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Mammalpalooza! This Weekend's Dana Point Whale Fest Is As Big As a ...

... well, you know. The annual two-weekend celebration of all things aquatic kicks off Saturday, with a parade, food, music, and just about anything fun you can think of.

There’s so much going on over the course of the two-weekend (March 2-3 and 9-10) Dana Point Festival of Whales that the something-for-everyone cliché simply can’t be avoided.

But really, it's true. Like any respectable fest -- especially this one, which is expected to attract 100,000 people -- there'll be plenty of food, live music, and stuff to buy. But if, say, you're obsessed with vintage wheels, then you'll surely want to check out the classic car show. And the list goes on ...

Fitness freak? Give your gams a workout on the 10K run, or pump up your pecs during the group stand-up paddle around the harbor. 

Completely the opposite of anyone who could be described as a fitness freak? Then pig out until your ears bleed maple syrup at the pancake breakfast.

Into classic 19th-century literature, specifically city namesake Richard Henry Dana’s “Two Years Before the Mast?” Hit up – and possibly participate in -- the public reading of the famed flogging-filled seafaring memoir from beginning to end.

Want to get your grain on? Round up some pals and enter the sand sculpture contest.

Patient pint-sized pescatarian? Drop your kid off at the fishing clinic.

Want to work for some buried booty? Do the Diamond Dig on the beach, with treasures beneath the sand including a pair of $1,500 earrings, plus several sweet consolation prizes.

Got a craving for some wicked good chowda? Enter the clam chowder cook-off contest.

Want to see some actual whales? Hike up to Dana Point Headlands and ogle them from the cliffs.

Then there's the 42nd Festival of Whales Parade stepping off this Saturday, the centerpiece of the whole shebang, featuring floats, costumed marchers, and assorted Dana Point and Orange County mucky-mucks strolling down Coast Highway under this year's Magical Migration theme, vying for awards in such categories as Best Display of Parade Theme, Best Musical Unit, Best Youth Group, Best Group Spirit, and Best Local Entry.

What else? Art shows, walking tours of downtown Dana Point, a Polynesian music and dance exhibition (pretend you’re in Tahiti!), book signings, film screenings (“Flipper,” natch – although “Jaws” would've been pretty awesome too), a rubber ducky race … you're exhausted just reading this, aren't you?

Oh, and if you go, be sure to use the free shuttles or take advantage of the Orange County Transportation Agency and Metrolink's transportation options. Because nothing deflates a great time like a parking and traffic migraine.

For more information -- much, much more -- click up the Festival of Whales website right here.

Pamela Crouch February 28, 2013 at 08:50 PM
Also be sure to check out Ocean Awareness Day on Sunday! It's right next to the sand castles too!

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