For 10 years, Juno Beach’s stewards of the sea, the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, has been celebrating the reptiles that share its name with TurtleFest. Part Earth Day primer, part unofficial launch to the turtle nesting season, TurtleFest is about ocean conservancy awareness, bringing the community together in support of the animals whose ancestors have been visiting these shores long before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. Last year, a bout of severe weather canceled the festivities, meaning the Loggerhead crew is frothing at the bit with turtle-tastic energy for 2013’s event, slated for April 13. (And just in case, the center has prepared for a possible rain date April 14.)
This year the theme is, aptly, “Celebrating 10 Years, Everyone Makes a Difference.” It speaks to the heart of the event and LMC’s mission of encouraging “conservation of Florida’s coastal ecosysytem with a special focus on threatened and endangered sea turtles.” An estimated 12,000 attendees are expected to enjoy the festivities, which include live bands, art on display and countless family-friendly activities, all geared toward raising awareness about sea turtles and ocean conservation. Through interactions with injured and rehabilitating sea turtles, visitors gain a firsthand look at the impact humans have on the ecosystem as well as the good we can do as stewards of the natural world. Through these flagships species, LMC gives insight into the marine ecosystems as a whole, enlightening visitors on the wonders that lie beneath the wake and ways to conserve these habitats for future generations.
The day-long event will transform LMC and Loggerhead Park into a family fun festival. Highlights include educational presentations, shopping and interaction with the turtles rehabbing at LMC’s turtle yard. To show the interconnectivity of the world’s oceans and waterways, LMC’s Global Village will take visitors on a cross oceanic tour, visiting seven coastal regions of the world to learn about the sea turtles native to each and the conservation strategies underway.
Live acts include some of the area’s best dub, alternative and funk music as well as a presentation that shines a spotlight on native landlocked critters and neighbors, too. TurtleFest’s lineup starts with an Atlantic Arts Academy youth performance at 11 a.m. A Treasure Coast Wildlife Center presentation follows, raising awareness about animals in Florida. South Florida country songtress Lizzie Sider will take the stage at 12:15 p.m., brining a brand of country-pop bound for the Top 40. At 1:15 p.m., the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission will speak about local natural areas and ways to protect these habitats. At 2 p.m., the energetic mix of surf rock and Caribbean soul that is Mike Mineo will add a bit of pop and beachy rhythm to the shindig. Taking the stage at 3:15 p.m. is West Palm’s own Making Faces—the four-piece reggae-tinged rock band whose aim is to melt faces with good times and good tunes. To wrap what is promising to be the most anticipated TurtleFest to date, The Resolvers will perform at 5 p.m. Self-described as “Big Band Reggae,” their sound is a bit of roots, rock steady and ska mixed with soul and funk.
Ongoing activities include a fossil dig with Jurassic Parts, in which children get a chance to unearth mysteries locked beneath the bedrock. Resource Depot will hold ongoing art and crafts projects with children, creating masterworks out of reusable and recycled materials. And the Treasure Coast Wildlife Center will hold birds of prey presentations throughout the day.
For the second year in a row, Palm Beach Country students in grades 4-12 submitted environmental-themed artwork for the juried Student Art Contest. Awards for Best in Show, Best Environmental Interpretation, Best Artistic Interpretation and honorable mention for each age group will be presented at the festival, and the pieces will be displayed at LMC through the summer.
For the more active of the bunch, LMC’s second annual Run 4 The Sea 5K will take place April 12 at 6 p.m. The route, which could not be more beautiful, takes racers along the Atlantic Ocean on scenic A1A just in time for sunset. Registration opens at 5 p.m., with a one-mile children’s race at 6 p.m. The adult’s 5K will take the starting block at 6:15 p.m. To register, click here.
- TurtleFest is a free event held at the Loggerhead Marinelife Center and surrounding Loggerhead Park.
- Festivities will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
- Parking is a bear, so FPL has arranged for free parking and shuttle service at its headquarters in Juno Beach: [600-644] Universe Blvd., North Palm Beach, FL 33408. Click here for a map.
14200 U.S. Hwy. 1
Juno Beach, FL 33408