Thousands flock to Marina for Bay Festival

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Berkeley Bay Festival

The festival, a community staple since 1937, was more focused on teaching about environmental sustainability than in previous years.

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Berkeley Bay Festival
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Thousands of Berkeley residents and visitors from throughout the East Bay and beyond poured into the Shorebird Park at the Berkeley Marina for the Bay Festival on Saturday.

More than an excuse to gather the community together to appreciate the local ecology, the event - with its theme of "Environmental Education and the Bay" - was an opportunity for the city to provide just that.

The festival, a community staple since 1937 that had not been held in six years due to budget shortfalls, was more focused on teaching about environmental sustainability than in previous years.

The event was kicked off with a morning shoreline clean-up that was followed by a dedication ceremony for the Berkeley Meadow.

The main attraction began with an outdoor celebration that featured educational tents where children and their parents could learn to better preserve the bay, ensure clean storm water and use renewable energy, all to the tune of educational music provided by a motley group of musicians like Billy B, who sang of "great blue herons" and biodiversity while spectators danced and sang.

Inside the Shorebird Park Nature Center, which had a grand opening as one of the first strawbale government buildings in the nation that was also being celebrated at the festival, visitors could peer at sea critters and seaweed through microscopes or examine them more intimately in a touch tank.

Free sailing tours were also offered by the Cal Sailing Club, a staple of the marina for over 40 years, inspiring a long line of visitors stretching far from the dock.

With the temperature about 75 degrees, visitors appreciated a sparkling day at the bay. "It's so sunny here," Kjell Jonsson, a Swedish tourist said.

Noor Al-Samarrai covers Berkeley communites. Contact her at [email protected]

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