By Peggy Vance, Executive Director of Ocean Festival, and Barrett Tester, Race Director
It’s time for thrills and spills, splashing and dashing, as the 42nd annual San Clemente Ocean Festival takes place on Saturday, July 21, and Sunday, July 22, at the San Clemente Pier. Athletes, friends and families are invited to join us on the beach and the Pier to enjoy time together with fun and exciting athletic competitions, great food, outdoor activities and entertainment.
There is limited parking, but don’t fret, you can take the train right to the Pier and avoid traffic altogether, or take advantage of the free covered parking and shuttles from the Outlets at San Clemente, located at 101 W. Avenida Vista Hermosa. Entry into the event is free, and you can start out both days with a delicious pancake breakfast on the beach prepared by our San Clemente Lifeguards. All proceeds go to the San Clemente Surf Lifesaving Association.
The theme of Ocean Festival is to bring families and lifeguards together for fun activities on the beach, and that mantra has been the basis of the success of the Ocean Festival. This merit has kept it unique and beyond imitation. The event is run by a volunteer board of directors and its executive, athletic and surf directors who pool their talents to continue to deliver “The Greatest Show on Surf” with the hundreds of community volunteers who provide manpower during the two-day event.
Saturday events include the Lifeguard Competitions, SUP Surfing Championships, and check out the Grom’s Rule Surf Contest (7 & under “Push-in” category).
One of the premiere event is the One-Mile Ocean Swim, which is now officially sanctioned by the Global Swim Series (GSS). New this year, there will be a team championship trophy for highest scoring club in the One-Mile Ocean Swim.
For the young ones in your family, the Youth Pavilion, south of the Pier, will be packed with crafts and games, as well as demonstrations and performances for all ages to enjoy! Saturday there will be a Dolphin Dash kid’s beach run for ages 12 and under, sponsored by Clif Kid—all participants will receive an Ocean Festival medallion! Stop by the free bodysurfing clinics just south of the Youth Pavilion on Saturday and learn about rip currents and how to catch a wave.
Sponsor booths will have information, activities and goodies to share with everyone. The Fisherman’s Restaurant & Bar will have a food court at the base of the Pier with a variety of treats to tickle your taste buds. Saturday evening, pull up your beach chair, towel or blanket and enjoy the free concert featuring MoonShine, sponsored by Sheckler Foundation, as you watch the sun set behind Dana Point. Sand sculpting will start the day on Sunday, and join us for the ever-popular Great Rubber Duck Race in the afternoon!
The San Clemente Ocean Festival has grown into a tradition for many within our community as well as the Inland Empire and as far-reaching as the East Coast, Hawaii, Australia and New Zealand. We thank San Clemente’s incredibly dedicated lifeguards who watch over all of us as we enjoy the weekend’s events.
Net proceeds from the events’ activities and perennial T-shirt sales enable us to support many local organizations and programs, benefitting families in San Clemente with programs such as Adopt-A-Class field trips to the Ocean Institute, Summer Beach Concerts, San Clemente Lifeguard programs, scholarships for local students and more.
To our sponsors and volunteers, thank you for all your hard work and support! To those who will be joining us for the first time or have made the Ocean Festival an annual event, we hope you will agree that it truly is “The Greatest Show On Surf”! For more information and complete event schedules, visit our website www.oceanfestival.org. Mark your calendars: Next year’s dates are July 20 and 21!