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Winter Bay Day a huge success

Sandra Chafin Special to The Star
The Star

Everyone working together . . . makes any event successful! This was certainly the case for the 18th Winter Bay Day held Feb. 8 at the St. Joseph Bay Buffer Preserve. Just five plates less than 500 served made the day outstanding and even record-breaking in some areas.

“How pleased we are with such a great turnout,” said Dylan Shoemaker, Manager of the Preserve. “After having to postpone Bay Day for over a year we were a little apprehensive about its return to the area.

“Attendance exceeded our expectations for which we are thankful. Our returning volunteers, year after year, provide consistency and allow us to grow and improve. Thanks to everyone for making Winter Bay Day 2020 one of the best ever.”

Four Tram Tours were offered and were filled to capacity.

Jonathan Brucker, St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve Manager, was also excited with the turnout and the interest in St. Joe Bay and the concern for continued watching and protecting the bay. Jon and his staff cheerfully explained maps, brochures and the mission of the Aquatic Preserve to any and all who wanted to listen.

“Educating the public is first and foremost in our mission at the St. Joseph Bay Aquatic Preserve,” he said. “Bay Day visitors and locals want to know how they can help us recover from the effects of Hurricane Michael. We have been so impressed with everyone’s sincere offers to assist clean-up in any way possible. Jon reported that signage for the bay will be replaced as quickly as possible.”

With another successful Bay Day under our belt planning has already begun for the next Bay Day which will be held on the Second Saturday in October.

Board President Lynda White was very pleased with the results of Bay Day.

The turnout, the recovery efforts of volunteers and staff of the Buffer Preserve made the event possible. Some of our volunteers have been a part of Bay Day for many years.

As they were not able to vacation here due to recovery efforts last year, they were especially happy to be back in Gulf County. These returning favorite snowbirds help us tremendously each year. They have become an important group at Bay Day.

“We just couldn’t be happier with the success of our Winter Bay Day,” White said. “Our organizations displaying information is another important component to Bay Day. The information dispersed by these environmental organizations creates an understanding of the importance of knowledge on an important level in many critical areas.

“What a great day we had. The weather was perfect, the music was toe-tapping wonderful, the beer was cold, the shrimp were delicious and what a crowd! I had so many compliments on our event, with most saying they had missed us and were so glad we were back.”

Friends of the St. Joseph Bay Preserves, serving both the Buffer Preserve and the Aquatic Preserve would like to thank everyone who participated in some way to make the Winter Bay Day a success! We hope you attend programs, enjoy a Tram Tour, use the trails to explore and enjoy nature in the coming months. If you have any questions, please call 227-4342.