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A whale of a good time in Fort Bragg!

Posted on: February 21, 2015 at 1:41 pm by Julia Conway No Comments
whale tail

Gray whale, photo courtesy of Jennifer Hendershott


The annual migration of the California Gray Whale is here, and so is the annual Fort Bragg Whale Festival.  The third in a series of weekends dedicated to these amazing marine mammals, the two days are jam-packed with fun and activities.

Whale Run and Walk; Saturday, March 21 at 8:00A on the MacKerricher Haul Road, 10K and 5K run, 5K competitive walk, 5K fun walk and half-mile kids race starting at 7:30A.  More details and entry information HERE.

Chowder Tasting; Saturday, March 21 11:00A – 1:00P at Town Hall, your favorite local restaurants compete for the title of People’s Choice, come early to make sure you taste all the entries before they run out!  $10 admission, North Coast Brewing Company will be there serving up tasty beverages.

Microbrew Beer Tasting; Saturday, March 21, 12:00N – 4:00P at the Eagles Hall.  21 and over only please, $30 admission.

Point Cabrillo Lighthouse; Saturday and Sunday, docent-led whale watching tours (weather permitting), lens tours and walks to nearby Frolic Cove with the story of the clipper brig Frolic, wrecked in July of 1850.

MacKerricher State Park; Family-friendly scavenger hunt, paint the whale skeleton, slide show (March 20th), docent-led whale  and wildlife walks/talks.  Harbor seals, sea lions and elephant seals are also calving and visible on the offshore rocks.

Book a whale watching tour from Noyo Harbor.  Check out the details HERE.

Take a Whale Walk on the new Coastal Trail; Sunday March 22 10:00A – 11:00A, $12 and kids under ten free when accompanied by an adult, includes tour and a special whale-themed souvenir, call the Chamber for tickets and info 707-961-6300.

Watch the whales from the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens, open daily.

Don’t miss the fun!  Book your room today!

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Guest Article*; the story of Fort Bragg’s Blue Whale

Posted on: February 16, 2015 at 8:36 am by Julia Conway No Comments

Articulating the Noyo vision, bone by bone

In 2009, a lethal strike from a ship’s propeller off the Mendocino coast tragically killed a 73-foot female blue whale. This ship-strike, a leading threat to these magnificent mammals, has been turned into a story of Fort Bragg’s community coming together around the vision of the Noyo Marine Science Center.

At Noyo, we believe that the desire to learn about and protect our marine environment will only come with a powerful emotional connection to the amazing underwater world.

Our dream is to turn our blue whale bones into a world-class exhibit that will represent the Noyo vision to:

  • Create a space in which scientists, artists and the public (of all ages) can work together, learn from each other and create multi-disciplinary opportunities
  • Captivate and draw young minds toward a deeper level of inquiry and connection with the marine world
  • Inspire our local population and attract visitors to the Mendocino coast


Blue whale skeleton

Artist’s rendering of the articulated skeleton


The story of “our” whale:


When the devastating news that a 73-ft long female blue whale had suffered a lethal injury from a ship’s propeller off our coast in 2009 became public, the community of Fort Bragg came together.  Seeing this beautiful whale washed up on shore was so moving that members of our community voiced an idea to salvage the skeleton for Fort Bragg, regardless of the fact that there would be no agency or university leading the effort.  Working with NOAA, the City was able to obtain rights to acquire the skeleton for eventual public display.  More than 200 people walked away from their normal lives to participate in an unprecedented community effort to haul 70-tons of bones and blubber up a 40-foot cliff and bury the whale in compost out in the forest.  It was a monumental task.

Students from all over got a once-in-a-lifetime blue whale-sized anatomy lesson during the flensing process as we worked with national experts to provide as many samples for research as possible.

After four years of sitting in compost and sand in large pits in the forest, our amazing volunteers once again came together with the City of Fort Bragg to carefully dig out each bone.  Thankfully, microbes and insects had done a good job, and most of the flesh was gone.  Some bones, like the caudal vertebrae near the tail, were still encased in very strong connective tissue and had to be put back in compost to finish the job.  The bones were trucked to the wastewater treatment plant in Fort Bragg where we have been cleaning and scrubbing them (what a great place for this dirty job!)

