Old San Simeon Village

Coastal Discovery Fair attracts far-flung visitors

San Luis Obispo - The TribuneJuly 25, 2013 

A microscope-equipped algae and plankton viewing station on San Simeon Pier attracted more than 150 visitors during the annual Coastal Discovery Fair at San Simeon Cove on Saturday, July 20.

MERLE BASSETT — Special to The Cambrian

Mostly overcast skies didn’t dampen spirits or keep crowds away from the daylong 2013 Coastal Discovery Fair on Saturday, July 20. Nearly 800 people, mostly youngsters and their families, flocked to a well-packed park area at William Randolph Hearst Memorial Beach to have fun while learning about habitat and creatures of the land and sea.

According to Carolyn Skinder, director of the Coastal Discovery Center at San Simeon Bay, attendees came from all over, as reflected by the “Stay in San Simeon” raffle winners, who were from Fullerton, Chino Hills, Bakersfield, Cambria and Yuma, Ariz. At least 250 youngsters filled out their passport booklets showing the booths they’d visited. More than 150 people visited an algae-viewing station on the pier.

The 18 agencies and organizations with booths, exhibits, games and displays ranged from the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and CHP to the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, Friends of the Elephant Seal and Pacific Wildlife Care. More than 50 volunteers participated, from three Girl Scouts to 21 Discovery Center docents.

Some high-ranking agency officials, including sanctuary Superintendent Paul Michel from Monterey, were there to work their booths and answer questions.

Even the music was ocean oriented, ranging from “Finding Nemo” songs to classics from the Beach Boys, the Beatles and Jimmy Buffett.

Youngsters built underwater robots, played old-time games and snuggled up to costumed representatives of the sea, such as “Sammy the Steelhead,” a leatherback turtle (costume created by Save the Whales) and jellyfish (costumes created by Stella and Carla Canestro of Cambria).

Stephanie Arehart of Cambria created an “Ocean Pledge” fabric mural, in which children weaved their favorite marine animal and then promised to help the ocean.

So many children wanted an ocean-oriented face painting that artist Sara Blair-Field of Cambria stayed late so nobody would be disappointed.

Follow Kathe Tanner on Twitter at @CambriaReporter.

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