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Welcome to the Festival of Whales

DANA POINT— Dana Point Harbor will host the 51st annual Festival of Whales on March 5-6 and a Welcoming of the Whales Ceremony on March 4. This year’s festival is in memory of the festival’s founder and owner of Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching, Don Hansen.

The event is a free with two days of in-person events with a few virtual events added in for the benefit of those who cannot attend in person.


The Welcome of the Whales ceremony will be held at dusk on the beach behind the Ocean Institute. It will be open to the public and will be followed by a kickoff party at the Ocean Institute. The kickoff event will include speakers, food trucks, refreshments, and hands-on educational activities.


The festival is put on in honor of the migration of the grey whales. Whale watching excursions operating out of Dana Point will be offered on a special Festival schedule. For more information, please visit the Dana Point Harbor website or call (949)388-363.


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 to propel itself to the depths that is new to the festival this year and will be displayed at the festival. Using reclaimed steel, damaged curbside trash bins and single use water bottles, Stockdill and Salnikova aim to connect all scales of the waste and its impact on the ocean. The sculpture will be constructed starting March 5 and will remain on display throughout the festival.


In 2019, Dana Point was named the dolphin and whale watching capital of the world and is the first Whale Heritage Site in the Americas, as established by the World Cetacean Alliance (WCA). The WCA is the world’s most significant marine conservation partnership, dedicated to promoting safe and sustainable whale watching.

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