40 Years of Fish Tales
April 27 & 28, 2013
The Bodega Bay community will host its 40th Annual Fisherman's Festival. The Festival is packed with events for people of all ages - craft booths, live music, good food, entertainment and more. A favorite attraction is the wine tasting booth featuring more than 25 Sonoma County wines. Food booths have something for every palate from barbequed oysters, local fish 'n chips, to veggie burgers, clam chowder and sandwiches. Don't forget to stop by the "Sugar Shack" for snacks, popcorn, hot pretzels and more. Live music and entertainers perform on the main stage all day Saturday and Sunday. Artisans and vendors from all over California and beyond offer a wide selection of arts and crafts.
The festival has its origin as a celebration of the start of the Salmon fishing season and the annual Blessing of the Fleet. Saturday will feature a golf tournament at The Links at Bodega Harbour and at the Festival site itself a wooden boat challenge where participating teams build a vessel and then compete in a boat race.
The Fisherman's Festival is a great venue for kids with a play area for face painting, spin paintings, games, a touch tank tide pool, pony rides and llamas (and guest pets) on parade. There will be a drawing for raffle prizes from local merchants hosted by the Bodega Bay Area Chamber of Commerce.
Sunday morning will feature the Blessing of the Fishing Fleet when decorated boats parade out of the harbor to receive a blessing from local clergy.
The Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival is a 501 (c) (3) California nonprofit charitable organization. All proceeds from the Festival benefit Bodega Bay Area community services. The festival is run by local community volunteers.
Blessing the Fleet is Our History
Sunday's Blessing of the Fishing Fleet is the highlight of the Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival. These solemn annual blessings had their start more than 50 years ago when the event was part of the "Discovery Days Celebration" and we had a thriving commercial fishing industry. Today it is part and parcel of the annual Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival weekend. Discovery Days commemorated the discovery of Bodega Bay by Lt. Bodega y Quadra while surveying these waters for the Spanish in 1775.
At the first "Discovery Days Celebration" event in 1958, some 17 festively decorated boats were blessed in the parade – appropriately led by Eddie, William and Steve Smith, members from the large local Miwok Indian family which began the commercial fishing industry in Bodega Bay in the 1920s.
Today, even with a declining industry, the traditional annual blessing of the fishing fleet is an important observance for the entire community and acknowledges the key role of those who farm the seas, often at great risk to themselves. Local clergy officiate at the Blessing and a flower wreath is cast upon the waters honoring the fishermen lost at sea.