Dana Point Harbor Celebrates Whale Watching Season

Festival of Whales Parade 2020, photo courtesy of Dana Point Harbor Partners.

Known for the best year-round whale watching experiences, Dana Point Harbor is gearing up to celebrate whale watching season with the 51st Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales, March 5-6. The Festival pays tribute to the annual migration of California gray whales past Dana Point. The abundance of whales in these local waters has named Dana Point the “Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World®.” 

The celebratory weekend will kick off with the Welcoming of the Whales Ceremony at the Ocean Institute on March 4 featuring music, food trucks, refreshments, and educational activities. The iconic Festival of Whales Parade will begin at 10 a.m. on March 5 and will travel from the island across the bridge and into the village of Dana Point Harbor. The weekend will be filled with events including whale watching excursions, a Whales, Tails, and Ales street fair, the Dana Point Fine Arts Association Show, a concert on the water at Baby Beach and more. This year’s Festival is dedicated in memory of Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching founder, Don Hansen (1934-2022). 

New this year, Dana Point Harbor Partners commissioned artists Joel Dean Stockdill and Yustina Salnikova to construct Fluke: A Tale of Plastic, a life-sized depiction of an adult gray whale tail, in the act of ‘fluking,’ or raising its fluke vertically above the surface in order to propel itself to the depths. The sculpture will be constructed starting March 5 and will remain on display throughout the Festival, located on the grass area at the entrance to the Harbor. The sculpture further highlights Dana Point Harbor Partners’ partnership with Stand Up to Trash. Single-use water bottles and trash collected by Stand Up to Trash volunteers will be utilized by the artists to create this piece, along with reclaimed steel and damaged curbside trash bins.

“It is a pleasure to showcase artists who are using post-consumer materials to create art,” said Bryon Ward of Dana Point Harbor Partners and President of Burnham Ward Properties. “Our community highly values the arts and environmentalism for our ocean and beaches. This installation highlights our practice of sustainable development as we revitalize the Harbor in the coming years.”
Experience the height of whale watching season and enjoy Dana Point Harbor’s abundant and diverse marine life year-round. For more information and to view the full list of events visit festivalofwhales.com and DanaPointHarbor.com.

Credit: Dana Point Harbor.

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