Catalina’s Amazing Airborne Aquatic Stars

It's nearly that season, flying fish fans.

Catalina Island

IF YOU'VE MADE IT ONTO A VINTAGE POSTCARD... you've made it, period. Isn't this true for most famous attractions found in California's best beloved getaways? Look at any old-school, hue-rich, linen-era postcard made 80 or 90 years ago, and see if an area's go-to symbols haven't pretty much remained intact and as ever popular. Exhibit A? Catalina Island. You're apt to find historic postcards featuring the Casino building, the buffalo, and, you betcha, the flying fish. Those seasonal superstars -- they rather like the summer months, you probably know -- are as sought-after now as they were in the 1930s, when tourists would head out onto nighttime boats starting in May, with the hope that something aquatic and be-gill'd would flap out of the water in the way a bird might. And lest you think the popularity of Catalina Island's flying fish would ever take a break or waver, fear not, fin fans: The Flying Fish Festival returns from May 29 through June 1, prime time for seeing these wonders of the deep.

ORRRR... not so deep, since the flying fish start their amazing "flight" from just below the water's surface. It truly is a wonder to see, but if you prefer to put some time in on shore, plenty'll be going down during the four-day festival. Taste Around of Avalon, Avalon Restaurant Week, sand sculptures, music, beach bingo, and the cardboard boat derby are just a handful of the doings. Call it old-school summer-greeting high jinks, with a wet and whimsical celebrity at its heart: the flying fish. Yep, they'll be back, as they always are. Nope, they don't have tiny calendars beneath the waves -- those would get soggy, after all -- but perhaps they know that they've been showing up as a postcard favorite 'round Catalina for the better part of a century. And you know what they say: If you make the early postcards, you're a local classic.

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