Whale of a festival on behalf of endangered Right Whales

Right Whale Festival poster
Official poster for 2017 Right Whale Festival

There’s a whale of a festival scheduled for Sunday at Jacksonville Beach, and it’s dedicated to protecting the endangered North Atlantic Right Whale.

I first learned about these majestic creatures from the regional publisher who brought out two of my books. He also published a book about these whales, and he was very dedicated to their cause.

When we say this whale is endangered, what does that mean in terms of numbers? 

According to Sea to Shore Alliance, some estimates assert there are only about 360 North Atlantic Right Whales on the planet. Here’s a bit of info from that organization’s website:

“Right whales spend much of their year migrating between feeding grounds in the North Atlantic, from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia,  and the warm, coastal waters of South Carolina, Georgia, and northeast Florida where they give birth and nurse their young.  The whales begin to arrive in these waters around the end of November and when spring arrives in March and April, the whales will once again make the long journey back to northern waters, often with a new calf in tow.”

The Alliance attributes declining numbers to factors like “accidental ship strikes and entanglement in fishing gear.”

This is a festival I really appreciate because it’s about hands-on conservation.

I’ve gone for the past couple years with family and friends, and we’ve had a great time.

Some tips for those who plan to head over to the beach on Sunday.

For dog lovers, yes, many people do bring their pups to the festival. You have to have them leashed. And having observed pups at the festival, I’d remind you to be sure to bring them some water. The temps look like they’ll be perfect for a day by the shore, but to animals whose bodies are lower to the ground, it will feel hotter. So, water, please.

If you plan to do Christmas shopping, be sure to check out the vendors. This festival always has really neat items, from clothing to handbags and candles and glasses and, well, you get the idea. There’s something for everyone. Prices are budget friendly, and, you may be able to find a perfect gift for that special someone at a reasonable price.

For first time guests, be aware you can bring a lawn chair or blanket for the area in front of the stage.

We’ve been very lucky on parking, but we’ve always gotten there early because we usually help the Daysies unload their gear. There is ample parking, but you may have to do some walking depending on what time you come. So wear comfy shoes.

Each year the festival features a great lineup of musicians in different genres.

 The Crazy Daysies will be back again this year, doing a mix of covers and originals. The girls cover all manner of songs, from pop to Americana to country, although their originals are Americana. They will have Chris Sands doing percussion with them.

The Kalani Rose Band will play that day. I’ve heard Kalani’s lovely voice when she’s done her solo shows, so I know her band will deliver the same quality music. She does all sorts of tunes too, both originals and covers—you never know what to expect because like the Daysies, she just loves music of all kinds.

George Aspinall Music will also be there. I haven’t heard this band, but their web page describes their performance as a “wide variety of music, from Buffet to blues, country to rock, 70’s to 90’s, with audience and comedic interaction.”

Chillula will be featured. This is another band new to me, but their Facebook page says Chillula is a: “6 piece band based in St. Augustine, FL that blends the styles of R&B, Funk, Hip- Hop, Soul, Rock, & Jazz into a sound that everyone can groove to and is sure to fill the dance floor by the end of the night.”

A great music lineup, a worthy conservation cause, deals on unique products from vendors, and what promises to be great weather for a day at the shore. What’s not to like?

The 9th Annual Right Whale Festival runs Sunday, October 29, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Seawalk Pavilion in Jacksonville Beach (FL).

Instead of lounging on the couch, head out to the beach for some fun in the sun and show your support for these incredible wild creatures who rely on us for protection and survival. Be sure to visit exhibits with info about natural history and other conservation causes as well. This festival is a great way to spend an afternoon with family and friends.

(Kay B. Day/Oct. 26, 2017)

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