Under a perfect spring day, the fifth annual North Shore Ocean Fest kicked off at Turtle Bay on June 4, drawing hundreds of families to the resort’s grounds and coastline for the free daylong event. As a means to celebrate and educate the people—and especially keiki of Hawaii—on the importance of protecting our seas, this year’s gathering was a huge success. Complete with live music, student art and poetry presentations, food booths, art and crafts vendors, more than 30 informational booths, and a keiki hula show, Ocean Fest helped strengthen our community while simultaneously educating the public about the plights facing our oceans.
Whether it’s our love affair with fishing, surfing, diving, or simply being near the water, our oceans have come to define who we are in Hawaii. For the early Hawaiians, who voyaged to these islands along countless miles of ocean, or the surfers of today, we are nothing without the sea. The ocean has shaped our collective identity as much as any other driving force. Considering pollution, climate change, and globalization, our oceans have shown that they are not immune to the effects of man and it’s of the utmost importance that we protect something that’s become so vital to our community.
The Ocean Fest’s roots actually date back to 2011 and Dotty Kelly-Paddock of the North Shore Ocean Education Coalition. By providing experiential and educational opportunities about Hawaii’s marine life for our keiki, this group helped to create a new generation of environmentally minded stewards. On the heels of the great work that the North Shore Ocean Education Coalition has undertaken, Turtle Bay partnered with the group to create the family-friendly Ocean Fest that we’ve all come to look forward to every year.
To boot, all funds raised by the Ocean Fest are used to sustain marine education for North Shore students in grades K through 12. To further contribute and keep the good work going, the proceeds raised by selling this year’s Ocean Fest tee-shirts, designed by local artist Lauren Roth, also support ocean education for North Shore keiki.
Whether it was the live music, talk story sessions, delicious local grinds and art exhibits, the 2016 Ocean Fest was a huge success and we at Turtle Bay look forward to supporting it well into the future.