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Featured Image: The Ocean Institute’s 38th annual Maritime Festival is set to return to Dana Point’s shores from Sept. 9-11, when attendees can explore some visiting tall ships, cannon battles, live music and more entertainment. Photo: Chelsie Rex

By Breeana Greenberg

The Ocean Institute’s Maritime Festival that highlights California’s rich maritime history will return to Dana Point this September.

The 38th annual Maritime Festival will feature visiting tall ships, cannon battles, live music and more from Sept. 9-11. Proceeds from the festival will support the Ocean Institute’s educational programs.

“We are ecstatic that we could bring back Maritime Festival and be able to offer festivities for all,” Ocean Institute CEO and President Dr. Wendy Marshall said in a recent media release. “Of course, having a good time throughout the weekend is paramount. But knowing that your attendance and support benefit others makes the weekend even sweeter.”

The festival will embark with the Sails N’ Ales event from 6-9 p.m. on Sept. 9, with craft beer tasting from eight local brewers and live music by rock band The Trip. Adult tickets include an exclusive tasting cup and unlimited beer and mead tastings.

On Saturday, Sept. 10 from 6-10 p.m., the Ocean Institute will host its inaugural Pirate and Mermaid Ball. The event will feature specialty drinks, appetizers, music and games. The event is restricted to those 21 years of age and older. Food and drinks are included in the ticket price. Attendees are encouraged to come dressed as a mermaid or pirate. 

From 9-10:30 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, visitors will have the opportunity to enjoy breakfast with mermaids. Following breakfast, Mermaids from Sheroes Entertainment will provide an interactive swim show and story time. Festival admission is included with Mermaid Breakfast tickets.

Mermaids will also provide half-hour, interactive swim shows at 11 a.m., noon, 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. Tickets to the Mermaid Swim Show will include general admission to the festival.

Cap’n Jack’s School for Lil’ Scallywags will be back in session from 2-2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday with pirate lessons for kids aged 8-12 years old.

Visiting tall ships Bill of Rights, Irving Johnson and Exy Johnson will be docked at the Ocean Institute and will participate in cannon battles from 4-8 p.m. on all three days of the festival. Visitors will have the chance to step aboard the historic tall ships and set sail off the coast of Dana Point.

Tickets to board the tall ships or R/V Sea Explorer Escort Cruise include general admission to the festival.

Throughout the weekend, visitors can shop at local vendor booths at the Peddler’s Village and enjoy food from a variety of local food trucks, open until 5 p.m. In the Peddler’s Village, visitors can also learn from the Ocean Institute’s historic reenactors including blacksmiths and pirates, as well as enjoy beer and live music from Los Rios Rock School.

More information on the festival, such as an event schedule and ticketing, can be found at

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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