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24th Annual Pelican Island Wildlife Festival

Thanks to all our volunteers, exhibitors, vendors, and presenters for making the 2015 Pelican Island Wildlife Festival another fun, exciting and successful event!  If you are interested in helping with our 2016 festival, please let us know.  We will be planning for next year’s event soon and we hope to make it bigger and better.  Any help is always appreciated.

The date for the 2016 wildlife festival is Saturday, March 12 – save the date!





The 112th Birthday Celebration of Pelican Island and the National Wildlife Refuge System

A Celebration of the Treasure Coast’s natural resources and the 112th birthday of Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.  Plan to join us in celebrating this anniversary of Pelican Island and the refuge system, and enjoy the many exhibitors, including arts & crafts, environmental, and food vendors.  Live wildlife shows feature birds of prey and reptiles throughout the day.  Discounted Pelican Island tours by pontoon boat depart every hour.  Special kid’s activities are offered non stop throughout the day.  An incredible photography display features entries and winners of the festival photography contest.  A full day of fun and leisure for the whole family.This year’s emcee will once again be Teddy Roosevelt, aka Joe Wiegand.  Mr. Wiegand has studied President Roosevelt extensively and has re-enacted Theodore Roosevelt in Chatauqua-style events for many years!  He is “…A lifelong student of American history, government and foreign policy, Joe is a political science graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tennessee, and a former graduate assistant at the Center for Governmental Studies at Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois.”So be sure and say hi and chat with President Roosevelt and learn a thing or two about history!  For more information on Mr. Wiegand, his expertise and reprisal of President Roosevelt, please visit his website at: 03 14 15_1626-copyedit6
President Roosevelt inspecting Pelican Island on his visit to the festival. Bully!
Photo by Susan King


Free Parking   Free Admission   Free Activities

All the event activities at Riverview Park are free, except for boat and birding tours.  The pontoon boat tours to Pelican Island are a suggested donation of $15/person, and the birding tour is $25/person.  Pontoon boat tours run throughout the event, approximately every 1.5 hours.

All proceeds from this event supports the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge.


Festival Activities

Photo Contest


2015 Winning Entries

Entries to the 2015 festival Photo Contest can be viewed here.  Winning photo entries are as follows:

Best in Show – Vanessa Brooks, Great White Heron
Wildlife – 1st Place, Lana Duncan ; 2nd Place, Evelyn Garcia ; 3rd Place, Marc Szczesny-Pumarada
Landscape – 1st Place, Vanessa Brooks ; 2nd Place, Jodi Levesque ; 3rd Place, Chuck Palmer
Macro-Close Up – 1st Place, Marc Szczesny-Pumarada; 2nd Place, David Sime; 3rd Place, Dawn Campbell-Currie



A raffle drawing will be held at the Pelican Island Wildlife Festival.  The Grand Prize is a custom made wooden kayak, valued at $1850!  The kayak is hand crafted by Mike Beck of Treasure Coast Wooden Boats of Sebastian.  The winner of the 2015 kayak raffle was Eileen Fretz – congratulations!

2013 kayak raffle winner

This is a photo of the 2013 kayak raffle prize winner with the wooden kayak made by Mike.

Raffle tickets are $2 each and can be purchased at the Pelican Island Preservation Society/Festival Information tent on the day of the festival.

The raffle drawing for all prizes will be held at 3:30 PM the day of the festival.  You do not need to be present to win.


Bird Watching by Boat

The Pelican Island Wildlife Festival includes boat tours through the Indian River Lagoon to Pelican Island. Wintering birds seen on the island may include White Pelicans, Brown Pelicans, Roseate Spoonbills and Forster’s tern.

Over 30 species of birds use Pelican Island as a rookery, roost, feeding ground, or loafing area. 16 different species of birds nest on Pelican Island, including the Brown Pelican, Wood Stork, Great Egret, Snowy Egret, Reddish Egret, Cattle Egret, Great Blue Heron, Little Blue Heron, Tricolored Heron, Green-backed Heron, Black-crowned Night Heron, Double-crested cormorant, Anhinga, White Ibis, American oystercatcher, Common moorhen.

Wintering birds include the White pelican, double-crested cormorant, Roseate Spoonbill, Blue-wing teal, Lesser scaup, Red-breasted merganser, Ring-billed gull, Forster’s tern, and Common Loon.


2015 Festival Program

Exhibitor Form/Information

Food Vendor Form/Info

Festival/Sebastian Street Map

Sponsor Form/Information



Festival Sponsors

Would you like to sponsor our 2016 festival?  Your name could be here!

SpringHill Suites by Marriott

Marriott SpringHill Suites
Vero Beach, FL

Oculina Bank
Sebastian, FL

Melbourne, FL

Ridley’s Custom Framing
Palm Bay, FL

Southern Photo Supply

Treasure Coast Herpetological Society

Treasure Coast Wildlife Center



City of Sebastian

ccir logo

Environmental Learning Center
Wabasso, FL

Indian River County
Historical Society

kirbKeep Indian River Beautiful

A Century of Conservation

National Wildlife Refuge System

US Fish & Wildlife Service