The skeleton is now in storage awaiting funding to begin the next stage of the restoration process: degreasing to remove the (extremely smelly!) internal oils.

Cleaning – We have already come a long way in preparing our blue whale skeleton for display.  Members of our community who helped to collect the skeleton flensed away about 70 tons of flesh to extract the bones.  We have since relied on composting, insects and soil microorganisms to remove the remaining soft tissues and we’re ready to move on to the next stage.

Degreasing – Whale bones are composed of both compact and cancellous hard tissues.  Compact bone is found in the outer regions of bones and in the load-bearing regions of the skeleton.  It is solid and dense.  Cancellous bone, on the other hand, is sponge-like.  It is less rigid and is filled with oil that serves as a nutrient reserve and aids in buoyancy in living whales.  Did you know that this oil can comprise up to 40-50% of the weight of a blue whale skeleton??!

Left alone, the oil quickly becomes rancid and unbelievably stinky in saturated whale bones.  Understandably, for a public display, 100% of this stinky oil must be removed.  Extracting the oil without damaging the hard bony tissues is by far the biggest challenge in the job of preparing a whale skeleton for display and this step will take several months to complete carefully.  We are currently working with a team of experienced scientists to plan our degreasing strategy and we are working hard to raise funds to get this step underway.

Restoration – Since our whale encountered a ship’s propeller, several vertebrae and parts of the skull have been damaged.  We want the public to know the story of our whale’s death so we plan to do minimal repair to these areas.  However, more trauma to the skeleton occurred when the carcass was washed up on the beach since whale skeletons are not built for bearing their own weight on land. We plan to restore these broken bones to their original condition.

There are many great artistic products that are available to articulators and museum conservators to do this kind of restoration.  This stage is very fun and will involve learning blue whale anatomy in great detail and calling on a talented team of artists to repair, sculpt and paint the broken areas to restore the skeleton.  Next, we’ll be ready to put our bones back together.

Articulation  – The world of a whale remains mysterious to most of us since the vast amount of its time is spent below the surface of the ocean.  Most historic articulations of large whales portray, well, the dead whale that was found on land.  The recent advancement of underwater remote sensing technology has shed much light on the amazingly dynamic lives that whales actually lead under water and off-shore.  This has allowed the science of whale skeleton articulation to progress beyond an anatomical exercise into an exciting discipline that fuses science and art.

Using top-quality artistic materials and cutting edge articulation techniques, we plan to design a dynamic, scientifically accurate and elegant display that will breathe life.  The exhibit will allow people of all ages to intimately experience the life and ecology of a whale up close.  Visitors will connect with the vastness of the marine environment of the Mendocino coast and beyond, and continue toward a deeper learning experience at the Noyo Center.

We are thrilled to have Cetacea Contracting, renowned in modern skeleton articulation techniques, on our team to help lead us through the skeleton building process. Check out their website to see some more examples of dynamic skeleton articulations and see the image below for an idea of the possibilities available for our blue whale skeleton exhibit.

If you would like to learn more about this exciting project or see how you can get involved, please contact us or donate today!

* Content courtesy of the Noyo Center for Marine Science

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Valentine’s Weekend in Fort Bragg

Posted on: February 11, 2015 at 1:24 pm by Julia Conway No Comments
Glass Beach

Additional Glass Beach coves


Searching for a romantic getaway for the upcoming Valentine’s Day weekend?  Look no farther than beautiful and historic Fort Bragg, on the spectacular Mendocino coast!  The weather forecast for the weekend calls for sunny skies, calm winds and mild temperatures, with the added excitement of some big winter surf.  You can choose a romantic room at one of our unique and charming B&B’s or book an ocean view room at one of our seaside motels.  Many of the local properties have special mid-winter packages or Valentine’s getaway specials, so don’t forget to ask when you book your reservation.

