Things are beachy keen at Onset Bay Center Community Day

May 13, 2023

The spirits were as high as the temperatures at the Onset Bay Center’s second annual Community Day on Saturday, May 13. 

How high?

Standing at the entrance of Onset Beach, 15-year-old Mia King was so filled with summer spirit that she felt the urge to shout “You’re turtle-ly awesome!” at passersby whom she deemed to be “special.” 

“It’s so beautiful,” said King, who came from Plymouth. “This is the best beach in Massachusetts.” 

The Community Day was organized by the Buzzards Bay Coalition, which provided free kayaks, paddleboards and other equipment throughout the day. Buzzards Bay Coalition Vice President of Outdoor Exploration Stuart Downie said that Saturday’s turnout was twice as big as it was for the first Community Day last year. 

“We have a lot more to offer this year,” Downie said. 

Many of those who attended Community Day, such as Nick Tawa and his dog LeLu, had no idea the event was happening. They simply wanted to enjoy a sunny day at the beach, running, swimming and playing fetch together. The festival atmosphere was simply a bonus. 

LeLu also enjoyed sniffing everyone she saw. Tawa passed on that activity.

Jose Medina, of New Bedford, appreciates how peaceful Onset Beach is.

“The water is chill, not high waves,” he said.

“The last time, when we went to a different beach, the wave went in my mouth,” said his daughter Amy, 10. 

The New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance offered a rock painting activity for kids. The aptly-named Claire Fish, 6, drew a tiger on her rock.

“I like cats,” she said. 

Her cousin Gunnar Norcross, 8, painted a turtle, his “second-favorite animal.”

What’s his favorite?

“Dolphins — no, penguins!” 

Gunnar also took advantage of the free kayaking and paddleboarding.

“It was fun and scary,” he said. 

The Alliance also had a traveling exhibition of marine wildlife parts — shark teeth, stingray jaws, turtle shells, dolphin vertebrae and other flotsam and jetsam. 

“I think it’s really cool,” said 11-year-old Izabel Lawrence, who wants to be a marine biologist when she grows up. 

She was most interested in the baleen, the comblike “teeth” that whales use to collect the tiny organisms they eat. 

“I’ve always really loved whales and stuff,” Izabel said. “I think they’re really interesting because of how huge and beautiful they are.” 

The Buzzards Bay Coalition offered sailboat tours around Onset Bay. Stepheneye Kelly wasn’t used to being on boats, especially such a small one, but her niece Danica Castro wasn’t afraid.

As she confidently stated, she’s “been on a couple of boats” in her 6 years of life.