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Whale Festivals 2018
Wednesday, February 28th, 2018
Each year, some 20,000 California Gray Whales migrate each year from Alaska to the protected warm lagoons of Baja California to birth their calves, then head home — a roundtrip of 10,000 miles. The trip takes place from December to April. It is during this homeward bound portion of their trip that they pass the Mendocino Coast.
And, to celebrate their migration, the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce organizes whale festivals over three weekends in March (Mendocino – March 3-4; Little River – March 9 – 11, and Fort Bragg – March 17 & 18.
The main events, in Fort Bragg and Mendocino, offer chowder, beer and wine tasting.
Visit MendoWhale.com for more event details or for links to buy your tickets early. You can also buy your tickets at the events.
Other Whale Festival Activities:
The Point Cabrillo Light Station, located three miles north of Mendocino (7 miles south of Fort Bragg) is the best place whale watching on the coast. Docents will be on hand to talk about the migration and help spot whales. Also during the Whale Festivals, the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will be offering an opportunity to clean up into the lighthouse for a close-up of the 1908 Fresnel Lens, which is still operating as a Federal Aid to Navigation. A small tour fee is collected and used for Light Station educational programs and Coast Guard Auxiliary education and boating safety. Details for Point Cabrillo activities here. Point Cabrillo is a California State Park.
Mendocino Headlands State Park Whale Festival: (located in Mendocino village on Highway One) The park will offer the “Whale Tales” Exhibit at the Ford House Visitor’s Center, featuring bones from a Gray Whale, information regarding the grays whale migration, and an interactive exhibit that lets you quiz yourself on whale facts. Located at the Ford House Visitor Center and Museum, 45035 Main Street, Mendocino, CA open 11am to 4pm daily.
Fourth of July Weekend Celebration Mendocino, California
Saturday, June 24th, 2017
I’m certain that if they did a USA Today reader survey of Best Fourth of July Parades in America, Mendocino’s would rank right up there. Tiny Historic Mendocino Village (population 1,000) swells with kids, families, locals and tourists all coming to see what organizer have cooked up. For a small time, it’s a pretty big parade. Visits come from all over the San Francisco Bay Area and all the tiny communities stretching along the Mendocino Coast from Westport to Gualala.
Monday, July 4th – A Parade with a Punch … Sometimes
Like most rural parades, you’ll find fire trucks, military displays and community groups, like Rotary and the library, waving their banners and proudly struting their stuff. And, of course, there will be farm animals and oddball parade floats. But beware: the Coast’s progressive bent can draw protests in the form of parade entries that make powerful political statements. A dozen years ago, there were one or two anti-George Bush floats, that upset some locals. Still, it’s all in good fun. And worth the experience. I’ve attended more than 15 parades and they are generally rated G, family-fun events with lots to eat and drink. Check out Rotary Park at the corner of Lansing and Main Streets for food and activities. It’s also a great place to put a chair and watch the parade go by.
World’s Largest Salmon BBQ — Saturday, July 1
This is just one massive salmon feast (with all the trimmings). All for a good cause: preserving and building the local fish population so that it is healthy and sustainable. Learn more.
BBQ Tickets are $30 at the door or $25 in advance at the Harvest Market or online (up until 5pm the Friday before the BBQ). Kids 12 and under $10. Or you can purchase your tickets online by clicking the button below. Admission is free. Come and listen to the music and enjoy the afternoon in Noyo Harbor.
Fireworks – Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg
Coastal weather is a crapshoot in July (fog can move in any moment and wipe out ocean views). Sometimes, you get clear weather with spectacular fireworks shooting off a barge in Noyo Harbor. Other times, even a 100 yards away you can barely see them. Still, anticipation is everything. And being on the coast with its wonderful cool weather while the inland towns are seething in 100+ weather, is enough reason to come. There is lots of parking (some paid to help pay for the event) and free spots on the local streets. Will it be clear or foggy? You may not know until the hour of the launch! Still, it’s worth finding a spot near the harbor to watch. Prepare to bundle up in any case. The summer temperature, even with the sun out, is likely to be 55-65 degrees.