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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 2017 recipients are:

Lifetime Achievement: Christine Raabe

Christine Raabe 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.

Christine was nominated by John Wnek with the Marine Academy of Technology and Environmental Science (MATES) who shared: "I am writing to nominate Christine Raabe for the Lifetime Achievement Award.  I feel that she embodies Barnegat Bay education.  Christine was instrumental in developing the “Discovering Barnegat Bay” Curriculum and organized the Environmental Educators Roundtable (an annual workshop for Barnegat Bay educators) which celebrated 20 years this past April.  Christine is also leading the way at the Ocean County Soil Conservation District, where she integrates her message about the importance of healthy soils and water quality in the bay, and she has been responsible for numerous “Rain Garden” projects throughout our watershed.  She was chairperson of the Cattus Island Advisory Council for numerous years and was a founding member of the Lighthouse Center for Natural Resource Education.  Christine has dedicated her life to the Barnegat Bay and its watershed, especially connecting educators to the bay.  I feel that she is well-deserving of this award."  


The “Pete McLain Young Environmental Steward” award: MATES "NOAA" Team


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 MATES "NOAA" Team. 

Their Faculty Advisor, John Wnek shared: "I am nominating the MATES “NOAA” Team which consists of 14 students who volunteered hundreds of hours of retrieving and analyzing derelict fishing gear throughout Barnegat Bay. They were coined the “NOAA Team” as they provided a round of funding through a grant that is coordinated by the Conserve Wildlife Foundation of New Jersey.  The team worked for the past two winters during the cold months of December through March helping to retrieve crab pots, and then analyzing crabs pots and other derelict fishing gear recovered from Barnegat Bay.  They have analyzed over 1150 abandoned traps throughout the project.  The students presented at several conferences and events and are now working on a campaign that would provide a source of funding for other derelict crab pot removal projects in New Jersey.  I have worked with numerous students over many years on Barnegat Bay and feel that this group of the students is the most dedicated and enthusiastic group that I have had the privilege of working with.  All but one student will be graduating this school year.  The NOAA Team is considered a model by the NOAA regional coordinator, who told me that he promotes this model to other regions and hopes to get other student teams involved in derelict fishing gear recovery projects. I feel that Pete would have been thrilled to work with such an enthusiastic group who came up with this slogan… “In it together to make a safer Barnegat Bay.”  


The following are past recipients of a Guardian of Barnegat Bay Award: Tom Belton for the Lifetime Achievement Award and the Kettle Creek Crusaders from Lake Riviera Middle School which received the "Pete McLain Young Environmental Steward" award (2016). 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.