Example. In 2013, the Pete McLain Young Environmental Steward award was presented for the first time. This will now be an ongoing addition to the Guardian of Barnegat Bay awards. The awardees are selected by the Partnership’s Advisory Committee, which consists of representatives from federal, state, and local government agencies, academic institutions, and non-governmental organizations.

The 2015 recipients are:

Lifetime Achievement: Robert S. Nicholson

Bob Nicholson received the “Lifetime Achievement” award, which is presented to an individual who has made a significant, long-term contribution to the protection of the Barnegat Bay. As a Hydrologist with the U.S.Geological Survey (USGS), Bob was primarily involved with the evaluation of hydrologic change in various wetland, aquatic, and estuarine habitats.  His particular areas of interest with USGS were quantitative hydrologic analysis, numerical modeling techniques, subsurface contaminant transport, groundwater interactions with surface water,and the linkages between hydrologic change and ecological response.  Bob served for many years on the science advisory committees of both the Barnegat Bay Partnership and the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve, and also on the Kirkwood-Cohansey Policy Team of the New Jersey Pinelands Commission.

One of the nominating statements paid this tribute:  "Bob has made substantial contributions to our knowledge and understanding regarding the hydrology of our watershed and estuary.  He has been a committed, dedicated and valuable addition to the Barnegat Bay Partnership’s Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) and Advisory Committee (AC) for many years.  His no-nonsense approach and expertise have contributed immensely to our scientific knowledge.  His demeanor has always been professional and friendly.  He has taught us all how to “go with the flow!”  He will be missed as he retires from his impressive professional career. "

The “Pete McLain Young Environmental Steward” award: Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) – Project Terrapin Student Group

The “Pete McLain Young Environmental Stewards” award recognizes a young person, or group of young people, in grades K through 12, for efforts to protect and restore the Barnegat Bay and its watershed.  The award is named in honor of Pete McLain, a dedicated steward of the bay’s resources and a mentor to generations of young environmentalists. 

This year’s recipient is the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science-Project Terrapin Student Group.  Their Faculty Advisor, Dr. John Wnek shared this: "The MATES Project Terrapin group has been working hard the past six years by raising awareness of our Barnegat Bay estuary, especially the marsh habitats that diamondback terrapins occupy.  The students in Project Terrapin work with over 6000 school children and people annually, participate in conservation initiatives, and this year were instrumental in gaining better protection for the diamondback terrapin in New Jersey.  They met with state legislators to expedite terrapin protection by working with other schools to promote conservation.  In fact, NJDEP Commissioner Martin signed off on a moratorium to suspend terrapin harvest in New Jersey this year, and I know the positive press and actions of Project Terrapin students were part of this action.  Our Project Terrapin students care for over two dozen turtles that were not cared for properly and provide husbandry daily and over the summer.  The students are involved in a head-start hatchling project that raises terrapins for an annual release, and they network with other schools (several in our watershed) as “Terrapin Ambassadors.”  The group has also distributed over 20,000 bycatch reduction devices (BRDs) to put on commercial-style crab pots at no cost over the past six years.  Hopefully, the use of BRDs will reduce the number of diamondback terrapins that enter crab pots and many times drown.  Project Terrapin students raise funds for dune grass plantings and support plantings at Island Beach State Park (IBSP) and Long Beach Island.  In fact, they just purchased 4000 beach grass plants and supported a planting in late March at IBSP. "  


The following are past recipients of a Guardian of Barnegat Bay Award: Dr. James Merritt for the Lifetime Achievement Award and the West Windsor-Plainsboro North High School (WWPN) biology students who received the "Pete McLain Young Environmental Steward" award (2014); Dr. Roger Locandro for Lifetime Achievement and Lindsey Van Zile who received the "Pete McLain Young Environmental Steward" award (2013);David Friedman, Potter Creek Crusaders, and Brick Township MUA (2012), NJ Governor Chris Christie (2011), Steve Atzert (2010), Robert Anstett (2009), Michael Kennish, Ph.D. (2008), Terry O'Leary, David Friedman, Save Barnegat Bay (2007), Congressman James Saxton, Paul D.(Pete) McLain, and Jan Larson (2005).

Check out the Barnegat Bay Passport to a Greener Community -- created for the 12th Annual Barnegat Bay Festival in 2009 but designed to be used as a guide for living bay-friendly year round.  Use it to get great tips on going green in all areas of your life and to get to know the multitude of amazing non-profits and government groups working to protect the resources of our area.