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2022 Press Clippings


Dana Point Celebrates 51st Festival of Whales


Dana Point Times
Logo for 2022 Festival of Whales Announced

11/18/21 Dana Point Times: Logo for 2022 Festival of Whales Announced

textBy Breeana Greenberg

The 2022 Festival Foundation Board named San Clemente resident Matt Rinehart as the logo artist for the 51st annual Festival of Whales, which will take place in Dana Point this coming March.

The board chose this year’s designer from among its favorites of past entries. Rinehart was runner-up in the 2021 Festival of Whales logo design contest.

“Matt’s logo was a favorite that lived on in our minds over the past year, and we couldn’t be happier to announce his design will be the official logo for the 51st annual Dana Point Festival of Whales,” Event Coordinator Andrea Swayne wrote in an email.

Rinehart explained to Dana Point Times that he’s lived by the ocean his entire life and had the desire to do something for his community, which, in turn, inspired his decision to submit the logo design for the yearly South Orange County festival.

“I always admired the event art from local artists in San Clemente and Dana Point and knew one day I would like to make something as well,” Rinehart wrote in an email.

Since graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in graphic design, Rinehart, a graphic designer at Starfish Signs and Graphics in San Clemente, hoped to produce a design worthy of an event.

“I am super excited to have finally made that a reality,” Rinehart wrote.

Rinehart digitally drew the logo design using Procreate on his iPad and finalized it in Adobe Illustrator.

“Before I start to draw anything, I like to write down a list of possible images to include in the logo,” Rinehart wrote. “This helps me start searching for reference images and planning the placements of each design element in the sketching phase.”

Rinehart began by sketching the whale and the “Festival of Whales” lettering. He used a cool-to-warm color gradient to represent the ocean floor and transition into the sky at sunset.

With the color gradient in mind, Rinehart said he composed “the oceanic scenery towards the bottom of the logo” and placed “sky elements such as the birds and sun toward the top of the design.”

“Once I figured out how I wanted those two elements to fit together, everything else was designed to support and not overpower them,” he said in the email. “When all the desired images were visually balanced, I felt the design was complete.”

Rinehart said he is excited to attend the Festival of Whales for the first time.

“I have been whale watching in Dana Point several times in my life, but I have never experienced the annual Festival of Whales,” Rinehart wrote in the email. “This upcoming Festival will be my first time attending, and I look forward to participating this year.”

The 51st annual Festival of Whales is scheduled for March 4-6, 2022.


a person talking on a cell phoneDana Point Times
Dana Hills Art Students Capture Inspiration for Festival of Whales Art Project

Featured Image: Dana Hills High senior Jack Martin zeroes in on a whale spotted portside during the school’s whale watching excursion on Thursday morning, Jan. 20. Photo: C. Jayden Smith

By C. Jayden Smith

On Thursday morning, Jan. 20, the latest group of Dana Hills High art students boarded the Dana Pride and set sail from Dana Point Harbor, hoping to see some whales and gather inspiration.

The students, from art classes such as photography and drawing and painting, took the first major step before submitting their individual works for the upcoming Dana Hills High School Young Artists Show and Sale that the Festival of Whales will host this March.

Natalie Hribar-Kelly, digital photography teacher and chair for the Visual and Performing Arts Department, has been part of the annual event and field trip for more than 10 years, but she said this year’s activity has stood out from the rest.

In previous years, she enjoyed seeing the students get outside, as well as the Dana Point community including them in the festival tradition.

“This year, I think it’s different because the kids have been so stressed-out over the last couple of years,” she said. “We’ve had such weird instruction with mask-wearing, online learning, and hyper-learning last year that I think it’s just exciting to have some normalcy.”

The tour provides a new experience for a majority of the teens who had never been on a boat, nor seen a whale.

Throughout her years leading students through the art show process, Kelly said that watching the students get excited and letting their guard down is always satisfying, particularly on field trips that allow them to be creative away from the school campus.

“I like that component to it, where it’s like, ‘Hey, you have an hour and a half to two hours to take pictures, and you’ve got a really fantastic subject to take pictures of, so do it,’ ” she said. “I think they get better (with) the cameras, because they have this time to ask me questions.”

Mattea Chung, a senior in Kelly’s photography class, enjoyed being on the Dana Pride and the opportunity to take photos from numerous locations on the ship.

“I was excited for it, because I was like, ‘Ooh, there might be whales out,’ ” Chung said of learning about the tour. “I wasn’t sure, though, because I knew the water would be calm. But (the trip) inspired me, because it’s a fun experience, so I can expand my knowledge of photography and the ocean.”

She was able to use her photo-taking strengths to her advantage, as she described being more comfortable focusing on one subject at a time.

Another student who was using all areas of the boat to try to photograph the sea life was Jake Bachrach, a freshman who was well-adjusted to being on the water.

Due to the long periods between when the whales would breach, he, like other students, found the task of capturing the whales to be difficult.

“Maybe I could get the prize that the teacher was promising to give us (for) whoever got the best picture,” Bachrach said of his goal to take lots of photos of the whales. “It would be a good accomplishment.”

Donna Kalez, chief operating officer of Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching, which donates the annual boat trip to the school, said it’s always important to hold the tour and kick off the festival proceedings.

“It’s just something we’ve always done, to take them out to get them excited about the Festival of Whales and try to get the community ready,” Kalez said.

The hope is that all the students were inspired in some way by the tour, as they officially begin their preparations for the show.

The Art Show and Sale is scheduled for March 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Harbor Walkway. Visit for more information.


