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By Breeana Greenberg

The Dana Point Chamber of Commerce will be taking over as the new festival coordinator for the 52nd annual Festival of Whales in March 2023, the Dana Point Festival of Whales Foundation Board of Directors announced on Tuesday, July 5.

The Chamber said it will bring its years of event management experience and close ties to the local business community to its coordination efforts on the Festival of Whales this year.

“We are honored to be a part of this iconic Dana Point tradition, bringing together residents, businesses, visitors, deserving nonprofits and ocean enthusiasts in celebration of what we’re best known for—whales,” Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vickie McMurchie said in a media release.

The Chamber will replace Andrea Swayne, who will be concentrating on expanding her role as chief operating officer with USA Surfing. Swayne has served as the event coordinator since 2017.

“We are incredibly grateful to Andrea for her years of dedication and passion for the Festival of Whales,” Festival of Whales Foundation President Donna Kalez said in the media release.

“Andrea led the charge in event growth, year over year, and helped us navigate the pandemic, ensuring that we could celebrate our milestone 50th anniversary,” Kalez continued. “She will be a tremendous asset to the USA Surfing team, and we’re excited to see what the future has in store for that organization.”

The Chamber of Commerce will take over coordination for the 2023 Festival of Whales, scheduled for the weekend of March 3.

“We look forward to continuing the many traditions established by the festival’s beloved founder, Don Hansen, and creating even more lifelong memories for attendees, for many more years to come,” McMurchie said.

Breeana Greenberg

Breeana Greenberg is the city reporter for the Dana Point Times. She graduated from Chapman University with a bachelor of arts degree in English. Before joining Picket Fence Media, she worked as a freelance reporter with the Laguna Beach Independent. Breeana can be reached by email at

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