Crystal River Manatee Festival 2016

Save the Manatee Club volunteers at the Crystal River Manatee Festival
Save the Manatee Club volunteers with “Hope,” the Club’s popular, giant inflatable manatee.

By Helen Spivey,
Co-Chair, Save the Manatee Club Board of Directors

The opening Saturday of the Manatee Festival made up for every one of the bad weather Festival Days we had in years past. It was gorgeous! The sun was shining with an occasional cloud sailing by. A gentle breeze from the Gulf came in as did the crowds and crowds of people.

Some of the volunteers had come early and set up the booth. Hope, our gigantic blow-up manatee, watched from behind the booth.

Many in the crowd stopped at the booth to buy a beautiful Save the Manatee Club Calendar and some added an adopted manatee to their purchase. We sold out of the calendars before the end of the day. Several people who said they would come back and buy one came back but we were sold out. What a great happening. Lucky for them one of our volunteers bought a few extra and generously sold them to the disappointed folks who came back for one. We have wonderful volunteers.

Few people stopped in the morning to get a close look at Hope, but they did come back in the afternoon and posed with Hope for photos to send home or post on Facebook.

Hope was deflated for the evening and packed inside Aardvark Kayak shop for the night. She never got back out. Sunday morning was raining for awhile and then a cold front moved in with lots of wind. No gentle breezes but low temperatures. It was too breezy for Hope to come out.

But the Festival was a GREAT success. Many people were interested enough to take our brochures and other information. They asked questions about manatees and lots just threw a few dollars in the jar with our calendar and adoption donations. But the best was everyone said they LOVED MANATEES. Me, too.

Volunteer Coordinator’s Note: This year's Volunteer Team included Helen Spivey, co-chair of SMC’s Board of Directors, Cora Berchem, Susan Aungst, Melissa Sunshine, Kelly Miller, Daria & Nicolas Johnson, Capt. Art Eickenberg, Stacey Day, Mary & Omar Bourassa, and Karen Ann Bunce.

SMC Volunteers Capt. Art Eickenberg, Filbert the plush manatee, and Cora Berchem
Cora Berchem, the Club’s Multimedia Specialist, along with Stacey Day, volunteered at the Club’s education table which was set up along the Three Sisters Springs boardwalk.

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