51st Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales - South OC Moms

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. Additionally be sure to check out our Dana Point guide here, while you are in the area enjoying the festival.

 

Schedule for March 5th

Island Way/DP Harbor Drive 10 AM: Festival of Whales Parade
Ocean Institute 9:30 AM–2:30 PM – March 5: Ocean Institute Activities
Baby Beach 8 AM–1 PM – March 5: Cardboard Classic & Dinghy Dash
Harbor Parking Lot/Golden Lantern & DP Harbor Drive 10 AM–4 PM – March 5: Whales, Tails & Ales (Street Fair)
Dana Wharf 9 AM–9:45 AM – March 5: Wyland Art Lessons in the Wild (OCean Adventure Catamaran, Dana Wharf Dock)
Parking Lot Just East of Harpoon Henry’s 10 AM–4 PM – March 5: Wyland Foundation Kids’ Community Mural Project
DP Harbor Drive & Island Way 10 AM–5 PM – March 5: Art in the Park
Harbor Walkway 10 AM–4 PM – March 5: Pacific Coast Corvettes – Car Show
Harbor Walkway 10 AM–4 PM – March 5: SoCal Woodies – Car Show
Parking Lot Just East of Harpoon Henry’s 10 AM–4 PM – March 5: Antique & Classic Boat Society Show
Harbor Walkway 11 AM–4 PM – March 5: Just Havin’ Fun Car Club Show
Harbor Walkway 10 AM–4 PM – March 5: Dana Hills High School Young Artists Show and Sale
Doheny State Beach Visitor’s Center 11 AM-1 PM – March 5: Doheny State Beach Visitor’s Center Open House Tour & Whale ExhibitsQ&A
Baby Beach 11 AM–3 PM – March 5: Clam Chowder Cook-Off
PCH & Blue Lantern Time TBD – March 5: Dana Point Historical Society Walking Tour (Live)
Harbor Walkway 9:30 AM–5 PM – March 5: Dana Point Fine Arts Association Show & Sale
Harpoon Henry’s 10 AM – 11 AM – March 5: Alisa Schulman Janiger – Marine Mammal Lecture Series
Dana Wharf and Clock Courtyards Noon–3 PM – March 5: Harbor Music Series (Mariners Village Clock courtyard near El Torito, Dana Wharf courtyard, and Coffee Importers)
Dana Wharf & Baby Beach 10 AM–4 PM – March 5: Festival Merchandise Booths
Virtual 8:30 AM – March 5: Capt. Dave’s Virtual Safari

 

Schedule for March 6th

Ocean Institute 9 AM-11 AM – March 6: Stand Up to Trash Beach Cleanup
DP Harbor Drive & Island Way 10 AM–5 PM – March 6: Art in the Park
Harbor Walkway 10 AM–4 PM – March 6: Pacific Coast Corvettes – Car Show
Harbor Walkway 10 AM–4 PM – March 6: British Invasion Car Show – Austin Healey Assoc. of SoCal & Jaguar Owners Club of LA
Harpoon Henry’s 10 AM-11 AM – March 6: Kristen Donald – Marine Mammal Lecture Series
Baby Beach 9 AM-NOON – March 6: Diamond Dig
Baby Beach NOON-5 PM – March 6: Concert on the Water and BBQ
Harbor Walkway 9:30 AM–5 PM – March 6: Dana Point Fine Arts Association Show & Sale (Harbor walkway under pergola near Mariners Village)
Parking Lot Just East of Harpoon Henry’s 10 AM–4 PM – March 6: Wyland Foundation Kids’ Community Mural Project
Dana Wharf 12:15 PM–12:45 PM; 1 PM–5:30 PM – March 6: Kids Fishing Clinic and Trip (Dana Wharf Docks)
Dana Wharf and Clock Courtyards and more Noon–3 PM – March 6: Harbor Music Series (Dana Wharf Plaza and Mariners Village)
PCH & Blue Lantern Time TBD – March 6: Dana Point Historical Society Walking Tour (Live)
Ocean Institute 9:30 AM–2:30 PM – March 6:Ocean Institute Activities Schedule
Westwind Sailing 10 AM–1 PM – March 6: Interactive Sailing Rides (Westwind Sailing near OC Sailing & Event Center/Baby Beach)
Westwind Sailing 10 AM–1 PM – March 6: Stand-up Paddling Clinics (Westwind Sailing near OC Sailing & Event Center/Baby Beach)
Dana Wharf 10 AM–4 PM – March 6: Festival Merchandise Booths

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