Green Local News
DP Harbor Celebrates Whale Watching Season

Posted on February 16th, 2022

Known for the best year-round whale watching experiences, Dana Point Harbor is gearing up to celebrate whale watching season with the 51st Annual Dana Point Festival of Whales, March 5-6. The Festival pays tribute to the annual migration of California gray whales past Dana Point. The abundance of whales in these local waters has named Dana Point the “Dolphin & Whale Watching Capital of the World®.”

The celebratory weekend will kick off with the Welcoming of the Whales Ceremony at the Ocean Institute on March 4 featuring music, food trucks, refreshments, and educational activities. The iconic Festival of Whales Parade will begin at 10 a.m. on March 5 and will travel from the island across the bridge and into the village of Dana Point Harbor. The weekend will be filled with events including whale watching excursions, a Whales, Tails, and Ales street fair, the Dana Point Fine Arts Association Show, a concert on the water at Baby Beach and more. This year’s Festival is dedicated in memory of Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching founder, Don Hansen (1934-2022).

New this year, Dana Point Harbor Partners commissioned artists Joel Dean Stockdill and Yustina Salnikova to construct Fluke: A Tale of Plastic, a life-sized depiction of an adult gray whale tail, in the act of ‘fluking,’ or raising its fluke vertically above the surface in order to propel itself to the depths. The sculpture will be constructed starting March 5 and will remain on display throughout the Festival, located on the grass area at the entrance to the Harbor. The sculpture further highlights Dana Point Harbor Partners’ partnership with Stand Up to Trash. Single-use water bottles and trash collected by Stand Up to Trash volunteers will be utilized by the artists to create this piece, along with reclaimed steel and damaged curbside trash bins.

“It is a pleasure to showcase artists who are using post-consumer materials to create art,” said Bryon Ward of Dana Point Harbor Partners and President of Burnham Ward Properties. “Our community highly values the arts and environmentalism for our ocean and beaches. This installation highlights our practice of sustainable development as we revitalize the Harbor in the coming years.”

Experience the height of whale watching season and enjoy Dana Point Harbor’s abundant and diverse marine life year-round. For more information and to view the full list of events visit and

a group of people in a harborDana Point Harbor invites you to enjoy fun, sun, ocean activities, delicious dining, shopping and more. From migratory gray whales that frequent the coastline to stunning sunsets and harbor views, there’s seaside beauty and unforgettable adventure at Dana Point Harbor. For more information visit or connect with us via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter.

Dana Point Harbor Partners, LLC (DPHP), a collaboration created to operate and redevelop Dana Point Harbor in a P-3 partnership with the County of Orange, is made up of three “best in class” real estate development firms, each specializing in a unique product type. Burnham Ward Properties is responsible for stewarding the harbor’s Commercial Core activities featuring the retail, restaurants, offices and other landside buildings, as well as all parkscape areas. Bellwether Financial Group guides the marina operations including the boat slips, boater facilities, dry boat storage, day-boat parking and launch ramp areas. R.D. Olson Development leads the hotel redevelopment and hospitality components of the harbor.

The partnership is developing a master plan that connects the harbor’s landside and waterside to become a singular cohesive waterfront experience. United by a love of the water and dedicated to preserving Dana Point Harbor’s historical significance, the partnership is applying all areas of respective expertise to ensure every element of the harbor will be thoughtfully designed, redeveloped and managed to be reimagined into a world-class destination with historic roots and local charm.
Christine Barnes 
PR & Event Marketing Manager

Photo Credit: Dana Point Harbor Partners


NBC Los Angeles
Whales Get Their Own Parade in Dana Point

Dana Point Times
Dana Point ROCKS: Whales and Music Everywhere

By Anthony Small

As I’m sure you know by now, the 51st annual Dana Point Festival of Whales is next weekend, Saturday, March 5, and Sunday, March 6.

Alongside iconic events including the parade, whale watching, and the Clam Chowder Cookoff, there will also be Ocean Institute activities, and car and art shows, including the Wyland Foundation Kids’ Community Mural Project.

Also, and this ROCKS, there will be music everywhere!

Sunday, from noon to 5 p.m. on the floating stage at Baby Beach, the Concert on the Water and BBQ will have music by Drea Sheva, Neon Nation and Who’s Zeppelin.

The Harbor Music Series will include performances by the outstanding young musicians from COA Entertainment (Community Outreach Alliance) at the Dana Wharf Courtyard and Clock Tower Plaza on both Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m.

COA performers include Sage Escalante, Olivia Ooms, Corey Angeli, Megan Malerie, Avery Brostrom, Ava Domini, Noah Novick, Grace & London Meredith and Prestyn Smith.

For more info on COA and its “You’re Worth It” music and mental health event on March 12at the Baha’i Center in San Clemente, visit

Veteran performers Mike O’Bryan and Keith Comer will also have acoustic sets on both Saturday and Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m., at the Art in the Park (Island Way and DP Harbor Drive), the DHHS Young Artists Show & Sale (Harbor Walkway near Island Way) and near The Coffee Importers.

I’m delighted to announce that I’ll also be playing an acoustic show as part of the Harbor Music Series on Sunday, from noon to 3 p.m., near The Coffee Importers. It is an honor to participate in the festival, especially since this year it’s dedicated to local legend, original harbor tenant and Festival of Whales founder Don Hansen (1934-2022).

Joining me will be Matt Samia of Mojave Ghost, who is also producing my new album, Something to Say. Be sure to follow the Festival and follow me on Instagram @festivalofwhales and @anthonysmallmusic, respectively.

(full story at