From the beautiful landscapes to the intriguing history, few areas have as much to offer as the Golden Isles.

Not only have the Marshes of Glynn inspired countless poets and artists, the delicate ecosystems have moved countless activists and conservationists. Many of those naturally gravitate toward positions within the Department of Natural Resources. There, men and women dedicated to the cause work to educate the public about the nature and wildlife that surrounds them.

Various programs focus on that goal but the one that tops out in both engagement and fun is CoastFest. A celebration of the area’s ecological system, hosted the Coastal Resources Division of the DNR, the festival offers education by bringing in displays and exhibitions that allow residents to see, touch and truly experience the plants and animals of the shoreline.

This year, the event will return from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at Mary Ross Waterfront Park in downtown Brunswick.

There will be touch tanks and exhibitions, including reptiles and raptors, as well as Native American performances. Other interesting elements include returning favorites Arthur Atsma and his Science Circus, which will demonstrate marine science and Newtonian physics with fast-paced circus stunts and magic tricks.

Master juggler Rhys Thomas will perform amazing juggling feats with plenty of audience participation.

There will also be the Family Fun Follies, which will offer a combined magic and juggling act. This year’s student art contest will be held in the Brunswick Library on Gloucester St. across from Mary Ross Waterfront Park, with space offered by the Marshes of Glynn Library System.

While many displays and performances have become time honored traditions, the 25-year-old festival always offers something new.

This year that will be a climbing wall sponsored by the Boy Scouts of America Coastal Georgia Council and live music from jazz band Tonic Blue and bluegrass band Blue Grass Nation.

Tyler H. Jones, Coastal Resource Divisions’s CoastFest coordinator and communications specialist, said there will be more than 50 exhibitors this year.

“CoastFest is a one-of-a-kind opportunity for families and coastal community members to learn about our environment, see native wildlife and experience all kinds of interactive exhibits,” Jones said.

Parking will be provided by the Brunswick Landing Marina with plenty of room for attendees. Vehicles should enter from U.S. Highway 341 just north of Newcastle Street, and the Glynn County Harold Pate Building. Signage will mark the entrance. Local residents are encouraged to ride their bicycles with free bicycle parking provided by the Jekyll Island Authority.

Due to the presence of wild animals, pets are not allowed. For more CoastFest information, visit coastalgadnr.org or call the DNR/CRD at 912-264-7218.

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