Spend the day walking the new Coastal Trail and explore the once forbidden southern coves of the Glass Beach complex, now accessible from the new trail and park.  The California gray whale migration is at its peak, and you can often spot the spouts and tails from the bluff top trail.  The new trail was opened just last month, and is available for walking, biking and boarding, and is wheelchair accessible from the new parking lot at the west end of Elm Street.

If you are looking for a more exciting activity, you can book a whale watching cruise in Noyo Harbor, rent kayaks at Liquid Fusion and explore the Noyo River or coastal rocks, or you can ride mountain bikes on the many logging roads in Jackson Demonstration State Forest.  The pool at the C. V. Starr Community and Aquatic Center is open, or you can explore the redwoods at Otis Johnson Wilderness Park.  The Skunk Train runs short half-day trips out to Northspur station leaving at 10:00A on both Saturday and Sunday.

Shopping is always fun in historic downtown Fort Bragg.  Check out the one-of-a-kind shops on Main, Laurel, Franklin and Redwood streets, or wander through the Union Lumber Company Store mall or the Depot mall.  Enjoy breakfast with the locals at the Laurel Deli, or the ultra-healthy salads and soups at the Living Light Culinary Institute’s Cafe.  Happy hour at Barbelow can be a fun way to wrap up a day of wandering around downtown visiting the shops and galleries.

Many of our local restaurants will have special Valentine’s menus, but call ahead, as some may require reservations.  Or, if you just want to sit and watch the waves, pick up a fresh Dungeness crab at Harvest Market or down in Noyo Harbor, a loaf of Fort Bragg Bakery’s crusty bread and a bottle of Mendocino County’s award-winning sparkling wines and have a picnic on the beach or in your room.

For those of you who have President’s Day off and can enjoy the three-day weekend, book an extra night!  The beaches are almost always deserted on Mondays, and you can sit and watch the waves undisturbed.  Take a drive up the coast to Ten Mile Beach and the Ingelnook Fen dunes, and you can walk for hours and see nothing but the sea, the sky, the sea lions and the birds.  If it is a really clear day, you can see all the way out to the King Range and the tip of Cape Mendocino, at the farthest west point of the Lost Coast.  A best-kept local secret are the margaritas at the Purple Rose restaurant in Cleone; a perfect way to finish another great weekend in Fort Bragg!

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Coastal Trail and Glass Beach Open

Posted on: February 4, 2015 at 10:43 am by Julia Conway No Comments
Noyo Headlands Trail

Coastal Trail now open


The City of Fort Bragg celebrated the soft opening of the Noyo Headlands Park and the Coastal Trail (Phase 1), reopening access to Glass Beach after several months of limited use.  The new trail is accessible from the parking area at the end of Elm Street, and is available for walking, skating, biking and on-leash pets.


New trail

The new trail just prior to the opening


While the areas immediately adjacent to the new trail are still restricted, you can walk all the way from the Pudding Creek trestle to Otsuchi Point, overlooking Soldier Bay.  Habitat restoration is still being completed on the sensitive bluff tops, so visitors should remain on the paved sections of the trail until otherwise indicated.


Glass Beach

Additional Glass Beach coves


The trail also provides access to the northernmost coves of the Glass Beach complex, previously only accessible via kayak or at very low tides.  Visitors are cautioned to remain on the trail, and to navigate the beach steps carefully, as the recent construction has not had adequate time to settle.  Additional safety features, such as handrails, will be installed as the build-out of trail amenities continues.


Mill story

Interpretive panels tell the story of the mill


Visitors can also enjoy the new interpretive panels that tell the history of the mill site and of Fort Bragg’s logging past.  The mill site owners still retain a large portion of the land east of the trail, which is undergoing environmental remediation required prior to sale or development.  Please do not trespass or enter fenced-in areas.

For a video tour of the new Coastal Trail (thanks to Mendocino TV), click HERE.

Plans continue for Phase II of the project, which will link Phase I with the Pomo Bluffs access and park at the south end of Fort Bragg.  For more information, check the progress on the City website HERE.

