Mendocino Whale Festival

Mendocino Whale Festival

March 4 & 5, 2017

Mendocino, Calif. –—Enjoy Wine, Chowder and Craft Beer Tasting while exploring the beautiful village of Mendocino where there are plenty of whales to view from the surrounding Mendocino Headlands State Park. Taste some of Mendocino County's finest varietals in shops and galleries throughout Mendocino village. A complimentary trolley will be provided for your convenience. Tickets can be bought online for the chowder, wine, and beer tasting at Brown Paper Tickets.  Wine Tasting Map.

Events Include:

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

Chowder Tasting which features delicious chowders. You can try them all! 
When: Saturday, March 4th from 11:00am - 1:00pm or until the chowder runs out.
Where: Crown Hall, Mendocino, 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 Craft Brews from North Coast Brewing Company are only $5 and include a FREE 3 oz. pour of North Coast Brewing Company's new North Coast Steller IPA!

Proceeds from Stellar provide support for marine mammal research and rescue.

When: Saturday, March 4th from 11:00am - 1:00pm.
Where: Crown Hall, Mendocino, 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: Over a dozen wineries From Mendocino County come together to pour wine for tasters in Mendocino Village.

When: Saturday, March 4th from 1:00pm-4:00pm
Where: Ford House Museum, 45035 Main St, Mendocino, CA 95460  

Tickets are $35 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 $40; tickets will be available at the Ford House where you will also be able to pick up your Mendo Whale wine glass/es. 
Remember to bring your ID!

Other Whale Festival Activities

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.

Point cabrillo whale puzzlePoint Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park Hosts Whale Festival March 4th, 5th, 18th and 19th, 2017. 

For one of the best spotsfor whale watching along the Mendocino Coast travel to Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park. The Lighthouse was built on a point of land extending westward into the Pacific Ocean to enable the light to be most visible to ships passing by. This extension makes Point Cabrillo a brilliant location from which to watch the migration of the Gray Whales between the lagoons of Baja Mexico and their summer feeding grounds in the Arctic Ocean. 

Fun for all ages will happen March 4 and 5, and March 18 and 19, 2017, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day. Docents will be on hand with binoculars to help visitors find the whales swimming past. The curious may discover tidepool organisms without getting their feet wet by visiting the 250 gallon salt water aquarium at the Marine Science Education exhibit in the restored Blacksmith shop. Displays and trained docents at the Lighthouse and First Assistant Lightkeeper’s House will help illuminate what life was like for people living on or visiting the Point.  

On this special occasion, PCLK volunteers and members of The Coast Guard Auxiliary will offer tours of the tower including the beautifully restored 3rd Order Fresnel lens for a donation of $5 per person. Children must be 42 inches tall to participate.

Come try your talent at assembling a life-size gray whale jigsaw puzzle. Discover how marine mammal rescue volunteers help stranded seal and sea lions along the coast. Explore local birds with The Mendocino Coast Audubon Society by joining their beginning bird identification walks starting at 9am from the upper parking lot at Point Cabrillo Light Station SHP each day of Whale Festival.

Weather permitting, Docents will lead walks to nearby Frolic Cove and relate the story of the Boston Owned 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 Lighthouse Gift Shop is the perfect place to find original artwork, fascinating books, and unique gifts. 


Every spring, Gray Whales journey with their newborn calves from the protected lagoons of western Baja totheir feeding grounds in the waters of the Bering, Chukchi and Arctic Seas. The whales migrating past Point Cabrillo belong to the Eastern Pacific Gray Whale population of roughly 20,000 to 25,000 individuals. These figures represent a strong recovery of the population since attempts to ban hunting of the Grays were initiated by international treaty in 1937. Most members of the Eastern Pacific Gray whales pass by Point Cabrillo twice; once on their southward journey from November to March, and with some returning north as early as February and others traveling through May. Newly pregnant females lead the northward migration, followed by males, and the last to leave Baja are usually females with new-born calves. 


The Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park is two miles north of Mendocino and six miles south of Fort Bragg. Take the Point Cabrillo Drive exit from Hwy 1 and follow the signs. Festival activities are an easy half-mile walk from the parking area.  Handicapped parking is available. A $5 per vehicle donation will be requested to support the PCLK’s educational programs.  Bring warm, windproof clothing. We have binoculars to share. The Point Cabrillo Light Station State Historic Park is a unit of the California Department of Parks and Recreation. The Light Station is managed by the Point Cabrillo Lightkeepers Association under a concession contract with State Parks.

For additional information, please visit, or call the Mendocino Coast Chamber of Commerce at 707 961-6300. 


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 .

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.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          

Whale skeletonMacKerricher State Park, Located three miles North of Fort Bragg on Highway 1, is an ideal location for watching the gray whale migration.  The park has a wheelchair accessible boardwalk allowing access to the headlands of Laguna Point with stunning views of the coastline.

The 2017 Whale Festival is a ‘must attend’ event on March 17th, 18th and 19th.  Events and admission to the park are free and all ages are welcome.  Events are listed below.  For additional information or questions contact (707)961-0471 or visit

Friday, March 17th, 7:00 p.m.  Lecture to take place in the Veterans’ Memorial Building located at 360 North Harrison St., in Fort Bragg.  Join State Parks for an exciting lecture given by a guest speaker about the whales of the Pacific.  Refreshments, interactive activities and a raffle to take place at the time of the lecture.  Event to take place rain or shine.

Saturday, March 18th, beginning at 11 a.m.
Whale Walk at MacKerricher State Park
Docents and State Parks’ staff lead informative guided whale walks.  The program will start at the Visitor Center and whale skeleton for discussion before driving to Laguna Point for whale watching.  Binoculars are available.  Event to take place rain or shine.  Dress appropriately.

Saturday, March 18th: 1 to 3 p.m.
Family event includes artrs and crafts, games and educational activities.
Learn all about the whales of the Pacific in this interactive learning event.  Visit our education stations to collect information so you can build your very own badge of whale knowledge.  Play games, make art, listen to music and enjoy a free hot dog lunch (donations accepted).  Event to take place rain or shine.  Dress appropriately.

Sunday, March 19th, 1 to 3 p.m.  Help preserve our whale skeleton.

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