FLAGLER BEACH – The 15th annual Turtle Fest gathering was held in Flagler Beach on Saturday, April 15th. The event, put on in Veterans Park by the beach, brought together people from Flagler County and all over the state to take part in live entertainment, informational booths, and fresh food.
It also served as a prime opportunity to learn about the area’s sea turtle population, a frequent occupant of Flagler Beach.
These are just a few photos showcasing the day of fun from this Saturday.
Visitors came in droves to Flagler Beach Turtle Fest on Saturday, celebrating turtles by educating and collecting funds to promote environmentalism. ⓒ Eryn Harris
This year’s Turtle Fest was the 15th annual festival, having started in 2008 to educate locals on various types of turtles and raise money to ensure their protection. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Dozens of local artisans were present selling handcrafted jewelry made from recycled plastic, wooden canvas painting, and turtle-related artwork. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Turtle Fest always brings two or three giant tortoises for a race, this year bringing Thomas, Poki, and Streaker. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Sea Turtle Conservation and Research was on standby to ensure the safety and health of all live turtles. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Turtle Fest draws tourism to Flagler Beach from all over the state. Thousands of visitors gather for a day of festivities, and afterwards, flock to the beach to release a rehabilitated sea turtle into the ocean. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Christopher Caschera, an environmental specialist with Volusia County Government, volunteered at the Flagler Pride booth. ⓒ Eryn Harris
A cute green visitor accompanied Caschera: Squirt the Turtle. Squirt is a 14-year-old female yellow bellied slider. ⓒ Eryn Harris
There was a community yard sale, with various items available for purchase. All proceeds collected went towards the Flagler Turtle Patrol fund. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Live music and entertainment could be enjoyed, including a saxophonist and guitar player. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Florida State Parks informed visitors of the many local parks to visit, as well as handed out pamphlets detailing ways to aid in the conservation of turtles within their parks. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Volusia-Flagler Turtle Patrol held a raffle benefitting turtle conservation, including prizes from a wooden turtle statue to a handmade quilt. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Volusia-Flagler Turtle Patrol informed guests of the process a sea turtle must go through when hatching eggs, and why they nest on the beach. Displays explained why these nets should be untouched, and what hatchlings do after emerging from their eggs. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Education is key to saving turtles’ lives. On the beach, a sea turtle coming ashore or a hatchling crawling towards the ocean may fall into a man-made hole and die. ⓒ Eryn Harris
L-R: Geri Lyn, Jenn Sea, Gina Marie, Candice Seymour, Erica “Sadira” Rivera, Bonnie O’Keefe, and Shirley Suski. Sadira led the troupe with a belly dancing performance including her dance students. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Geri Lyn (left) and Gina Marie balance swords on their heads during their performance. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Crowds formed around the Veteran’s Park stage to catch a glimpse at the belly dancers. Sadira and Candice performed a duo set together. ⓒ Eryn Harris
Attendees were welcomed to join the dancers, and were provided coin-lined hip scarves for maximum sound as they danced. ⓒ Eryn Harris
The Turtle Fest mascot walked around for fun photos with families and children. ⓒ Eryn Harris