SANTA BARBARA ― Free boat rides, dockside tours and maritime education are just part of the escapades happening at the 16th annual Santa Barbara Harbor and Seafood Festival. The festival celebrates lobster season with oceans of fresh seafood and harbor activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Oct. 14.
Santa Barbara Sailing Center’s Double Dolphin and Celebration Cruises’ Azure Seas provide the public with boat rides in the harbor.
“The free boat rides are really a hit with visitors of all ages. Festival goers get to experience a boat ride through the harbor out into the main channel to see Stearns Wharf and when they are lucky, they might see some sea lions enjoying the day on the green buoy,” Dominique Samario, administrative analyst with the City of Santa Barbara’s Waterfront Department, stated.
The public are welcome to tour aboard the United States Coast Guard’s Cutter Blackfin, the Ocean Institute’s tall ship Spirit of Dana Point, the NOAA research vessel Shearwater and Santa Barbara Maritime Museum’s flagship Ranger.
Ocean related educational booths set up on the pier offer information and giveaways. The marine agencies in attendance include California Department of Fish and Wildlife (DFW), Coast Guard Auxiliary, Heal the Ocean, Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary and others.
More than 40 vendors are featuring arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry and more. Fresh seafood is available for purchase from lobster and oysters to sea urchin Uni and barbeque albacore. Live bands provide more festive flair with musical entertainment.
“The Harbor & Seafood Festival offers an interactive day for visitors and locals alike, reminding us that Santa Barbara Harbor is a working harbor where more than 100 fishermen land 10 million pounds of seafood each year, adding $30 million to the local economy and beyond,” the Santa Barbara press release states.
City of Santa Barbara, Commercial Fisherman of Santa Barbara Inc., Santa Barbara Harbor Merchants’ Association and the Santa Barbara Maritime Museum help put this festival together. A map and directions are available online at Harborfestival.org.
city of Santa Barbara photo