Let the celebration begin! As hundreds of Gray Whales migrate along the California Coast, Dana Point will honor the spectacular event with the 49th annual Festival of Whales. It’s one of Southern California’s largest seafaring celebrations and draws more than 50,000 visitors over a two-weekend period. This year, the festival will run March 7th,8th,14th &15th and will offer several different family-friendly activities daily.
Festival of Whales Parade(March 7th)
The celebration will kick-off Saturday, March 7th, with the annual Festival of Whales Parade at 10 am. The theme is “Magical Migration” and will feature ocean-inspired floats and giant helium balloons. This year, the parade will follow a new route that begins at Dana Drive on the island side of Island Way, will turn right onto Dana Point Harbor Drive and end at Golden Lantern.
Whales, Tails & Ales (March 7th)
The Whales, Tails & Ales Street Fair will also take place on Saturday and will run from 10 am- 4 pm. It’s sponsored by the Pet Project Foundation and will feature craft beer, local artisan vendors, food, live music, face painting, inflatables, a doggie costume contest, and free treats. Proceeds will help support our local San Clemente/Dana Point Animal Shelter.
Whale of a Clam Chowder Cook-Off (March 14th)
Don’t miss the annual Whale of a Clam Chowder Cook-Off on Saturday, March 14th at Baby Beach. You can sample a variety of tasty chowders from local restaurants and organizations. Then, you get to vote for your favorite from 11 am to 3 pm. Tasting packets will include; taste sampling tickets, tasting cups, and spoons. Prizes will be awarded for the People’s Choice Best Chowder, Best Booth Design, and Mayor’s Choice. This year, you can also enjoy a Beer & Wine Garden. Proceeds will benefit “Fish for Life,” a nonprofit program that takes children with special needs ocean fishing.
Concert on the Water (March 15th)
The two-weekend festival will wrap up on Sunday, March 15th with a Concert on the Water from noon- 5 pm. The free outdoor concert at Baby Beach will feature “The Dave Silver Band” (Rock & Original Music), “Tricia Freeman’s Tribute to Rondstat, Nicks & Joplin” and “Turn the Page – Tribute to Bob Seger.” The bands will be performing on a floating stage along the water. Bring your beach chairs or blankets and enjoy an afternoon of great music, food and drinks.
Parking: You’re encouraged to park in one of several free parking lots, including; Cove Road Lot, Pier Lot, Baby Beach Lot, Embarcadero Lot, or Puerto Place. The City will run Dana Point Trolleys in the Harbor with service starting at 7:30 on Saturday morning. The trolleys will make stops near those suggested parking areas.
Click here for a full list of events.
Click here for Trolley times.