Fort Bragg Whale Festival

March 19 & 20, 2016

FORT BRAGG, Calif. –—Enjoy Chowder and microbrew tasting while visiting our local shops and Inns, and whale watch from the new Coastal Trail in Fort Bragg, as well as from miles of beaches. Tickets can be bought online for the chowder, wine, and beer tasting at Brown Paper Tickets.

Events Include:

Enjoy a variety of chowders ranging from the traditional to the not so traditional! Our Chowder Tasting will feature a chowder contest between various local restaurants - and you can be there to taste them all and vote for your favorite! 

**Please note the venue change:  Chowder & Beer Tasting will be at Masonic Hall on Main St.

Chowder Tasting which features delicious chowders. You can try them all! 
When: Saturday, March 19th from 11:00am - 1:00pm or until the chowder runs out.
Where: Masonic Hall, 428 N Main St, Fort Bragg, CA  
Tickets for the chowder tasting are $10 and can be bought online at Brown Paper Tickets, at the Mendocino Coast Chamber office at 217 S Main Street, Fort Bragg, and at the venue. 

Beer Tasting Come enjoy North Coast Brewing Company's award winning beers!   It's no wonder that the beers made here are famous worldwide; lauded by connoisseurs. 

When: Saturday, March 19th from 11:00am - 1:00pm
Where: Masonic Hall, 428 N Main St, Fort Bragg, CA  
Tickets are $5 and can be purchased online at Brown Paper Tickets, at the Mendocino Coast Chamber office at 217 S Main Street, Fort Bragg, and at the venue.
Don't forget your ID! 

Wine Tasting highlights delicious local wines poured at various locations throughout Downtown Fort Bragg.

When: Saturday, March 19th from 1:00pm - 4:00pm. 
Tickets are $25 pre-sale and can be bought online at Brown Paper Tickets or at the Mendocino Coast Chamber office at 217 S Main Street, Fort Bragg. 
You can also purchase your ticket on the date itself for $30; tickets will be available at the Masonic Hall where you will also be able to pick up your Mendo Whale wine glass/es. 
Remember to bring your ID!

Book a whale-watching boat tour to encounter the whales up close. Boats leave from Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg. Call the Chamber for referrals at 707-961-6300.

Marine science fair

Point Cabrillo Lighthouse will have funfilled activities on Saturday and Sunday, including docent-led tours, whale watching and spectacular lens tours from 10am-4pm.

Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association (PCLK) volunteer docents will highlight Light Station history and local culture with visitor presentations at the Lighthouse and other locations in thPoint cabrillo whale puzzlee State Historic Park.  Weather permitting, there will be docent-led whale-watching tours with lots of information on these placent giants, as well as walks to nearby Frolic Cove with the story of the clipper brig Frolic, wrecked off the cove in July 1850 bound from China to San Francisco with a valuable cargo of Chinese merchandise for the Gold Rush miners and their families. The tours are family friendly.

You may also visit the 240 gallon saltwater aquarium, our Marine Science Exhibit with a view down into the ocean, or the 1st Assistant Lightkeeper’s House. This period museum shows how lightkeepers and their families lived in the 1930s.                                                                                                                                                                      

There will also be lens tours which are offered only eight days each year, giving you the exciting opportunity to visit the Lantern Room and the beautifully restored operational 3rd order Fresnel lens. Children must be at least 42 inches tall to participate.  For more information, go to                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      

32nd Annual Whale Run and Walk: Soroptimist international of Fort Bragg will be holding their 32nd Annual Whale Run and Walk on March 19 starting at 7:30am. For more information and to register visit .

20th Annual Beer Festival: Fort Bragg Rotary Club is holding their 20th Annual Beer Festival on March 19th from 12-4pm. Will be at the historic Eagles Hall ( 210 N. Corry St.). Come and enjoy the live music and BBQ.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                              

MacKerricher State Park: (located three miles north of Fort Bragg on Highway 1) MacKerricher State Park’s 2016 Whale Festival is a popular ‘Must-Attend’ event in March

Whale skeletonWhale Festival is a popular ‘Must-Attend’ event on March 18, 19 and 20 at this free, day-use park. Activities are listed below. Guided whale program are scheduled at MacKerricher every Saturday and Sunday at 11:00 a.m. through March 27. For additional information call (707) 961-0471          

An ideal location for watching migrating whales, MacKerricher provides a wheelchair accessible boardwalk, allowing an easy traverse across the headlands to a deck situated on Laguna Point near the whale route. Docents will present public whale talks on the dates below, and will provide binoculars and a spotting scope to help visitors study whales and other fascinating marine and bird wildlife near MacKerricher’s shores.  A rare, reconstructed Gray Whale Skeleton is on permanent display near the visitor center and entry kiosk. The skeleton is a composite of two whales that beached on the Mendocino Coast, two years apart. Humpback Whale bones are also on display giving a visual size perspective between the grays and humpbacks. 

