Fall Bay Day returning in October

Save the Date: Saturday, Oct. 16 will mark the return of the
Friends of St. Joseph Bay Preserves Fall Bay Day. Due to Hurricane Michael,
then COVID issues, Bay Day had to be put on hold several times.

Well, it’s back, weather permitting. In the event weather is
not good Oct. 16, the rain date is Oct. 23.

The board of directors of the citizen support organization,
Friends of the St. Joseph Bay Preserves, Inc., is a special group of
individuals committed to assisting the aquatic and buffer preserves in their
environmental endeavors.

The current board of directors is an excellent group of
like-minded individuals who have the outstanding qualities of open minds, optimistic
attitudes, dedication, commitment to meeting goals of the managers of the preserves
and the board, the desire to make improvements to the preserves and a willingness
to allot time to perform the necessary duties.

Serving as president of the board is Linda Palma. Treasurer is Lillian Hughes, secretary is March Ard, and immediate past president is Lynda
White. John Ehrman, Dusty Alford, Nancy Thomson, Tim Nelson, Richard Trahan,
and Jim Penrod round out the board membership.

If you have not made it to a Bay Day, you are in for a nice
little surprise. There are four TRAM Tours throughout the day. Educational
displays are set up on the deck with timely information available for your

Live music from a local favorite, Eddie McFarland, is a
highlight of the day. Backwoods Crossroads Band is smaller in number now but
just as mighty. The band plays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Naturally, the highlight of the day is the low-country shrimp
boil with locally caught fresh shrimp prepared just right by cooks
extraordinaire, John and Scott Ehrman. This father-son duo has had lots of
practice from previous Bay Days. They are just getting better with each

What will be on your plate? A generous portion of shrimp,
sausage, new potatoes, onion, corn-on-the-cob, all seasoned just right. We have
extra hot sauce for those liking it hot. Also, coleslaw and garlic toast.

The first batch is ready at 11 a.m. ET. Subsequent batches
are then cooked and served throughout the day. The last batch is cooked at
approximately 1:30 p.m. so it is fresh for those coming back from a TRAM Tour,
or just getting to the event. No matter the time you make it to Bay Day there
will be a fresh cooked pot of low-country shrimp boil.

A special surprise for our Fall Bay Day is the addition of
Oyster City Brewing Company beer, an outstanding new contributor/supporter for
Bay Day. Quickly becoming an icon for the area, Oyster City beer is supreme

There’s nothing quite like a cold beer with a tasty plate of
low country shrimp boil. However, for those who have not developed a taste for
(some of the best tasting) beer in the Panhandle, there will be sweet tea or
water to accompany your shrimp plate.

“Milling around” on the deck of the Buffer Preserve, talking
with old friends or making new friends makes for a fantastic “day on the bay”

Want a souvenir to remember the day? Friends of the
Preserves have t-shirts, caps, and other items available for purchase at
reasonable prices on Bay Day.

There will be four TRAM Tours taking place during the days
event. The TRAM takes you to parts of the Buffer Preserve that you would not
normally see unless you hike it a lot. There is never a charge for the TRAM
ride however, donations are accepted. Joining the Friends of the Preserves help
with projects determined as needed by the board of directors. There are no
administrative expenses – all money collected goes to purchasing property,
buying items the state cannot purchase, or providing materials for special

Everyone attending will have the opportunity to join the
Friends of the Preserves or renew your membership. If you want to join before
the event go to www.stjospephbaypreserve.org.
You can print out an application and mail it, along with your check to Friends
of the St. Joseph Bay Preserves, 3915 State Road 30-A, Port St. Joe, FL 32456.

You are always welcome to stop in our Visitor Center at 3915
State Road 30-A, Simmons Bayou. The Center is being updated and we would love
your comments and suggestions for improvements.

While October seems a long time away, it will be here before
we know it. Thinking about cooler weather and fall, great seafood, good
company, and a day filled with opportunities to enjoy nature in a beautiful
natural setting makes us want October to get here fast. Normally the weather is
a little cooler so sitting on the deck makes for a very pleasant meal. The
Visitor Center/Lodge is always available for those preferring an inside spot to
enjoy lunch. 

Meet the Editor

Wendy Weitzel, The Star’s digital editor, joined the news outlet in August 2021, as a reporter covering primarily Gulf County.

Prior to then, she interned for Oklahoma-based news wire service Gaylord News and for Oklahoma City-based online newspaper NonDoc.com during her four years at the University of Oklahoma, from which she graduated in May with degrees in online journalism and political science.

While at OU, Weitzel was selected as Carnegie-Knight News21 Investigative Fellow among 30 top journalism students from around the country. She also was senior editor managing a 12-person newsroom in coordination with Oklahoma Watch, a non-profit news organization in eastern Oklahoma.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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