Pelican Island Wildlife Festival – 2016

24th Annual
Pelican Island
Wildlife Festival

Saturday, March 12, 2016
10:00am – 4:00pm
Riverview Park, Sebastian
600 U.S. Hwy 1, Sebastian, Florida

Thank you to everyone who volunteer at, supported, and attended the 2016 Pelican Island Wildlife Festival!  It was another great event and a beautiful day in Sebastian, shared with President Roosevelt and our many exhibitors and vendors.  Photos from the event are available online, from our major sponsor – TCPalm.com

The Pelican Island Wildlife Festival celebrates the anniversary of the establishment of the nation’s first National Wildlife Refuge, on March 14, 1903, by President Theodore Roosevelt!  Hosted by the Pelican Island Preservation Society and the City of Sebastian.  Please see our sponsors below.  Thank you to all our sponsors for your generous donations and support!

The 24th Annual Pelican Island Wildlife Festival this year celebrates the 113th anniversary of the Pelican Island NWR.  President Roosevelt will join us once again as our Master of Ceremonies, to celebrate with gusto, and teach us about the history of Pelican Island and his efforts to protect its birds.  President Roosevelt is brought to life for us by the country’s premier Theodore Roosevelt interpreter, Joe Wiegand, (learn more about Joe at www.teddyrooseveltshow.com).

Teddy Views Pelican Island Photo: Susan King
Teddy Views Pelican Island
Photo: Susan King

President Roosevelt will be in town a day early once again this year to do a show at the Sebastian River High School.  The performance is sponsored by the Indian River County Historical Society, and more information can be found at www.irchistorical.org.

A new activity/feature at this year’s festival will be a fossil display and identification with local historian Harry Tanner and fossil hunter James Kennedy.  James has been a life-long amateur fossil hunter and is well-known in the local area, for his find of the mammoth tooth with a prehistoric art engraving.  They invite festival attendees to bring their own fossil finds to the event for help with identification.


    • Live Wildlife Shows
    • Rehabilitated Pelican release (if available)
    • Environmental Exhibitors
    • Arts & Crafts
    • Native Plants for sale
    • Kids Activities and games
    • Various Food Vendors
    • Educational Presentations
    • Historical Reenactments
    • Amateur Photography Contest
    • Raffles & Silent Auctions
    • Boat Tours to Pelican Island – 10:30 am, 12, 1:30,  3, & 4:30 pm

The event is free with free parking.  Boat Tours are $20/person, and food and drink will be for sale, as well as environmental themed crafts and art.  Be sure to stop by the PIPS tent/festival headquarters for an event flyer, information, memorabilia, boat tour tickets, and membership information!

Center Stage Schedule of Events

Master of Ceremonies – President Theodore Roosevelt (Joe Wiegand)

Music – DJ Joe Farro

10:00 am
  • American Legion Post 189 Color Guard and National Anthem
  • Welcome and Opening Remarks – Steve Massey, President, Pelican Island Preservation Society
  • Sebastian City Council/Indian River County Commission – invited guests
  • Brenda Shea, poem reading
11:00 am

Photography Contest Awards Presentation

11:15 am

Birds of Prey/Reptile Show – Tim Brown, Treasure Coast Wildlife Center, followed by release of rehabilitated Brown Pelican (if available)

1:00 pm

Sea Turtles/Archie Carr NWR – Kristen Kneifl, Friends of the Carr Refuge

1:45 pm

IR County Mosquito Control and the Pelican Island NWR, and Zika virus update – Doug Carlson, IR Mosquito Control District

2:30 pm

“Conservation History” – President Theodore Roosevelt

3:30 pm

Silent Auction Winners/Raffle Drawing

(Schedule subject to change)

Volunteer Opportunities

To help make the festival a success each year, PIPS relies on numerous volunteers the day of the event.  If you are interested in information about volunteer opportunities or how to register to help out, visit our Festival Volunteers page.

Information and Forms

Festival Program
Exhibitor Information and Application
Sponsor Information
Food Vendor Information and Application

Photography Contest

Photo: Vince Lamb
Photo: Vince Lamb

Entrants will submit digital images no later than Feb. 28, 2016.  At the festival, continuous slideshows using digital displays will present the images and recognize the photographers.  Click here for the Web gallery to view the winning photos and all finalists.

Photography Contest Flyer


PIPS member Bill Curran

Sebastian River Medical Center Press Journal|TCPalm.com
Windsor, Vero Beach Florida Power & Light Disney's Vero Beach Resort
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Treasure and Spaces Coast Radio stations
Treasure and Spaces Coast Radio stations


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Indian River County Historical Society
Indian River County Historical Society

Supporting America’s First National Wildlife Refuge – Est 1903