It’s safe to say that the T.H. Stone St. Joseph Peninsula State Park was fully appreciated last Saturday.


It’s safe to say that the T.H. Stone St. Joseph Peninsula State Park was fully appreciated last Saturday.



The Friends of St Joseph State Park hosted its annual State Park Appreciation Day at Eagle Harbor on Cape San Blas.



Held in conjunction with National Public Lands Day, the morning kicked off with a shoreline cleanup to keep the park pristine.



Information booths and environment displays surrounded Eagle Harbor and shared information with the 300 attendees about wildlife, park history and sea turtles.



A low-country shrimp boil fed hungry “friends” and visitors alike while Scallop Cove provided free ice cream for the kids.



“Friends” president Dewey Blaylock estimated the event welcomed 70 percent more attendees than last year’s and had four times as many new members enroll.



“We’re really pleased with the membership increase,” said Blaylock. “I think we accomplished what we set out to do.”



A sandcastle competition took place on the beach while local band Sonic Tonic kept revelers entertained with a mix of cover songs from years past.



“The park getting the stage was an incredible addition,” added Blaylock.



Attendees were treated to ample seating or took in the festivities from the comfort of their boats.



A volunteer staff of 25 kept the event running smoothly and beautiful weather kept spirits high.



It was the first time on the board for “Friends” marketing director and events coordinator, Crystal Follin.



Given this was her first time promoting the event through a website, social media and flyers she said she was happy with the turnout for the event.



“It was a great event and the weather was perfect,” said Follin. “There were so many families and everyone was in a great mood.”



The Friends of St Joseph State Park isa non-profit organization that provides support to missions at T. H. Stone St. Joseph Peninsula State Park.



The park is home to a shoreline named in 2002 as the top beach in the world and last summer, destination website America’s Best Online, named St. Joseph Peninsula State Park the top state park in the country.