The Pacific Rim Whale Festival, now in its 26th year, marks the opening of the region's whale watching season. During this time, more than 20,000 grey whales migrate 13,000 km from the waters of Mexico's Baja Peninsula to the Bering Sea. The nine-day festival, the largest whale celebration in the world, runs March 17-25, 2012.
The communities of Tofino and Ucluelet, along with Pacific Rim National Park Reserve, are located on the west coast of Vancouver Island and will be the site of educational, culinary and cultural arts events. Here are some of the festival highlights, with advance tickets available at Pacific Rim Whale Festival (unless indicated otherwise):
Thursday, March 15 - The Wickanninish Inn Gala Dinner & Silent Auction - Tofino: Chef Nick Nutting and his culinary staff will create magic in the kitchen, for a wine-paired meal and an evening that includes a silent auction. Tickets are $110 per person, availalbe at http://www.wickinn.com.
Sunday, March 18 - Chowder Chowdown - Ucluelet Community Centre: Area chefs compete for awards while attendees and local celebrity judges sample, compre and vote for their favorite chowder creations. Live music by the Jocelyn Pettit Band. Tickets $10 adults/ $5 children /$25 family rate.
Monday, March 19 - Sweet Indulgence Dessert Affair - Ucluelet Community Centre: This is an evening of decadence, with an all-you-can-eat event featuring west coast family dessert recipes. There will also be door priezes and local music by Small Town Empire. Tickets $10 adults /$5 children/ $25 family rate.
Thursday, March 22 - Black Rock Oceanfront Resort's "Barnacle Blues" - Ucluelet: This 10th annual fundraising event features music by headliner Headwater and a feature performance by Juno Award winner Jim Byrnes. Beverages and gourmet appetizers by Black Rock's chef, a raffle and live auction. Tickets $40.
Early morning in Tofino - Summer 2009
Photo by Sue Frause