Photos courtesy of KOZT-The Coast and the City of Fort Bragg.

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All the crab you can eat and more!

Posted on: January 27, 2015 at 2:50 pm by Julia Conway

Stirring the cioppino


This weekend, the annual fundraiser for the Mendocino Coast Clinics was a smashing (or is that cracking?) success!  All three seatings for the Cioppino Feed at the Portuguese Hall were sold out, as was the grand tasting under the big white tent.  Twelve chefs and numerous wineries, breweries, and artisan food producers lined the walls sharing the bounty of Mendocino County.  A special guest at the event was celebrity judge Liam Mayclem, acclaimed host of food and travel shows on San Francisco’s KPIX-5 (CBS) and the Travel Channel (World Access airs in February of 2015).  In addition to his judging duties, he photographed, tweeted and posted on Facebook about his travels in Fort Bragg.


Crab judges

The judges, aka the Merry Pranksters


During his visit, he enjoyed breakfast at Eggheads, and happily documented the scenery, the Wizard of Oz themed cartoon collection and the whimsical menu.





And visited local attractions such as Glass Beach and the recently opened Coastal Trail.


Glass Beach

Coastal Trail and Glass Beach


Many of our Fort Bragg chefs were represented in the competition, including perennial winner Mendo Bistro, Harvest Market, the North Coast Brewery and Taproom, Karina’s Catering and Assaggiare Mendocino.


Mendo Bistro

Mendo Bistro’s award-winning crab cakes


A great time was had by all, visitors, participants and judges alike, raising much needed funds for our community health clinic.  If you missed the fun, make sure you mark your calendars for next year’s celebration of Dungeness Crab, the third Saturday in January 2016.



Happy judges


Photos courtesy of Liam Mayclem (Facebook), Foodie Chap,

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Ten Great Reasons to come to Fort Bragg now!

Posted on: January 3, 2015 at 12:49 pm by Julia Conway
Paul House last day 2014

The last sunset of 2014 from photographer Paul House


1.  Whales!  The annual migration of the California gray whale begins in December and peaks in the winter months.

2.  No crowds.  On a winter day  in Fort Bragg, there’s no waiting in line; not for a coffee, not for lunch, not for a parking space.

3.  Walks.  Whether it is along the ocean, in the redwoods or just down to the beach, there’s a walk for everyone.

4.  Crab!  Boats are bringing fresh Dungeness crab into Noyo Harbor daily.  You can enjoy the delectable and seasonal treat in our local restaurants, or pick up one in the harbor or at a local grocer.

5.  Waterfalls.  A short walk through Otis Johnson Park or at Russian Gulch State Park and you can visit the magic of winter in the woods.

6.  Mushrooms.  Wild mushroom season is not limited to the fall months.  Whether you forage or just hunt with a camera, there is still plenty of natures bounty to capture.  You will see oyster, yellowfoot, black trumpet, candy caps and more, just look down along the edges of our roads and trails.  Once you have the “mushroom eye” you will never look at the woods in the same way again.

7.  Deals!  Lodging rates in Fort Bragg have never been better.  Check out our listings of cozy B&B’s or family-friendly motels and hotels for winter season specials.

8.  Quiet!  Did we say this was the quiet time of year?  Other than the booming of the surf or the staccato tempo of the rain on the roof, there’s nothing to disturb the peace.  After the hustle and bustle of the holidays, there’s nothing we like more.

9.  Waves.  Did we mention the spectacular winter surf in Fort Bragg?  King tides and storm swells from the north Pacific combine to bring some of the most awe-inspiring ocean views you can imagine.  Of course, watch from a safe distance and never turn your back on the ocean.  For a sample, click on this link

10.  Sunsets!  Winter is sunset season on the Mendocino Coast, and Fort Bragg is no exception.  Night after night of ever-changing rainbows.  See if you can spot the elusive “green flash” or better yet, catch it with your camera.  Visit our Facebook page at to see the collection of sunset photos from our local photographers and fans.

Tell about your favorite things to do in Fort Bragg in the winter season!

