Thousands celebrate Kelp Fest at Main Beach


Thousands of people turned out at Main Beach on Saturday to celebrate a precious ocean plant that has made a resurgence in the waters off Laguna Beach.

The fifth annual Kelp Fest drew, among others, a good number of Girl Scouts, who toured tidepools during what event founder and marine biologist Nancy Caruso called a bright, clear day with a little breeze.

“As the lifeguards told me, this cove always escapes the wind,” Caruso said.

About 2,600 people showed up from a variety of places, Chelsea Brigham, a Cal State Fullerton senior wrote in an email. Brigham and a few of her classmates were in charge of public relations.

Students used clickers to get a more accurate attendance count than in past years, Brigham said.

Guests came from Santa Ana, Fullerton, Orange, Glendora and Los Angeles as well as from Texas, Oregon and even Sweden, Brigham said.

“They walked around quite a bit with a look of amazement,” Caruso said of the visitors.

Parents and adults participated in a beach cleanup while docents led tidepool tours and experts on kelp answered questions.

The event celebrates the kelp forests, which despite having been severely depleted because of overfishing and pollution have rebounded over the past nine years, according to the Kelp Fest website. More than 800 species rely on kelp forests, the site says.

—Bryce Alderton

Twitter: @AldertonBryce