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By Andrea Swayne

The 45th annual Dana Point Festival of Whales kicked off Saturday and Sunday, March 5 and 6, with whale watching, marching on the main drag, carnival games and cardboard carnage.

The customary opening day parade down Pacific Coast Highway on Saturday brought thousands out to watch marching bands, dignitaries in classic cars, giant balloons and more. Following the parade, eventgoers enjoyed the carnival atmosphere at La Plaza Park during the annual Street Fair and Whales and Tails Wag-a-thon while dozens of teams were furiously building boats out of cardboard and duct tape, in hopes of winning the inaugural Cardboard Classic Dinghy Dash in the Harbor at Baby Beach.

A heavy rain fell early on Sunday morning, resulting in the cancelation of a few events, such as the Rotary Club Diamond Dig (rescheduled for March 12) and Ocean Awareness Day, but for those who stuck it out, the sky cleared and the sun was shining by about 10:30 a.m. The Sand Sculpting Contest went on as planned, teams working quickly to make the most of the three-hour time limit to create prize-worthy sand creations at Baby Beach.

The two-weekend festival continues March 12 and 13 at the Harbor.

Read the official event program here, for a full lineup of events and activities.

Below is a photo slideshow from the Harbor events.

Photo Gallery


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