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Bay Day at St. Joseph Bay State Buffer Preserve --- is Back!!

Special to The Star
The Star

Hurricane Michael might have interfered for a year, however, the interference has been noted and dealt with.

Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves Aquatic and Buffer Preserves enthusiastically invite you to join them on Feb. 8 for their Winter Bay Day. Hurricane Michael struck just days before the Fall Bay Day October 2018.

So . . . the staff of the Buffer and Aquatic Preserves and the outstanding volunteers from the Citizen Support Organization (CSO), a.k.a. the Friends of the Preserves is really excited to present Bay Day to visitors and locals alike.

There will be four Tram Tours to the Uplands offered throughout the day. Sign up for Tram Tours will be on Feb. 8 only! Tickets are free, however, you must have one to participate. Tram Tours are a little shorter on Bay Day, so more people have the opportunity to enjoy them.

A major draw for Bay Day is the Low Country Shrimp Boil, lovingly prepared by Friends Board Member, John Ehrman. The locally-caught shrimp, Kielbasa sausage, corn-on-the-cob, coleslaw and garlic bread is always delicious. For only $10 you certainly get your money’s worth. People are happy to stand in line a few minutes for such an outstanding plate of food.

While you are standing in line from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. there will be delightful music to listen to while you chat with friends you know or friends you’ve just met. Local, homegrown native of Port St. Joe, Eddie McFarland brings his band for this special event each year.

Locals are reminded what a great band the Crossroad Bluegrass Band is and those just hearing them for the first time always ask, “Can you get them for the next Bay Day too!”

There will be Silent Auction items for your consideration. Buying auction items is a great way to support the Buffer and Aquatic Preserves. These items are donated by local businesses to show their dedication to making the Preserves the best they can be.

It takes a small army of volunteers and the staff of both Preserves to sponsor such an event as Bay Day. While the location at the Visitor Center is the perfect location for signing up for tours, enjoying good music, and eating some of the best seafood, it can seem like 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. is too short a time.

Birders take heart as there is an early morning birding trip led by long time trip leader and birder extraordinaire Ron Houser. Meet on the deck of the Buffer Preserve at 7:45 a.m. to sign up for the trip and begin your adventure by 8 a.m.

You will travel to various locations along Cape San Blas Road continuing to the Deal Tract then on to T.H. Stone Memorial St. Joseph Peninsula State Park, time permitting. The trip will end for you to return to the Visitor Center just as the first Low Country Shrimp Boil plates are being emptied onto the serving trough. There is no charge for the birding trip.

If you are unable to make it at 11 a.m. – no worries; a fresh batch is cooked throughout the day. You might have to wait for a few minutes for a freshly cooked batch, and it will certainly be worth the wait.

The Buffer Preserve Center is located at 3915 State Road 30A in Port St. Joe.