Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

The 48th Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales has announced more details about the musical events this year. One of Southern California’s largest and longest-running celebrations of the California gray whales’ West Coast migration kicks off in March with activities that educate the public on whales through entertainment and fun.

A new attraction will be added in the form of an opera. On March 9 at 6 p.m., the Ocean Institute will host Whale Songs & Other Tails from the Opera: A Musical Event with Lyric Opera of Orange County. According to a festival press release, the performance is being hailed as an elegant evening of eclectic opera, featuring whale song, cat calls, bird trills and other operatic animal music, plus refreshments. Ticket sales for this event will begin in January.

The free grand finale Concert on the Water will be held at Baby Beach on March 10 from noon to 5 p.m. It will feature three bands atop a floating stage. The audience can enjoy the music on the sand, in the water or while stand-up paddling or kayaking. A barbecue and spirits garden will be open all day as well. The concert lineup includes Neon Nation, Keston & The Rhythm Killers and DSB – The Next Best Thing to Journey.

The gray whales travel along the West Coast on their annual 10,000-mile, round-trip migration between warm-water breeding and calving lagoons in Baja, Mexico and cold-water feeding grounds in Alaska. According to a press release, scientists believe the 40-ton ocean mammals pass close to the shores of Dana Point each year using the majestic cliffs of the Headlands as a navigational landmark

WHAT’S NEXT: The 48th Annual Festival of Whales will be held March 2-3 and 9-10. The festival is free, but some events require purchasing tickets. For more information, visit www.festivalofwhales.com.

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