Clean Beaches, Clean Oceans, Stewardship and Awareness Through Education

Carlsbad Beach Fest® is an annual community event that promotes beach and ocean stewardship through education and public outreach.  The event is a project which works to support our local coastal environment.  With the collaboration of many local individuals, businesses and corporations, the sustainability and growth of Carlsbad Beach Fest® continues as it establishes itself as a unique Carlsbad legacy event.

There are many 1 or 2 hour beach cleanups out there.  There are also many art exhibits, race events, music festivals and the like.  The Carlsbad Beach Fest® is the ONLY event of its kind that encompasses all of these and satisfies nearly all of the City’s Community Vision Plan core values (http://www.carlsbadca.gov/services/depts/planning/update/vision.asp):

    • Small town feel, beach community character and connectedness
    • Open space and the natural environment
    • Access to recreation and active, healthy lifestyles
    • The local economy, business diversity and tourism
    • Walking, biking, public transportation and connectivity
    • Sustainability
    • History, the arts and cultural resources
    • High quality education and community services
    • Neighborhood revitalization, community design and livability

Carlsbad Beach Fest® offers many free, fun activities for the entire family to participate in and enjoy, all while raising awareness about the importance of beach and ocean conservation. To become a sponsor or volunteer, please visit the associated menu pages on our website – or for more information please send an inquiry to: info@carlsbadbeachfest.com


The mission of the Carlsbad Beach Fest® is to promote clean beaches and oceans, environmental stewardship, and raise community awareness through education and public outreach.


The annual Carlsbad Beach Fest® is a family-friendly, day-long event that includes a big beach cleanup, educational booths and activities, food, music, local vendors, sand sculpturing and more!


The idea of a Carlsbad beach event originally began in the summer of 2007.  The plan was to host a beach walk that would include local and state policy makers, environmental groups, and the media.  The idea was to give an instructional tour of the beaches, bluffs, and waterways in an effort to promote their importance in the community.  Mat Huff (Vice Chair) and Bill Gelfound, both members of the Carlsbad Beach Preservation Committee at the time, agreed to brainstorm and research the event.  On November 13, 2007 they, along with fellow committee member Matt Rocco, formed a formal sub-committee to spearhead the event effort.

In 2008, a joint effort by California State Parks and the City of Carlsbad’s Beach Preservation Committee created the first annual Carlsbad Beach Fest® at Tamarack Beach.  The idea of a beach “walk” never materialized, so it was decided to host a festival instead.  The name Carlsbad Beach Festival was tossed around before settling on a shorter version – Carlsbad Beach Fest® .  Shortening the name made sense since Carlsbad and the term “fest” are both of German origin.  The inaugural event was held on a cold and cloudy Earth Day in April 2008.  The event began as, and remains, a grassroots effort promoting the biological and cultural resources of the local coastline and inland waterways.  To accomplish these goals, the group enlisted the assistance of local lagoon foundations and other organizations sharing the same interests at heart. The primary focal points of the event were a volunteer beach cleanup (which spanned more than three miles of coastline as well as local trails and beach access areas surrounding the nearby lagoon and beach community), educating attendees about the importance of the coastal environment, and promoting good beach stewardship. In 2009 the same core group of volunteer and Beach Preservation Committee members, along with a host of community volunteers, successfully increased attendance and awareness by adding live entertainment, artist demonstrations, a large professional sand sculpture, and food vendors.

In 2010, the event committee recruited more like-minded businesses, nonprofits, and professionals who desired to increase awareness and stewardship by providing interactive educational booths which encouraged the community to learn while having fun. The event grew to an estimated 2,600 people. A main goal was to tie art into the event and many local artists displayed and performed their paint, dance, and other art on the beach.  U.S. Open Sand Sculpting Champion Archisand created a beautiful sand sculpture of a young girl holding a sea shell to her ear…in keeping with the main event theme of “Voices of the Coast.”  More live entertainment grabbed the attention and participation of hundreds of more people.


Carlsbad Beach Fest® 2011 continued its mission with even greater momentum.  To prove the event’s value to the community and expand outreach efforts on a grand scale, festivities were stretched along one mile of beach on Saturday, June 4, offering many more activities on another exciting day to celebrate our coastal playground.  A 5K Beach Run & Walk and a Free Kids One Mile Fun were offered, and at noon—led by Mayor Matt Hall, Carlsbad City Council members, and state representatives—festival-goers linked “Hands Across the Beach,” at the water’s edge in support of the event’s mission and delivering a symbolic message that beach and ocean preservation is the responsibility of every individual.   With the collaboration of its volunteer steering committee and community partners, the expanded event was a proven success, drawing over 7,500 people.  Life Technologies and NRG Energy became the event’s first Founding Sponsors.

With a massive, all-day beach cleanup, the return of Archisand, the 5K and Kids Free 1-Mile Fun Run, and “Hands Across the Beach”, the June 2012 event offered 7 new competitive sporting events including: pro/amateur surf contests,  1-mile ocean swim, 1-mile and 6-mile paddleboard races, beach triathlon and two duathlons.  Green organizations returned to share their environmentally friendly products, more interpretive booths were offered, and multiple stages showcased live bands and entertainment.

The 2013 Carlsbad Beach Fest saw continued growth in various aspects of the event.  There were more food vendors and surf contestants than ever before.  The event was able to raise a lot of money through sponsorship efforts – which helped provide the first funds to be donated back to the State for a local coastal stairway repair project.

Many have said that the 2014 Carlsbad Beach Fest was the best one yet!  The most important goal of the 2014 event was to get back to the original spirit and intent of the event – which was clean beaches, clean oceans, stewardship and awareness through education and outreach.  To this end we are hosting Surfrider Foundation, I Love a Clean San Diego (ILACSD), and San Diego Coastkeeper to head up the beach cleanup efforts.  Finally, all sand sculpture watering was done using salt water rather than potable drinking water…and nearly all of the 2014 Carlsbad Beach Fest® (Sea Life Aquarium Touch Pool, music / sound equipment, hydroponics exhibit, etc.) was run on solar power, compliments of the Strategic Recovery Institute (SRI).  Notable educational partners included California State University San Marcos and the The Classical Academy.  Legoland SeaLife Aquarium and Solar City headlined the newest corporate sponsors to come on board our event.

Mark your calendars and come experience Carlsbad Beach Fest® on Saturday, June 13, 2015!  The Carlsbad Beach Fest® is managed by the California Beach Foundation, Inc. (a.k.a. CalBeach), a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit (EID: 46-4968098).