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29th Annual Mendocino Whale Festival

As the Mendocino Coast is getting ready for the upcoming 2011 Mendocino Coast Whale Festivals, most people don’t realize that Mendocino declared war on Japan and the Soviet Union in 1975. The inspiration started in June 1975, when a Greenpeace Foundation patrol boat located a Russian Whaling fleet killing Sperm whales off Cape Mendocino. They captured dramatic film footage of a canon fired explosive harpoon flying over there heads and striking a whale. When the film was broadcast on national TV news, some Mendocino locals were inspired to get involved in stopping the whale slaughter off our shores. Byrd Baker with other locals formed the Mendocino Whale War Association in December 1975, with Byrd as one of the founding trustees. The Mendocino Whale War Association organized the 1st Whale Festival in Mendocino in March 1976. The goal was to make the public aware that the whales were still being hunted. The festival was also a fundraiser for an ocean voyage to challenge the whalers off the Mendocino coast, as Greenpeace had done the previous summer. So the first, second, and third weekends of March is whale festival time on the Mendocino coast, with Mendocino hosting the first weekend of March 5, 6.
  • Wine Tasting in Mendocino’s shops Saturday only 12-4 pm. $30 per person. Event brochures, t-shirts and totes available.
  • Chowder Tasting in Crown Hall, Saturday from 11 am till the chowder runs out. $10 allows you to taste each participant. Crown Hall located at 45285 Ukiah Street, Mendocino.
  • Whale Watching Walks on the headlands and Gray Whale Exhibit at the Ford House Visitor’s Center, Saturday and Sunday. Call 937-5397 for more information and hours . Ford House Visitor Center located on ocean side of Main Street, Mendocino.
  • Plein-Air Artists in the Village weather permitting! See local artists painting on the Mendocino Headlands, Saturday.
  • Marine Wildlife Exhibit at the Mendocino Art Center, 10-4 pm, Little Lake Street, Mendocino. Call 937-5818.
  • Whale Watching Cruises from Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg all day both Saturday and Sunday, call Chamber of Commerce for charter boat referrals, 707-961-6300.
  • Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. Plan to visit the light station during the first and third weekend in March for the best whale watching on the Mendocino coast. Join us as we celebrate the swim by of the majestic gray whales. Point Cabrillo is easy to find. We’re just north of Mendocino. From Highway 1, turn onto Point Cabrillo Road at Russian Gulch and follow the signs. We’re 1.3 miles from Russian Gulch.
The second weekend, March 12, 13 is hosted in Little River. A taste of Little River is what visitors are promised during this festive weekend. Savor bites from the kitchens of the town’s noted chefs, sips from Mendocino County vintners, history and whale watching walks, artist studio tours, fireside talks with local historians. The third weekend, March 19, 20 is hosted in Fort Bragg. Microbrew tasting and whale watching will be the featured attractions. With dozens of microbrews provided by the Fort Bragg Rotary Club.
  • Chowder Tasting at Town Hall, Saturday from 11 am till the chowder runs out. $10 allows you to taste all participants. Corner of Main Street & Laurel Street in Fort Bragg. T-shirts and tote bags available during this event. Get there early to avoid long lines for chowder!
  • Whale Watching Cruises out of Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg all day both Saturday and Sunday.
  • Microbrew Beer Tasting and barbecue at Eagles Hall, Saturday only from 12 – 5 pm.
  • Marine Wildlife Exhibit at the Mendocino Art Center, 10-4 pm. Little Lake Street, Mendocino. Call 937-5818.
  • Point Cabrillo Lighthouse. Plan to visit the light station during the first and third weekend in March for the best whale watching on the Mendocino coast. Join us as we celebrate the swim by of the majestic gray whales. Point Cabrillo is easy to find. We’re just north of Mendocino. From Highway 1, turn onto Point Cabrillo Road at Russian Gulch and follow the signs. We’re 1.3 miles from Russian Gulch.
With some 20,000 gray whales migrating north from birthing grounds in Mexico to their winter home in Alaska, there will be plenty of whales to view from the Pomo Bluffs Park in Fort Bragg and miles of beaches in MacKerricker Beach State Park just north of Fort Bragg. For Lodging phone 707-937-2810 or online at Reservations For Dinner phone 707-937-2810 or online at Opentable
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