Event in Fort Bragg:

Close Encounters of the Marine Mammal Kind –Join us for a slideshow presentation about marine mammals seen along the Mendocino Coast. The slideshow presentation will take place at the Fort Bragg library (499 E. Laurel Street). Call (707) 961-0471. Friday, March 18: 7 p.m.

Schedule of Events at MacKerricher State Park: 

Whale Walks –Docents present an informative overview of gray whales. The talk/walk starts at the MacKerricher Visitor Center and then proceeds to the whale skeleton before driving to Laguna Point for whale watching.  Saturday and Sunday, March 19 and 20: 11 a.m.                 

Whale Fact Scavenger Hunt and Arts and Crafts for children -At MacKerricher State Park start out at the visitor center and then go through the park to find clues. Answer questions about gray whales. Then get a prize. Saturday, march 19: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Help us paint the whale skeletons at MacKerricher State Park - The whale skeletons on display need to be painted for protection. Paint and some brushes will be provided. Bring paint brushes and wear old clothes. Rain or fog will cancel painting the whale skeleton. Sunday, March 20: 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.

Mendocino Headlands State Park: (Located in Mendocino village off HWY 1) The park will hold the following events at the Ford House Visitor Center and Museum, 45035 Main Street, Mendocino, CA open 11am to 4pm daily:

Paul Maeding, "Dolphins," stoneware

Built in 1854 for Jerome Ford, the acknowledged founder of Mendocino, the Ford House has exhibits highlighting the area’s natural and cultural history, including a scale model of Mendocino as it was in 1890. For additional information, visit the Ford House online at , on Facebook, or by calling the Ford House Visitor Center at (707) 937-5397.

Schedule of Events at the Ford House:

"Whale Tales" - Exhibit at the Ford House Visitor's Center, featuring bones from a Gray Whale, information regarding the gray whale migration, and an interactive exhibit that lets you quiz yourself on whale facts. Thought the month of March.

Knowledgeable docents will be on hand at the Ford House throughout the Whale Festival with tips on when and where to watch for whales, and to answer questions regarding gray whale natural history.  

Docent-led whale watch walks - Walks are scheduled during the Mendocino Whale Festival at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. on Saturday, March 5th, and 11 a.m. on Sunday, March 6th. A limited number of binoculars and spotting scopes are available. Meet at the Ford House.

Thanksgiving Coffee will be providing free coffee tasting -  Try some Thanksgiving Coffee at the Ford House during the Mendocino Whale Festival , Saturday only, March 5th, 12 p.m. to 4p.m. The visitor center will be opening at 9:30 a.m.  

Noyo Center for Marine Science:
March 6th: Noyo Center naturalists “whales and seabirds” walk on the Mendocino headlands.  Meet at the end of Main Street at 10am.
March 13th: Noyo Center naturalists “whales and seabirds” walk at Spring Ranch. Meet at the pullout at the end of Gordon Lane at 10am.
March 7th-11th: Blue whale and orca bones on display at the end of the south Coastal Trail in Fort Bragg.  School kid field trips until 2pm, then open to the public from 2-5pm.
March 12: Blue whale and orca bones on display for the public! End of the south Coastal Trail in Fort Bragg;  10-4pm
March 19th: 3rd Annual Science and Art Fair: Old rec Center Gym, 10-4pm
March 19th: Science Talk at Town Hall: Bottlenose Dolphins and Harbor Porpoises. 4-5:30pm
Golden Gate Cetacean Research:  Bottlenose Dolphins and Harbor Porpoises
Golden Gate Cetacean Research biologists Bill Keener and Jon Stern will present the results of their latest research on the bottlenose dolphins and harbor porpoises of Northern California. Their team has been studying both species, from shore and boat for the past 6 years. They have compiled the first photo-identification catalog for the local bottlenose dolphins, giving us a window into the lives of individual animals. They will share their observations about the dolphins continued northward range expansion that is now bringing them to the Sonoma and Mendocino coasts. They will also share the story of the unexpected return of harbor porpoises to San Francisco Bay. Learn about changes to our marine ecosystem and what this may mean for our coast. Here’s your chance to find out the difference between a dolphin and a porpoise, where to see these fascinating creatures, and what you can do to help in the study of marine mammals.  
 For more information, visit:
Whale Ad

Copyright Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce 2015

Use of any content on this site must be with prior permission from the Chamber.

Back to Top