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Hometown New Year’s in Fort Bragg

Posted on: December 20, 2014 at 12:15 pm by Julia Conway
The 47-acre gardens walk ends at the ocean.

The 47-acre gardens walk ends at the ocean.


Are you tired of all the holiday hustle and bustle?  Do you need a break, some down time, some peace and quiet?  Come to beautiful Fort Bragg, on the Mendocino coast and celebrate the New Year small town style!  Check into one of our cozy and romantic B&B’s or book a comfortable room at one of our coast-side motels and hotels.  Many feature special packages and amenities for your celebration.  Thinking about champagne in the hot tub overlooking the winter waves? Fort Bragg is the place for you.

Book a table at one of favorite local restaurants and enjoy an intimate dinner without the holiday hassle.  Locally caught Dungeness crab is on the menu, and tastes great with a bottle of Mendocino County sparkling wine.  Don’t want to dress up; no problem, as most of our restaurants have a casual dress code.  Or, you can pick up a freshly cracked and cleaned crab in Noyo Harbor, choose a great bottle of wine and a loaf of Fort Bragg Bakery bread at a local grocer, and enjoy an indoor picnic in your room or vacation rental.

Looking for a night on the town, then pick up tickets for the Gloriana Musical Theatre’s Black and White Ball.  Tickets are still available at their website for this festive evening at the Fort Bragg Eagles Hall.  Doors open at 8:00P, live music begins at 9:00P.  Advance tickets are $30 per person or $50 per couple, $35 and $60 at the door and include appetizers, a midnight champagne toast and the necessary hats, crowns and noismakers to ring in the new year in style.  No host bar and a silent auction round out the evening, with dancing to live music from The Mixed Nuts.  Dress to impress or just check out the scene.  Must be 21 years of age to attend.

On New Year’s Day, start 2015 with a First Day guided nature hike at MacKerricher State Park.  Meet at the park visitor center at 11:00AM and park interpreter Fred Andrews will be your guide for an educational walk that includes the annual gray whale migration and other fascinating wildlife found near our shores.  Binoculars are available and the hike is also wheelchair accessible.   Young children are also welcome, dogs must be on a leash.  For more information, you can call 707-961-0471.

The C. V. Starr Community Center will have an admission-free open day on New Year’s Day, from 12:00 noon to 5:00P.  Take a swim the beautiful indoor pool or catch a workout or class (class fees will apply).

The Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens will also be open for walks.  Winter hours are 9:00A – 4:00P, and the heaths and heathers are starting to bloom.  You can also view the large and varied bloom of wild mushrooms in the Gardens’ many habitats, or just walk out to the cliff house and watch the booming surf below.

Wild or mild, Fort Bragg has something for everyone, and is a year-round destination that’s just a short drive from the Central Valley, Sacramento or the San Francisco Bay area.  Start your New Year off right, in Fort Bragg.

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Do the holidays make you crabby?

Posted on: December 16, 2014 at 7:00 pm by Julia Conway


Crab cake biggest winner

Nicholas Petti of Mendo Bistro, legacy winner of the Crab Cake Cook Off


The Christmas holidays in Fort Bragg means one thing…’s Dungeness crab season!  Starting in the end of November, and peaking in January and February, these tasty crustaceans find their way from the chilly Pacific into our grocery stores, restaurants and onto your table.  In celebration of the Dungeness crab, the Mendocino Coast Clinics bring you the ultimate crab extravaganza.

Mark your calendars for the weekend of January 23rd and 24th, when crabbiness rules in historic downtown Fort Bragg.  Looking for a great getaway after the holidays?  This is the weekend for you!  Fort Bragg opens its doors to the world for the Mendocino Crab, Wine and Beer Days and the centerpiece of the festival occurs in the big white tent behind the Portuguese Hall.

