On Saturday, July 17, 2010, we were once again invited by the US Coast Guard Auxiliary to display at the Wooden Boat Festival, held annually in Huddy Park, Toms River. We were unable to participate last year due to previous commitments, but the organizing committee received positive feedback about our tent the prior year, so we made it fit this season.
We met at 6 am to first collect specimens for our live touch tank display. We had to deal with mid-tide currents at the Gull Island railroad bridge, so Tom and Chet had their hands full just maintaining position in the channel. Flo and Sue managed to gather some "aquascaping" (i.e. encrusted rocks and seaweed) and hermit crabs from shore, as well as fill 4 additional buckets with seawater that would be needed to cool the temporary display. Tom and Chet finally managed to gather enough sea stars and other invertebrates that we could stock the tank and keep some in holding to rotate into the exhibit throughout the day.
The festival's organizing committee provided us with a space next to the main parking lot, so we had steady visitor traffic throughout the day. Our tent featured underwater photographs, an artifact and shell display, and the touch tank. The temperature was in the 90s, with just a little breeze, so we had to be vigilant in keeping the live tank cool. We kept sliding the tub around to keep it in the tent shadow, did several water changes with the reserve water, and floated ice packs when the sun had moved around enough that the tent couldn't shade it. As in the past, both adults and children had lots of questions about what lives right off the Jersey Shore, and almost everyone took a look at the bottles. For a hot day, we had a very pleasant crowd, which may have had something to do with the fact that an Ice Cream Festival was also happening just a few blocks away!
Alas, we couldn't stop for ice cream, as we had to return all of the live specimens back to Manasquan River.
As soon as that mission was accomplished back in Point Pleasant, a more urgent call came in.