The world’s oceans provide us with much more than just food and fun, as the organizers of the World Oceans Day Festival are ready to explain, but fresh seafood and a full day of activities are a huge part of the June 8 event. The festival, held at Stewart Beach in Galveston, celebrates the ocean environment through sports, music and art.

“This is the third year for the Artist Boat to present a World Oceans Day event, and it will be the biggest one yet,” Artist Boat executive director Karla Klay explained. “We have some wonderful food options featuring sustainable seafood this year, thanks to Katie’s Seafood and the Lighthouse Cooking Team.”

Festival-goers can purchase grilled snapper sandwiches or blackfin tuna tacos.

“They’re both Gulf species, and you can’t get more local than Katie’s,” Klay said. “We’re happy to be offering sustainable seafood at the festival. The U.S. has the best-managed fisheries on Earth, and if you’re eating U.S. seafood, you can be assured that it came from a well-managed fishery.”

Making the right seafood choices in a restaurant or market can be challenging, but Klay recommends a guide. “The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a downloadable app, Seafood Watch, that helps consumers choose the most sustainable seafood,” she said. Seafood Watch also provides recipes for fixing the best choices.

Pre-ordered lunches also include a reusable World Oceans Day tumbler. “Reducing plastic use has a lot to do with conserving fisheries,” Klay said. “Our focus is the marine environment and the coastal environment, but everything done on land impacts the ocean. That’s why this year’s theme is how we can prevent plastics pollution.”

The day’s activities kick off with yoga on the beach, followed by shoreline demonstrations of sandcastle art, surfing, paddle surfing, shoreline fishing, lifeguard safety and kayaking. An enormous paddling pool enables participants of all ages to try kayaking. “SouthWest Paddlesports is bringing their huge pool and the kayaks so that everyone can learn the basics safely,” Klay said. Kayak exhibits by One Viking Kayak and Artist Boat are also part of the kayak programming.

Whether the preferred medium is paint, sand or trash, artists can participate in projects ranging from sandcastles to completing a mural for the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration or bringing an entry for the Marine Debris Art Contest.

“It’s amazing to see what people make with the trash they find in the beach or in the ocean,” Klay said. “One of my favorites last year was a puffer fish made from trash, and all the spines were cigarette butts.”

Many organizations involved with protecting and enjoying the local coastline will be on hand with exhibits and hands-on activities, including Marine Mammal Stranding Network, Texas Parks & Wildlife, Friends of Galveston Island State Park, East End Lagoon and Galveston Children’s Museum.

Admission to the World Oceans Day Festival is free, though Stewart Beach parking fees will be in effect. Attendees may also arrive on the Galveston Island Trolley, which has a stop at Stewart Beach. The festival runs from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Saturday, June 8. More details and advance meal orders are available online at artistboat.org.

Bernice Torregrossa: bernice92@aol.com

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