Submitted photo It may not be quite like it was last year, but there will be a Seaglass Festival on Campobello Island this September. Most of the activities, with the exception of actual beachcombing, will be done online, so people will still be able to take part in art classes, learn about the artists, and more. People will be encouraged to visit the island and go beachcombing to find marbles, bottles, and other bits of seaglass along the beaches.

Campobello – New Brunswickers are resilient and innovative, and never has this been displayed more than with the restrictions in place due to COVID-19. We must adhere to social distancing restrictions, stay at home, and only have contact with those who we live with (now we can add one more household to our family bubbles).

So, New Brunswickers have come up with ways to be able to enjoy life to the fullest without actually getting together with others. One excellent example of this innovative spirit is the Campobello Seaglass Festival, which is expected to take place this September, virus or not.

Organizer Stephany Anthony said depending on border restrictions, they are going to try very hard to have a Seaglass Festival this year, albeit a different one from what was held last year. Instead of having a weekend where people come to the island to celebrate and look for seaglass, they are going to make it a month-long festival.

“We’re going to turn September into Seaglass Month on Campobello,” said Anthony. “We’re having a Seaglass September. We’re going to encourage people to still visit. We’re going to have beachcombing maps to hand out at the gift shop for anyone who wants to come and do it. But, there’ll be no gatherings.”

Anthony said there will be no Beachcombers’ Bazaar, such as the one that was held last year, but they would be doing something similar, virtually. Various artists will be highlighted throughout the month of September, and there will be links to support each artist so people can get to know them and their work, and even order pieces.

This will be the second year for the Campobello Seaglass Festival. Anthony said last year’s event was a “small, little practice run” and that they had a “bare bones schedule”. There were approximately a dozen vendors from all over New Brunswick in attendance, and there were displays that included blown glass art and seaglass earrings and more.

“It was huge. It blew right up. We had a fabulous time,” said Anthony.

If the border restrictions haven’t been lifted by that time, it may be just New Brunswick residents visiting the island to take part, but Anthony said that’s okay, as the majority of attendees last year were from New Brunswick. Anthony said they are going to have to try and figure out how they can do everything virtually this year. As with last year, Angela Smart from the Campobello Gift House is involved, and Anthony said Smart is “totally on board” with the idea of a virtual festival.

“I’ve been watching Beachcombing Magazine, it’s out of California,” said Anthony. “The Campobello Seaglass Festival is in the newest issue, but because it takes so long to get to Canada I haven’t got my copy yet. They are right now doing a virtual beachcombers’ bazaar. They’re showcasing artists who have applied to be part of their festival. They’re providing pictures of their work, links on how to get it, and getting a little write-up to get to know the artist. I think we’ll follow that general form that they’re doing.”

Anthony said she hopes to have something different online every weekend throughout the month of September, whether it is a seaglass art class online, the Beachcombers’ Bazaar online, etc. They are also going to encourage people to safely visit the island this September to enjoy the beaches and comb them for seaglass.

“We have so many beaches here, and we have them all to ourselves. When the provincial parks closed down, that took away the one big public beach here. That was closed for the month or whatever. But, that’s the one beach on the island where there really isn’t any seaglass anyway. There’s like a dozen more good ones.”

Whether or not they will be able to pull this off is dependent on tourism, and whether or not there will still be border restrictions. Anthony hopes they will be able to draw crowds to the island for beachcombing, and if the ferry is up and running, they will be able to bring in tourists from New Brunswick who want to get out and explore their own back yards this year.

“If we get the ferry going this summer, September is going to be seaglass month.”

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca