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Festival Saturday to welcome right whales to coastal waters

JACKSONVILLE BEACH, Fla. – The ninth-annual Right Whale Festival will be held Sunday at the Seawalk Pavillion in Jacksonville Beach to celebrate the endangered whales that winter in coastal waters.

NOAA Fisheries, Sea to Shore Alliance and other dedicated partners host this free family event.

Right whales, the world’s most endangered large whale species, migrate southmore 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.

Calving season begins in mid-November and runs through mid-April. With as few as 450 remaining, this festival aims to raise awareness about the threats facing right whales and the ongoing efforts to protect them. Appropriate for this time of year, the festival theme is Extinction is Scary, knowing the challenges our most endangered large whales are facing.

The day begins at 8 a.m. with a beach clean-up sponsored and coordinated by Keep Jacksonville Beautiful. There is a beach run/walk at 10 a.m. and the festival kicks off at 10 a.m. with live music featuring Kalani Rose, The Crazy Daysies, the George Aspinall Band and Chillula.

Right whale biologists and dozens of educational booths are on hand, along with various artists, games and a variety of food. People are invited to wear an ocean themed costume and enter the costume contest.

For more information visit RightWhaleFestival.com.