Festival of Whales swims into Dana Point

DANA POINT—It’s peak season in Dana Point for spotting gray whales, which migrate from Alaska to Mexico between December and March. Dana Point celebrates the majestic creatures with an annual Festival of Whales, which takes place over the course of two weekends in March this year.

Dozens of events will be held Mar. 7, 8, 14 and 15 for the 49th iteration of the event, including several boating-themed festivities. The event will, of course, feature whale watching, both from land or sea. Several different whale watching boat trips will be offered throughout each day of the festival. Festival goers can also walk to the cliffs at Dana Point Headlands near the harbor for a good land-based whale watching location.

Scientists believe the 40-ton ocean mammals pass close to the shores of Dana Point each year using the majestic cliffs of the Headlands as a navigational landmark.

On March 7 between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., the Southern California Chapter of the Antique & Classic Boat Society will display a variety of vessels including antique and classic boats in the East Marina Parking Lot between Dana Wharf and Harpoon Henry’s on Golden Lantern.

On March 14, Westwind Sailing will host the Cardboard Classic & Dinghy Dash. The public is invited to build a dinghy out of supplied corrugated cardboard and duct tape and compete in age division races at Baby Beach. All materials are supplied; registration costs $40 per team. The event runs from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. and is free and open to spectators.

Other boating events include sailing rides and lessons in Capri 14s with Westwind Sailing and OC Sailing and Event Center on March 7, 8 and 15 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m.

Other festival activities include stand-up paddling clinics; kids free fishing clinic and fishing trip with Dana Wharf Sportfishing; opening day parade; street fair; art and craft shows and sales; classic car exhibits; sand sculpting; chowder cook-off competitions; concerts on land and water; environmental activities and educational opportunities such as Ocean Institute programming and Historical Society walking tours; kids’ fun zones; and food and drinks.

For a full schedule of events visit festivalofwhales.com.

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