Friday night brings the cioppino dinner; three seatings at 4:30P, 6:00P and 8:00P.  Just $35 per person for adults, $15 per person for children 6-12 and those under 6 get in free.  The cioppino is served family style with Cafe Beaujolais bread, salad and dessert and finished off with Thanksgiving Coffee, roasted in Noyo Harbor.  Treat yourself to Mendocino county wines and brews from North Coast Brewing Company in the Crabby Bar.  Enjoy the silent auction and raffle and win some great prizes.  All proceeds benefit the Mendocino Coast Clinics.

And if that were not enough, Saturday brings the annual Crab Cake Cook-off, from 12:00N to 3:00P!  Taste delectable Dungeness crab cakes prepared by the area’s best chefs, and accompanied by Mendocino county’s best wines and brews.  Vote for your favorite chef, winemaker or brewmaster and see if you and the professional judges agree.  $85 per person for general admission and $125 per person to become a member of the exclusive Circle of Claws, with reserved seating and special limited admission.  The crab for this event is donated by Caito Fisheries, a cornerstone of Fort Bragg’s Noyo harbor.  As with Friday, all proceeds benefit the Mendocino Coast Clinics, bringing healthcare, well care, dental care and mental health services to Fort Bragg and beyond.  Check out the fabulous items in the live and silent auctions and sample ware from Mendocino county’s best food artisans.

For more information and online ticket sales, click HERE, or call the Mendocino Coast Clinics at 707-961-3463.  Book a room at one of Fort Bragg’s numerous lodging establishments, from romantic bed and breakfast inns to family friendly motels.  Why wait?  Come see Fort Bragg and the Mendocino coast at its most spectacular!  Big waves, colorful sunsets and fabulous food and libations.  Local or visitor, order your tickets today.

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How many Fort Bragg folks does it take to trim a Christmas tree?

Posted on: December 13, 2014 at 2:41 pm by Julia Conway


The moon is the star

The full moon is the star atop the tree, photo courtesy of Joe Seta


As part of our Hometown Holiday Celebration in historic downtown Fort Bragg, a very tall Christmas tree is placed on the lawn of the Guest House museum and trimmed out for the holidays.  Not sure how it is done in your neck of the woods, but in Fort Bragg, if you want to cut a tree down, first you need to call a logger.  Fort Bragg’s tree is usually chosen and cut by our friends at Campbell Global, a regional timber management company that maintains much of the forest lands surrounding town, including the Jackson Demonstration State Forest.  Certified foresters go out and locate the perfect specimen, then bring in a crew of fellers to cut the tree and transport it downtown to the Guest House.

After the tree is delivered, City of Fort Bragg public works teams arrive to set and decorate the tree.  Of course, to place such a tall tree on the sloping lawn of the Guest House, you need more than a regular tree stand from the hardware store.  In fact, you need a hole that is close to the diameter of the tree trunk, and deep enough to anchor the tree in our blustery weather.  Who do you call when you want that kind of hole?  We call PG&E, who has a truck with a drill designed for setting telephone poles in the ground.  The PG&E crew assisted with digging the hole, and then the fun begins.

Drilling the hole

Drilling the hole, photo courtesy of Crystal Prairie

After removing the drill bit from their boom truck, the crew, assisted by the City crew, attached a cable to the hoist, as well as to the trunk of the tree.  The tree is then lifted high in the air, the boom swung around, and then carefully aligned with the hole.  With the crew on the ground guiding it, the trunk of the tree is slowly lowered into the hole.  Everyone circles around to ensure that the tree is straight and true, and dirt is packed in around the trunk to hold the tree in place.  Of course, with no root system, the first puff of wind would blow the tree over, so the next step is to attach guy wires all the way around the tree to prevent it from falling or leaning.

Lifting the tree

Lifting the tree, photo courtesy of Crystal Prairie


Righting the tree

Righting the tree, photo courtesy of Crystal Prairie


Setting the tree

Setting the tree, photo courtesy of Crystal Prairie


The cable is then detached from the tree, and it is ready for the City crew to decorate.  Still using the boom truck, lights are strung around and over the tree, and wired into a locked switch box.  The last step in the process is to hang the over sized ornaments on the tree limbs.  This part of the decorating is usually accomplished several days, even up to a week before the official tree lighting ceremony.

