ISLAND BEACH STATE PARK - The Friends of Island Beach State Park have been busy picking beach plums and making beach plum jelly for the past two weeks. The plums, which are native to coastal areas from Maine through Virginia and are known by the Latin name Prunus Maritima, are now ripe enough to pick.
All things beach plum, including ice cream, muffins and jelly, will be featured Sunday, Sept. 8, during the 16th Annual Island Beach State Park Beach Plum Festival, which runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., RAIN OR SHINE, at Ocean Beach Bathing Pavilion #1.
We will be selling our special beach plum festival t-shirts and hats that day, as well as our Friends of Island Beach hats and polo shirts. You can also buy a 4 ounce jar of homemade beach plum jelly for $5 a jar, an informative beach plum recipe book for $2, and a cup of homemade beach plum ice cream for $3 a cup. Sundaes of South Toms River makes the ice cream for us, but we pick the plums and make the juice for Sundaes.
The festival is our biggest fundraiser, and this year, due to superstorm Sandy, the non-profit Friends group increased its annual donations to the park, budgeting more than $21,000 for items the park requested, including $6,000 for a dozen two-man, sit-on-top kayaks, $7,000 for lifeguard equipment, $800 to replace gatehouse supplies, such as a refrigerator that was washed away by the storm; and rope to mark trails and keep people off the dunes. The Friends also purchased some 65,000 beach grass plants to help restore the dunes.
Entrance to the park is free that day, but a $5 donation is suggested to help support the festival. Our volunteers will be at the main entrance to the park that day.
The Festival will include beach plum tours, jelly-making demos, children's games, food, music, crafters, lifesaving demos by lifeguards, seining on the bay with park naturalists, and environmental and non-profit exhibits.
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