James Farm offering barbecue by the bay

For people who have never been to James Farm Ecological Preserve, there’s not a better time to see it at its finest than at the preserve’s 8th annual barbecue, to be held Saturday, Oct. 18, from noon to 4 p.m., sponsored by the Center for Inland Bays.

“If you’ve never been, it’s great,” said E.J. Chalabala, wildlife manager for the Center for Inland Bays. “It’s 150 acres that can never be built on, that’s always going to be used for restoration and education. It’s a pretty neat oasis surrounded by condos,” he added with a laugh.

Proceeds from the event will support education and restoration projects at James Farm. Tickets cost $25, and – different from years past, when they have roasted a pig as the main entrée of the barbecue – this year’s event will be catered by Bethany Blues. There will be all-you-can-eat pork, chicken, sides and dessert, with cold beverages provided. Kids younger than 10 will be admitted free of charge with a paying adult. Also new this year, there will be oysters available for tasting, to celebrate and help bring awareness of the center’s Oyster Gardening program.

For the kids, there will also be hayrides and pumpkin painting. Entertainment will be provided by bluegrass band Bay Grass Boys.

“Held under a tent, the barbecue is always a great day for friends of the bays, staff and volunteers, and neighbors to come together for fun and good food,” said Sally Boswell, education and outreach coordinator for the Center for the Inland Bays.

The James Farm Ecological Preserve, located on the Indian River Bay off of Cedar Neck Road, is owned by Sussex County and managed by the Center for Inland Bays. Visitors are welcome to walk the nature trails every day, during daylight hours. It has two miles of hiking trails, three observation decks, an amphitheatre, a boardwalk dune crossing, open meadows, a mature upland forest and a sandy beach.

The Center for Inland Bays is a non-profit organization working within four areas – science and research; habitat protection and restoration; public policy; and education and outreach – to reach one goal: to protect and restore the Delaware Inland Bays and its watershed. The inland bays and their watershed are the smallest of 28 National Estuary Programs in the United States and are one of two such programs in Delaware.

To purchase tickets for the barbecue, or for more information, call the Center for Inland Bays at (302) 226-8105. Tickets can also be purchased online at www.inlandbays.org.