Festival of Whales

Whales Get Their Own Parade in Dana Point

Actual gray whales won't attend, due to the event's drier nature, but fans can enjoy this long-running on-land lark.

Dana Point Harbor Partners

What to Know

  • Dana Point Festival of Whales makes a splash on March 5 and 6
  • The Whales Parade rolls at 10 a.m. on March 5
  • The Whales, Tails, and Ales street fair, art shows, lives music, and educational activities are part of the weekend-long event

Spying a massive mammal, the kind with a blowhole, baleen, dorsal ridges, and flippers, rolling down a major street?

That's not going to happen, given the indisputable fact that such animals do have a rather wonderful knack for keeping to the ocean, and avoiding manmade boulevards, the kinds of thoroughfares that are usually filled with cars and people.

But finding a large-scale whale representation on such a street?

That can and does happen, if you're around Dana Point Harbor in March.

For the Pacific-close hamlet has become well-known for its whimsical, entertaining, and info-packed Dana Point Festival of Whales, a weekend-big bash that puts our super-of-size cetacean friends in the spotlight.

That spotlight includes a playful centerpiece parade, which, yes, famously includes a mondo whale that's hoisted high, and other spectacular symbols of the sea.

Live music, the Dana Point Fine Arts Association show, and the Whales, Tails, and Ales street fair are on the busy roster, and a host of educational programs, too.

Many entertaining elements of the event, which is splashing into its 51st year in 2022, are free.

Some pursuits, like jumping onto a whale-watching excursion, do have a fee, and may require an advance reservation, given the popularity of the festival, so keep that in mind before you go.

Look also for the brand-new "Fluke: A Tale of Plastic."

The sizable structure "... highlights Dana Point Harbor Partners' partnership with Stand Up to Trash," shared organizers.

"Single-use water bottles and trash collected by Stand Up to Trash volunteers will be utilized by the artists to create this piece, along with reclaimed steel and damaged curbside trash bins."

"It is a pleasure to showcase artists who are using post-consumer materials to create art," said Bryon Ward of Dana Point Harbor Partners and President of Burnham Ward Properties.

"Our community highly values the arts and environmentalism for our ocean and beaches. This installation highlights our practice of sustainable development as we revitalize the Harbor in the coming years."

It's no fluke that fans of fabulous flukes, lifelong whale enthusiasts, and marine mavens have long made this venerable March affair a merry must-stop on their schedules.

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