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LagoonFest 2022 celebrates the Lake Worth Lagoon

Visitors enter LagoonFest along Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach.

Photo by Discover The Palm Beaches.

It isn’t every day you can attend a free festival, participate in engaging activities and help the environment. But Nov. 5 is such a day.

That’s when LagoonFest 2022 celebrates the Lake Worth Lagoon, the body of water directly east of 13 cities in Palm Beach County, from North Palm Beach south to Ocean Ridge, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in downtown West Palm Beach.

Photo by Discover The Palm Beaches

Presented by Discover the Palm Beaches and the Palm Beach County Department

of Environmental Resources Management, LagoonFest has been an increasingly popular annual family event since 2014. The only postponement came in 2020 because of COVID-19.

“LagoonFest began as a grassroots festival with only government, nonprofit and community partners exhibiting,” says Benji Studt, the public outreach program supervisor for the Department of Environmental Resources Management. “It’s now grown into a festival that engages around 5,000 attendees with all those partners, as well as eco-themed vendors, food, drinks, eco-tours, kayak cleanups and a very active kids zone.”

Photo by Discover The Palm Beaches.

One of the county’s most diverse and important natural habitats, as well as Palm Beach County’s largest estuary — a habitat for seagrass, mangroves, sea turtles, oyster reefs, wading birds, crabs and more than 250 species of fish — the lagoon is not to be confused with the Intracoastal Waterway.

“The Intracoastal Waterway is the highway for boats,” Studt says, “a maintained channel for vessels that runs from Maine all the way down the coast. Lake Worth Lagoon is a natural body of water, one that was a freshwater lake some 140 years ago before inlets were dredged, permanently connecting this 20-mile-long and half-mile-wide water body to the ocean.”

LagoonFest 2022 will have more than 80 booths, educational activities and interactive displays for people of all ages. The Busch Wildlife Sanctuary and Okeeheelee Nature Center will each show animals, and live touch tanks from Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation will offer starfish, hermit crabs, and other crustaceans and mollusks.

Photo by Discover The Palm Beaches.

The Gumbo Limbo Nature Center, Loggerhead Marinelife Center, Manatee Lagoon and 4Ocean will all present marine life conservation ideas, and the U.S. Coast Guard and Palm Beach County Ocean Rescue will offer lessons in boat safety and beach and water safety, respectively.

There will also be arts and crafts; tree giveaways; boat, sailing, catamaran and ANGARI research vessel tours; local beer and food vendors; and popular kayak cleanup tours.

“Visit Palm Beach holds three cleanup tours during the event,” Studt says, “connecting around 30 people total to the South Cove Natural Area and helping to make a difference by cleaning up plastic waste and debris from the lagoon.”

Unfortunately, that debris consists of a lot more than plastic, including fishing gear, bottles, cans, clothing and even shopping carts.

Boats are also problematic. The county has to coordinate with the state on the removal of vessels and their associated debris after major storms. Boats also strike manatees and sea turtles, and their wakes erode everything from seawalls to shorelines.

“That’s why many of our restoration projects include living shoreline components and mangrove islands within a few hundred feet of shore,” Studt says, “creating more resilient systems to both boat wakes and the wave energy caused by increased storm events associated with climate change.”

Studt also mentions the adverse effects of liquid and solid runoff from storm water and sewers. The Lake Worth Lagoon Initiative is working on septic-to-sewer conversions and stormwater retrofit projects, and LagoonFest is a reminder of the importance of this body of water.

“LagoonFest is an integral part of connecting our community to this vibrant estuary,” Studt says. “When we connect people, they can make small daily decisions that have a positive impact on our environment and support restoration initiatives more broadly. LagoonFest is a vehicle to create a better community for everyone by reinforcing a stronger sense of place through nature.”

LagoonFest is held along Flagler Drive, adjacent to the West Palm Beach GreenMarket. For further information, call 561-233-3030, or visit


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