The winning design marking this year’s 50th annual Festival of Whales is ready for its debut.
Created by Irvine resident Lynlea Michaels, it received the most votes in an online contest featuring 72 entries. Some 3,055 votes were cast.
This year’s Festival of Whales is planned for March 6 and 7.
“I wanted to capture the energy of the ocean and the thrill of seeing such amazing animals playing and enjoying the California sun,” Michaels said of her design. “The groovy text and mid-century colors give a nod to Dana Point’s history as a thriving surf community and the city’s eclectic vibes.”
Michaels is a local designer and artist specializing in costume design and fashion illustration. She joins a long list of designers of the festival logo, including amateur artists, Dana Hills High students and professional artists such as John Van Hamersveld and Wyland.
The winning logo will appear on Festival of Whales 2021 promotional materials, including merchandise, media advertising, the official event program and signs for the event.
Three others’ works were also recognized: Matt Rinehart of San Clemente, Gabriella Kohr of Dana Point and Michael O’Connell of Clearwater, Florida.
Additionally, the Dana Point Chamber of Commerce announced this week that a first-ever virtual 5K and a one-mile race, the Festival of Whales Splash Dash, will be held this year. Runners can sign up now and proceeds will benefit the Festival of Whales Foundation.
Participants can run anywhere during the festival weekend and log their results on the Active Experience App.
The event benefits the Festival of Whales Foundation, a nonprofit that exists to put on the annual festival, which typically costs $75,000.
All runners will receive a commemorative T-shirt, finisher medal and a virtual goody bag. A drive-thru packet pick-up will be held in the Dana Point Harbor from noon to 6 p.m. on March 5. Registration ends then or before, if the event sells out.
The race is limited to 1,500 runners in its inaugural year, said Vickie McMurchie, director of the chamber.
Festival activities in 2021 will be tailored to fit with coronavirus restrictions, and will be held over only one weekend this year, festival board officials said. The signature parade and the street fair will not be held.
This year’s events are expected to include whale watching, an art show and live music playing on patios at some local restaurants.
Virtual whale-watching is also planned by Capt. Dave’s Dolphin and Whale Watching Safari and Dana Wharf Whale Watching and Sportfishing plans socially distanced children’s programs, including Wyland art lessons and a kid’s fishing clinic.