April 2023 Director’s Message

April is here and I’m sure we are all looking forward to turning the page on the cold and rainy weather.

It was clear people were looking to enjoy the Harbor on March 26th at the 24th Annual Celebration of the Whales Festival, where the weather was sunny, and the attendance was tremendous.

Whales Festival organizers – Ventura County Harbor Department, Channel Islands Maritime Museum, and Channel Islands Farmers Market – have been extremely thoughtful in planning this annual event and making sure families have the best possible experience. Their hard work paid off.

It was great walking the festival and seeing hundreds of families shopping at the Farmers Market, walking marina pathways and viewing chalk art being made, listening to a live concert at Harbor View Park, playing on a variety of bounce houses at a family fun zone, taking tours of the Mystic Whaler tall ship, and learning more about our marine environment and history at the Channel Islands Maritime Museum.

One new attraction that turned out to be a highlight of the festival was the “Paint a Whale” mural feature. This activity allowed families to participate in painting an 8-foot-high by 20-foot-wide mural of a whale in the Santa Barbara Channel. It was heartwarming to see attendees work together and complete this mural during the 4-hour festival. I would like to thank the Oxnard Performing Arts Center (OPAC) for facilitating this activity. This feature was extremely popular and is something we will incorporate into the festival in future years. I would like to thank the Farmers Market operators and Channel Islands Maritime Museum for their continued partnership to hold the Celebration of Whales Festival.

Looking forward in 2023, there are a variety of activities planned at the Harbor that I hope you will enjoy. Here’s a look ahead at what we have in store:

Father’s Day Car Show June 18
Classics By the Sea Family Show June 18
Fireworks by the Sea July 4
Concerts by the Sea Summer Series July 8, 15, 22, 29
Channel Islands Fine Arts Festival July 8, 9
Concerts by the Sea Summer Series August 5, 12, 19, 26
Concerts by the Sea Summer Series September 2
Central Coast British Car Club Show October 1
2nd Annual Parade of Frights October 28
57th Annual Parade of Lights December 9


Keep in mind, this is what’s planned so far. There will be additions to the event schedule and we are looking forward to you participating!

Michael Tripp, Director
Ventura County Harbor Department