March is one of our favorite times of year here in Fort Bragg. This year, we celebrate 35 years honoring the migration of the Pacific Gray Whale from Baja to their ancestral feeding grounds in the Bering Sea. As many as 20,000 whales pass by the Mendocino Coast twice a year—heading south between December and February and north from February until April. March is a very busy month when many of the whale population are heading north, making our March Whale Festival the perfect time to discover the joys of seeing this amazing mammal while participating in festivities all along the coast.
There’s a lot going on right here in Fort Bragg on the weekend of March 18 and 19, so be sure to mark your calendars and pay us a visit!
You can enjoy whale watching from miles of beaches, including the new Coastal Trail in Fort Bragg, enjoy chowder and craft beer tasting at Town Hall, and a variety of award winning Anderson Valley wines and hors d’oeuvres while visiting our local shops and inns. Tickets can be bought online for the chowder, wine, and beer tasting. Visit MendoWhale.com for details. Our Chowder Tasting features a chowder contest between various local restaurants, so you’ll experience a variety of chowders ranging from the traditional to the not so traditional – taste them all and vote for your favorite! Beer Tasting includes craft brews from our local world renowned North Coast Brewing Company. Taste a variety of beers at $5 each and enjoy a FREE 3 oz. pour of North Coast Brewing Company’s new North Coast Steller IPA with each beer purchase! All Proceeds from Stellar provide support for marine mammal research and rescue.
Remember: We encourage all of our Whale Festival attendees to enjoy the festivities and drink responsibly!
Just a few miles to the north of Fort Bragg on Highway 1, MacKerricher State Park is one of the best locations for watching the gray whale migration. The wheelchair accessible boardwalk to the headlands of Laguna Point offers a spectacular, panoramic view of the coastline while you get out your binoculars and scan the waves. You can often spot whale tails or whales breaching even with the naked eye!
Kickoff to the MacKerricher State Park festivities takes place on Friday, March 17th, with an informative lecture at 7:00 p.m. at the Veterans’ Memorial Building. A guest speaker will offer insight into the gray whale migration, and the evening offers interactive activities, a raffle, and refreshments. Saturday, March 18 at the park there’s a whale walk beginning at 11 a.m. with docents and park staff leading informative guided whale walks. Start at the Visitor Center on the South trail, where you can see a whale skeleton and learn more about the whales before heading off to Laguna Point for a chance to catch sight of some lively whales in motion. Then, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m., family activities include arts and crafts, games, and interactive learning at education stations. Kids can build their very own badge of whale knowledge, play games, make art, listen to music and enjoy a free hot dog lunch. On Sunday, March 19th from 1 to 3 p.m. visitors will have a chance to learn how to help preserve our whale skeleton.
33rd Annual Whale Run and Walk: Soroptimist international of Fort Bragg will be holding their 33rd Annual Whale Run and Walk on March 18 starting at 7:30am. For more information and to register visit www.soroptimistfortbraggca.org .
21st Annual Beer Festival: Fort Bragg Rotary Club is holding their 21st Annual Beer Festival on March 18th from 12-4pm. Will be at the historic Eagles Hall ( 210 N. Corry St.). Come and enjoy the live music and BBQ.
Noyo Center for Marine Science:
All kinds of fun activities are scheduled at the Noyo Center for Marine Science all month!
March 10th: Science Talk in Town Hall: The Ecology and Migration of Gray Whales with Scott Mercer 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm
March 6th-12th: Blue whale bones on display at the end of the south Coastal Trail in Fort Bragg. School kid field trips until 2 pm, then open to the public from 3-5 pm.
March 18th: 4th Annual Science and Art Fair: Old Rec Center Gym, 10:00 am-4 pm
Science Talk at Town Hall: Bottlenose Dolphins and Harbor Porpoises. 4:00 pm-5:30 pm
If you plan on visiting the Mendocino Coast earlier in March, you’ll be able to catch the Mendocino Whale Festival on March 4 and 5 and the Little River Whale Festival on March 11 and 12. Information and updates for all three Whale Festival weekends is available at Mendowhale.com and on the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce Facebook page, too!