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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 2017

Sunday, june 4

10am-4pm/rain or shine

wanamaker field, island heights nj


(Click Here)  2017 Exhibitors information & application form

(Click here)  2017 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 2016 recipients are:

Lifetime Achievement:Tom Belton

Tom Belton 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. Tom was nominated by Charles Caruso with the Pineland Preservation Alliance, who shared: "Now retired, Tom Belton served the public as a dedicated government Research Scientist with the DEP since the beginning of the environmental movement in the 1970s.  His first focus was on cleaning up contaminated toxic sites throughout New Jersey.  He has more than 35 years of experience in a wide range of environmental and aquatic/marine biology research, including water quality studies, groundwater-surface water modeling, ecosystem health, air-water modeling and watershed characterization and assessment methodologies. In the 1980s Tom conducted studies that assisted in getting the Barnegat Bay designated as a National Estuary by the EPA. Most recently, he led the DEP Office of Science efforts to protect and restore Barnegat Bay as the coordinator for the Governors Barnegat Bay Action Plan Item 9, which resulted in 10 three-year studies that filled in gaps in scientific research and understanding of the bay.  Tom is also an educator, teaching marine biology, estuarine ecology, biology, and environmental policy and science as an Adjunct Professor at Rutgers University Graduate School and Rowan University.  He was a long-time member and major contributor to the deliberations of the BBP STAC."  


The “Pete McLain Young Environmental Steward” award: Kettle Creek Crusaders from Lake Riveria Middle School 


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 Kettle Creek Crusaders.  Their Faculty Advisor, Gary Paxton shared: "The Kettle Creek Crusaders, a group of dedicated Lake Riviera Middle School (LRMS) students, have expanded the integrated environmental studies curriculum though exploring the Kettle Creek watershed and the environment. The crusaders were created as an after school environmental club though the support of a grant from the Barnegat Bay Partnership in 2009. Lake Riviera Middle School is located along a tributary of the Kettle Creek and has a wooded trails and an outdoor classroom created by staff and students. The crusaders learned about the local watershed thought the Parks System, Brick Township MUA, Township Historian, Ocean County Planning, FREC, BBP, and many other local agencies. They have continued their mission of conveying their knowledge gained to local 2nd grade classrooms with presentations, games and coloring books. The crusaders have continued to participate in many local environmental programs such as Quail in the Classroom, DEP Rain Barrel Challenge and Barnegat Bay Blitz, Ocean County Soil Conservation Poster contest, Rutgers NSF Converge, Power Save Schools, Sustainable Schools, Brick Twp. Utilities and Recycling contests and other local environment activities. This year the students have worked on energy conservation and investigating renewable resources, through their participating in Power Save Schools. They have received instruction from Jenkinson’s Aquarium on their penguin conservation efforts and from Rutgers scientists in Antarctica on their research of climate change. Students have received a grant from Sustainable Schools to create an indoor hydroponic garden and outdoor garden, along with composting cafeteria waste and rain barrels. They will again clean up our local waterway through the Barnegat Bay Blitz this spring. The crusaders will visit local 2nd grade classrooms and present to them about their work this year and have them look to conserve energy to reduce the carbon footprint and help our local environment. They have games like Bingo, Clue, Energy Shots, and Life Sized Energy Challenge and they will take home coloring books related to the presentation and activities that they have participated in. It is the hope of the Kettle Creek Crusaders to help these students become good environmental stewards, like they became from participating in a Kettle Creek presentation when they were in 2nd grade. The Lake Riviera Middle School staff and administration, the Brick Township School Board and local environmental groups commend the Kettle Creek Crusaders for their work on cleaning and educating their community about preserving and conserving our local environment."



The following are past recipients of a Guardian of Barnegat Bay Award: Robert S. Nicholson for the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES)- Project Terrapin Student Group which received the "Pete McLain Young Environmental Steward" award (2015). 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 very first "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.