October 11, 2019
NOAA Fisheries and other dedicated partners are hosting the 11th Annual Right Whale Festival in its new home at Main Beach in Fernandina Beach, Florida, Saturday, November 2-3. The free, two-day family event celebrates the endangered North Atlantic right whale’s upcoming return to northeast Florida. North Atlantic right whale calving season begins in mid-November and runs through mid-April.
The festival kicks off with a community beach clean-up on Saturday at 9 a.m., hosted by Keep Nassau Beautiful. At 10 a.m., the festival grounds open and guests will be able to meet right whale biologists, visit dozens of educational booths and vendors selling ocean-themed art and. Visitors can also play games, win prizes and enjoy a variety of food and live music provided by Brian Ernst, The Honey Badgers, Mama Blue and other local favorites. Other entertainment includes giant bubbles, a live mermaid and an endangered species puppet parade.
Additionally, Southeast U.S. Marine mammal researchers and conservation group representatives will be available during the event to answer questions and educate the public on the right whales. Endangered North Atlantic right whales migrate south, more than 1,000 miles away from their feeding grounds off Canada and New England to the warm coastal waters of South Carolina, Georgia and northeast Florida. These southern waters are the only known calving area for the species, an area where they give birth to and nurse their young. With a population of only about 400, and fewer than 95 breeding females remaining, protecting every individual whale is a priority in order to avoid extinction. Right whales cannot withstand continued losses of mature females; the species is at a critical point.
NOAA’s partners include the Amelia Island Convention and Visitors Bureau, Clearwater Marine Aquarium Research Institute, and the Amelia Island Right Whale Action Group, as well as dedicated sponsors Jaxport, Advanced Disposal, and SeaWorld. For more information and a schedule of activities, visit RightWhaleFestival.com.