Coast Day 2019 will celebrate science, stories and seafood

Coast Day presents a fascinating look at the ocean, from the boat to the laboratory, and everything in between.

The annual festival returns on Sunday, Oct. 6, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at University of Delaware’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus in Lewes.

Guests can visit active faculty laboratories (including the UD Robotic Discovery Laboratories), pet live sea critters, tour research boats, visit vendor displays, experience local cooking demos and much more.

Parking and admission are free.

Coast Day is sponsored by UD’s College of Earth, Ocean & Environment and the Delaware Sea Grant college program.

“We want families to come, groups to come. We don’t want money to be a hurdle to participle in a community event,” said Chris Petrone, Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service director. “We encourage everyone who’s got some free time on Sunday to come check us out. The whole place is open.”

The 2019 theme is “A Ripple Through Time.” Coast Day’s goal is to showcase research by UD students and staff to better understand the ocean environments over time; Delaware Sea Grant’s public outreach work to impact communities; and other environmental work by many community partners and exhibitors.

“The touch tanks are always a fan favorite,” where kids and adults can meet horseshoe crabs, juvenile striped bass, hermit crabs, possibly dogfish and “whatever we catch on Thursday,” Petrone said.

Families can also enjoy the choreographed Watershed Dance; Chemical Magic Show; and “Teach Fleet: Lego Ships for Education,” a retired engineer’s Lego model ships, named for minority figures and other underrepresented people.

There will be several food trucks and vendors. Guests can also sample or purchase soup at the Seafood Chowder Challenge.

Although the entries in the Crab Cake Cook-Off are only sampled by the judges, the public can enter for a chance to judge in 2020 by winning the online trivia contest next summer.

Souvenir opportunities include Coast Day T-shirts and tote bags, as well as marine- and environmentally-themed craft vendors.

Cooking demos will include various seafood recipes, and “How to Fillet a Fish.”

Booths range from everything marine equipment and sea glass artisans to environmentally-focused groups.

Delaware’s coastline is beautiful, but the ocean itself is a busy and dynamic place.

“We have so many things going on under the water that folks don’t realize, and Coast Day’s a great opportunity to learn,” said Petrone.

Lecture topics will include coral reef life; underwater mapping of the Bikini Atoll nuclear testing grounds; and scientists in the Antarctic; and sea turtle/mammal rescue in Delaware. And prospective scholars can learn more about studying marine, earth or atmospheric sciences at UD.

Winners will also be announced in the annual Fifth-Grade Essay Contest and the Instagram Photo Contest.

“It’s just a great opportunity to see a lot of exhibits — from the research to the extension work we do — in a short amount of time,” Petrone said. “The seafood’s great. We’re looking at some good weather. It’s just a great day.” 

UD’s Hugh R. Sharp Campus is located at 700 Pilottown Road, Lewes. Attendees should leave pets at home, as Coast Day has adopted a no-pet policy.

The event schedule and exhibition map are online at


By Laura Walter

Staff Reporter