windsurf 092212 5The county Park System invites one and all to a first-ever Wind and Sea Festival on Saturday…while windsurfers of all skill levels return once more to Sandy Hook Bay this Sunday, for the annual summer’s-end Windsurfing and Watersports Fun Day. 

The “warm Summer Wind” of Sinatra’s song may be giving way to the Autumn Wind “raider” of NFL Films fame…but here on the cusp of the season’s change, a hardy lot of recreationally minded neighbors are inviting people of all ages and skillsets to fill their sails and their seining nets for one more dip in local bayside waters.

This Saturday, September 19, the folks at the Monmouth County Park System have something new in store: a first-ever Wind and Sea Festival, hosted at Bayshore Waterfront Park (Port Monmouth Road at Wilson Avenue in Middletown Township) between the hours of 11 am to 5 pm. It’s a celebration of the Bayshore area’s natural assets and recreational opportunities that includes stand-up paddling, kayaking, seining, fishing, crabbing, kite flying, sand casting, shelling, nature walks and more — and for those who haven’t visited this renovated county facility (next to Monmouth Cove Marina, and incorporating the historic Seabrook-Wilson House as well as views of NYC), it’s a great way to get acquainted with a site whose beach, nature center and fishing pier have come alive with activity in the seasons since Superstorm Sandy. Admission and parking are free (although a select few activities will feature a fee), but please note that the main parking lot will be closed for the duration of the event, with parking available at the nearby Belford Ferry Terminal (10 Harbor Way in Belford), and free shuttle bus transportation running to and from the terminal lot and the park. Call (732)787-3033 for house tour info and other details.

Occurring just under the wire to qualify as a summer-fun signifier (first day of autumn is Tuesday, September 22), the annual New Jersey Windsurfing and Watersports Fun Day returns this Sunday, September 20 to the bayside shores of Sandy Hook, where the all-volunteer New Jersey Windsurfing & Watersports Association continues a tradition designed to introduce a new generation of enthusiasts to a range of recreational activities that can be enjoyed on our many local waterways.

The event commences at 10 am with expert instruction in windsurfing, as well as Stand Up Paddleboarding and its zen cousin, SUP Yoga. While attendees needn’t have any experience in any of these activities, swim skills are required, and participants younger than 18 years of age are asked to be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Pre-registration by PayPal ($25; $15 for NJWWA members; includes pizza lunch) is required for all participants, with online sign-up here. When you get to the Hook, leave the wheels at Chokecherry Parking Lot C, then cross the road to the bayside beach and enjoy the late morning/afternoon session that lasts until 3 pm. Call (862)268-3033 for more info.