The tree is up

The tree is up, photo courtesy of Crystal Prairie


The tree is anchored

The tree is anchored, photo courtesy of Crystal Prairie

On that all important Saturday night, the candy cane lights are strung along the sidewalks to the Guest House museum, and the very special chair is set up inside in anticipation of Santa’s arrival.  As the sun sets, Christmas carolers serenade the gathering crowd, as children line up for their turn with Santa.

Since this is a big event in Fort Bragg, our friends at the Coast (KOZT FM radio) are running the sound system and broadcasting live from the tree.  At just the right moment, the Mayor arrives to light the tree. After thanking all of the people who made the event possible, he flips the switch while the crowds of children cheer.  Caroling continues in the light of the tree, Santa wraps up his visit, and it is time for the Holiday Lights Parade to begin.

The tree is lit

The tree is lit, photo courtesy of Joe Seta

As you can see, it truly takes a village to decorate for and to celebrate Christmas in Fort Bragg.  Thanks to everyone who makes this wonderful event possible!

Decorating downtown, and especially the tree; Tom Mitchell and the City of Fort Bragg Public Works crew, Campbell Global
Sound/media and tireless community  involvement; Tom Yates, Vicky Watts, and the entire team at KOZT FM The Coast
Santa Claus, invited and sponsored by the Fort Bragg Historical Society
Parade organization and promotion; Fort Bragg Fire Department and the North Coast Rodders
Parade staging; Steve Wells
Parade trophies; Danny Figueiredo
Parade Judges; Ben Nicholson and Scott Vorhees
Traffic control; Fort Bragg Police Department, Fort Bragg Fire Department and service club volunteers
Event promotion and coordination; The Fort Bragg Promotion Committee and the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce

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Hometown Holiday Celebration Continues

Posted on: December 8, 2014 at 10:26 am by Julia Conway
Festival of Lights

Holiday lights at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens

Our Hometown Holiday celebrations may peak with the visit from Santa Claus, the Tree Lighting and the Holiday Lights Parade, but the festivities go on throughout the month of December!  Trade your big city malls for the small town warmth of our historic downtown and experience Christmas coastal style.

Starting on the 11th, the Skunk Train’s special Christmas Train departs the Fort Bragg station at 3:15PM for a 90-minute round-trip ride through the redwoods with Santa Claus!  A wonderful trip for children of all ages; click HERE to purchase tickets now, before they are all sold out!  This excursion is spectacular on a rainy winter day, and the forests have never been more beautiful.

Speaking of trains, the Mendocino Model Railway and Historical Society has a special Thomas the Tank Engine exhibit at their Model Railroad Layout in Fort Bragg.  Tickets are available at the Skunk Train depot, or click HERE for more information.  The exhibit is open every day the Skunk Train runs, from 1:00P to 3:30P through Christmas in the train barn at the Skunk depot.  Admission is free with a Skunk Train ticket, $5 for adults and $3 for children if you are not riding the train.  For a virtual tour of the barn and layout, click HERE.

This Saturday the 13th of December, gather in one of the many wharf-side restaurants in Noyo Harbor for the annual Lighted Boat Parade, sponsored by the Traditional Small Craft Association of Noyo Harbor.  Participating boats will gather at the US Coast Guard station at 5:30P and the parade is slated to begin at 6:00P, weather permitting.  The forecast for Friday looks good, so take the opportunity to share in another special tradition in our working harbor.  If you saw the boats in last weekend’s Holiday Lights parade, you will love them even more on the water. Dungeness crab is coming in by the bushel, so enjoy some while you watch the parade from the cozy warmth of one of the restaurants facing the harbor.

Ongoing through December 14th, rain or shine, is the Festival of Lights at the Mendocino Coast Botanical Gardens!  Wander through the Gardens and view the beautiful bloom of holiday lights.  Special suppers will be available for purchase from David’s Deli, so this is a great outing for the whole family (please leave your pets at home, however).  More information and specific can be found HERE on their website.


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