Thousands attended the 2023 Forgotten Coast Sea Turtle Festival. [ Wendy Weitzel | The Star ]
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Sea Turtle Festival draws festive crowd

The heat in George Core Park on Sunday afternoon was stifling, but even that couldn’t keep down the crow, who turned out by the thousands to raise awareness for nesting sea turtles.

The Forgotten Coast Sea Turtle Festival, which is held around the Fourth of July every year, aims to educate attendees about sea turtles and the importance of the coastal habitats they and many other species call home.

This year, almost 40 vendors and several food trucks participated in the event – alongside 11 educational booths, at which turtles swam up to guests in glass tanks.

Live music was intermittently interrupted for informative turtle talks, which discussed several local species of turtle and the important roles they play in the Florida ecosystem, and dance demonstrations.

“We send our greatest thanks to our wonderful attendees, vendors, sponsors, and volunteers for making this year’s 7th Annual Forgotten Coast Sea Turtle Festival a huge success,” said the Florida Coastal COnservancy, who hosts the festival each year, in a Facebook post.

“We saw beautiful artwork; tasted delicious treats; listened to great music; swayed with hula dancers; aaarrgghed with pirates; met beautiful mermaids; and, most of all, learned about and celebrated all things turtle.”

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 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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