Photograph taken by Ian Keenleyside
The whales are jumping for joy with the upcoming 31st Annual Mendocino Whale Festival
As Mendocino is gearing up for the upcoming whale festivals currently scheduled this year on March 2 & 3 hosted in the village of Mendocino and March 9 & 10 in Little River and March 16 & 17 in Fort Bragg. Each weekend offers fun and excitement in small town fashion.
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 their 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, a local wood sculpture, was probably the one who came up with the name “Mendocino Whale War”. Byrd and friends began campaigning to save whales, and many other locals joined in on the effort. Byrd with other locals formed the Mendocino Whale War Association in December 1975, with Byrd as one of the founding trustees.
Major coverage began early in 1976 with a big feature in the Detroit Free Press which hyped the idea of Mendocino, a small coastal town in California declaring war on Japan and the Soviet Union. This was especially important since this was the height of the Cold War. 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.
Several years after the first whale festival, it was decided to continue on the efforts of the founding members to educate and keep the public informed on the ongoing situation of the whales.
Here is a list of activities of the upcoming whale festivals:
Mendocino (March 2, 3)
Wine Tasting (Saturday Only)
Taste some of Mendocino county’s finest varietals! Purchase advance tickets
Chowder Tasting (Saturday Only)
Sample chowder from some of the best chefs on the coast! Purchase advance tickets
Wildlife Art Exhibit at the Mendocino Art Center
Experience the talent of a variety of artists in one room!
Plein-air Display – (Weather permitting)
See artists in their natural habitat and in action!
Point Cabrillo Light Station The Coast Guard Auxilliary will give lens tours, on-site docents will be available to answer questions, help visitors find whales and tell stories about the Station and its history.
Whale Watching Docent-led whale watch walks are scheduled at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 2nd, and 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 3rd. A limited number of binoculars and spotting scopes are available. Meet at the Ford House.
Little River (March 9, 10)
Whale of a Deal! Stay two nights during the Little River Whale Festival at any Inn in Little River and get the third night free.
Taste of Little River: (Saturday only, 1 – 4) Discover the many flavors of Little River as local gourmet chefs show off their specialties paired with local wines. Advance tickets available at Little River Inn and day of the event at the Andiron. Fundraiser for Mendocino Area Parks Association and the preservation of the Spring Ranch Barns at Van Damme State Park. $25, includes Whale Festival Commemorative wine glass.
Little River Improvement Club presents “Tales from Little River”
(Sunday only, 11:00 am.)
Kayak Mendocino Sea Cave Tours: Paddle through sea caves and meet the harbor seals, sea stars, algae and shorebirds. Saturday & Sunday 11:30 & 2:00 pm., $50
Adventure Passport: Explore Little River’s classes, art studios, trails and tours collecting a sticker at each. Attend three or more events for a chance to win a local prize.
Docent Led Whale Watch Walk (free)
Walking tour of Spring Ranch property (free)
Mendocino Rotary Club Hosts Vegas Night (Saturday only 6:30 pm) Crown Hall, Mendocino. Texas Holdem, Wheel of Fortune, Black Jack and more. Refreshments, music, silent and noisy auctions with great prizes.
Fort Bragg (March 16, 17)
Chowder Tasting $10 (Saturday only). Sample chowders from some of the best chefs on the coast! Tasting will be held at Town Hall (363 N Main Street) between 11:00 am–1:00 pm or until chowder runs out, so get there early! Purchase advance tickets
Passport Wine Tasting Event (Saturday only): $25 advance tickets and $30 at the door. Taste some of Mendocino County’s finest varietals in shops and galleries in Historic Downtown Fort Bragg. Purchase wrist bands and a glass from Town Hall beginning at 1:00 pm Purchase advance tickets
Microbrew Beer Tasting: $30 (Saturday only) Taste beer like you have never tasted it before, right here in your own backyard at Eagles Hall in Fort Bragg (210 N Corry); 12:00–4:00 pm.
Soroptimist of Fort Bragg Annual Whale Run Saturday, March 16, 2013 8 AM. 10K, 5K Run * 5K Competitive Walk * 5K Run Walk * Kiddie Race 7:40 am For more info and to register
Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park. The Coast Guard Auxilliary will give lens tours, on-site docents will be available to answer questions, help visitors find whales and tell stories about the Station and its history.
MacKerricher State Park: Scavenger hunt, paint the whale skeleton and more.
Whale slide show 7 pm (3/15) at the Mendocino Coast Photography Guild and Gallery in Fort Bragg.
Whale Festival Attractions THROUGHOUT THE MONTH:
Whale watching charter boat tours (Noyo Harbor, Fort Bragg)
Point Cabrillo Lighthouse
Horseback riding on the beach
MacKerricher State Park docent led whale walks
Walking whale watching tours at the Botanical Gardens
“Whale Tales” Exhibit and whale watching tips from docents at the Ford House Visitor’s Center.
Stevenswood Spa Resort is only 2 minutes south, of the village of Mendocino, and 15 minutes south of Fort Bragg. Plan on coming to the coast and enjoy one of our suites, dinner and relax and get pampered in our spa.
For dinner phone 707-937-2810 or online at urban spoon.
For lodging phone 707-937-2810 or online at reservations.
For spa reservations phone 707-937-2810 or online at Indigo Eco-Spa.