Ocean Fest is an annual celebration of surfing, music, and environmental nonprofits, held over two days in Surf City, North Carolina. It’s also a nonprofit that supports environmental sustainability year-round.
That’s why Hemp Mellow recently made a donation to Ocean Fest through our partnership with the 1% for the Planet movement. A portion of every sale of Hemp Mellow products goes towards 1% for the Planet, which helps Hemp Mellow connect these donations with worthy organizations like Ocean Fest. We caught up with Mark Anders, the director of Ocean Fest, to learn more about the origins of this unique organization and event and the many ways they benefit the local community.
Ocean Fest celebrates clean water with music and friends
Mark’s been surfing for more than 30 years, and started the organization in 2019 with two other surfing buddies when he realized he needed a way to give back to the ocean. “Surfing has given me a career, and friends, and healed me,” he told Hemp Mellow.
Taking place annually in October, the first Ocean Fest came together in 2019 with barely two months lead. That first event was still a success, with live bands, vendors and local nonprofits, generating thousands in donations for the ocean. In 2020, the pandemic forced Ocean Fest to pivot to online fundraising. Thanks to a special surfboard auction, and a t-shirt sale (“they featured a surfer wearing a mask,” Mark recalled with a chuckle) they raised $5,000.
By 2021, Ocean Fest was back in Surf City, thanks to a lull in the pandemic. But all wasn’t calm – a tropical storm rolled in as the event approached, now expanded to two days. Despite rainy weather, it was a huge success, generating over $15,000 in donations for ocean orgs. In addition to live bands, other recurring events at the festival include a beach run and a vintage surfing contest, during which contestants surf on randomly selected antique boards. “The tropical storm brought in great waves,” Mark told us fondly. Ocean Fest even works with other organizations to help military veterans and autistic kids get their first taste of surfing during the event.
Ocean Fest will be back on October 7-8, 2022 in Surf City, North Carolina. You can visit their website for complete details.
Hemp Mellow & Ocean Fest: A Shared Commitment to Local Sustainability
In between their annual festivals, Ocean Fest also stays busy with pop-up events, including beach and coastal cleanups. Coastal cleanups, during which volunteers pick up roadways and empty spaces around the area, are less glamorous than beach cleanups, but they keep trash from ever reaching the waters.
“It’s easy to get people to come pick things off the sand, less easy to get them to clean up ditches, but it’s very important,” Mark said.
Ocean Fest also works with local restaurants and businesses to help them choose more sustainable alternatives to products like plastic straws, styrofoam takeout containers and bottled water.
As Mark told us, “We see a lot of challenges and pressure from population growth, but we see what we’re doing as helping to educate people so they can make better decisions.”
While we love surfing, music and the beach at Hemp Mellow, it was Ocean Fest’s year-round commitment to sustainability that helped us select them for our donation. That’s because it mirrored our commitments to try to do better by the earth every single day. Hemp Mellow’s worked to reduce waste throughout our shipping and product line, and sources the majority of our raw materials within 100 miles of our Kentucky-based factory. In addition, our state-of-the-art manufacturing facility is partially powered by geothermal energy. And, of course, we give back with a portion of every purchase.
From Kentucky to North Carolina, to your home and beyond, we know a shared commitment to protecting the earth can make a difference.