Morro Bay Surfboard Art Festival Makes Colorful, Creative Waves in November

The First Annual Surfboard Art Festival, organized and promoted by Morro Bay in Bloom, a volunteer-based 501 c(3) organization dedicated to the enhancement of public life in Morro Bay, runs through November with a month-long exhibition and gala-auction finale.

Surfboard-Art1The First Annual Surfboard Art Festival, organized  and promoted by Morro Bay in Bloom, a volunteer-based 501 c(3) organization dedicated to the enhancement of public life in Morro Bay, runs through November with a month-long exhibition and gala-auction finale.

The festival will spotlight 30 pieces of surfboard art, which will be displayed at public locations throughout Morro Bay during November, leading up to an auction of the art on Nov. 29 at the Inn at Morro Bay. Proceeds of the auction will be split between the artists, Project Surf Camp and Morro Bay in Bloom.

The festival features the works of renowned local artists and community groups such as the fifth-grade class of Del Mar Elementary School, three classes of students at Los Osos Middle School, and senior residents of Bayside Care Center and Casa de Flores.

Project Surf Camp, one of the beneficiaries of the auction, is a charitable organization designed to educate individuals with special needs. It uses the beach and surf as a context for helping people with special needs to build self-confidence.

The art pieces will be auctioned on Saturday, Nov. 29, at the Inn at Morro Bay from 2 p.m. until 5 p.m., with a VIP preview starting at 1 p.m.

Morro Bay in Bloom (MBIB) is a wholly volunteer 501 c (3) organization whose members are residents of Morro Bay. Approximately 50 members help to restore and maintain public spaces as part of the city’s “Adopt-a-Park” program, among other projects such as the Surfboard Art Festival. MBIB is an affiliate of the national America in Bloom (AIB) program, which sends expert judges to the city annually year to evaluate progress against standard nationwide criteria. The judges’ report constitutes a consulting report on the progress and opportunities of the city.

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Crowds Flock to 2nd Central Coast Oyster Festival

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Beneath a partly cloudy sky, the 2nd Central Coast Oyster Festival attracted thousands of out-of-towners to the Morro Bay Golf Course on Saturday, October 19, for an afternoon and early evening of food, drink and music starring, naturally, the charismatic Morro Bay oyster.

L.A. pop band Smallpools headlined the musical entertainment that also featured Vokab Kompany, Diego’s Umbrella, He’s My Brother She’s My Sister, Forrest Day and Tropo.

Food vendors drawing the longest lines included Tognazzini’s Dockside, led by hand-on owner Mark Tognazzini, who brought his Bonnie Marietta crew and open fires to bake, barbecue and smoke a seemingly endless supply of oysters on the spot. Other top participating area restaurants prominently boothed in the food court were Giancarlo’s, Hoppes, Schooners, Thomas Hill Organic, Full of Life Flatbread, Bella Vino, Dutchman’s Seafood House, Lido and Windows on the Water. Beer, wine and beverage providers included Tap-It Brewing, SLO Brew and various vineyards.

At the end of the day, many oysters gave their all in the good name of Morro Bay and many visitors paid $24 to $28 a ticket (not including parking, food and drink) to enjoy them in a relaxing, green setting by the bay, with plenty of treats to wile away the pleasantly cool fall afternoon.

Dozens of Oysters Swallowed Whole at Harbor Fest Contest

2013 Giovanni’s Fish Market Oyster Eating Contest

The October 5-6 weekend of the Morro Bay Harbor Festival opened Saturday morning to the funky hip-hop grooves of The Monroe and closed Sunday at sunset to the rock anthems of Queen Nation. The music was loud enough to rock the town from the ocean to the highlands.

In between, thousands of visitors to Morro Bay flocked to its popular waterfront on a classic sun-drenched, late-summer weekend to enjoy two days of good music, seafood, beverage and ocean air at one of the Central Coast’s biggest annual attractions.

One of the highlights of Saturday afternoon’s action was the “Down-the-Hatch Oyster-Eating Contest” sponsored by Giovanni’s Fish Market. Twelve contestants paid $10 each to eat as many raw Grassy Bar oysters as they could in 90 seconds. For oyster lovers cheered on by family and friends it was a win-win no matter who won.

The competition was colorfully MC’d by event sponsor Giovanni DeGarimore, owner of Giovanni’s Fish Market and STAX Wine Bar & Bistro, who counted the empty shells to determine the winner. This year’s winner was five-time champ Mark Russo, who downed 37 slippery critters to claim the $100 first-place gift certificate and a flurry of other free treats.

Queen Nation and Kenny Lee Lewis & The Barflyz to Rock Morro Bay Harbor Festival '12

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Morro Bay Harbor Festival

This year’s Morro Bay Harbor Festival isn’t simply on a mission with a goal to entertain audiences like never before – it’s out to surprise, delight and amaze them.

The 31st Morro Bay Harbor Festival, set for Saturday and Sunday, October 6 and 7, from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. both days, offers a fresh burst of “new-to-the-Central Coast” entertainment, including Queen Nation, one of the most celebrated classic rock revival bands touring today, as well as top local and regional bands, and some highly original entertainment right on the street.

Says Steve Buffalo, Executive Director of the Harbor Festival: “We hope to offer something extra special to help bring back the regulars who love to attend as well as those who have never been to the Festival. That’s why we’re offering such a diverse lineup of entertainment.”

That diversity of entertainment goes beyond music and is designed to turn the harbor area into a street fair. New at this year’s festival are four street entertainers who will “surprise and delight visitors with never-before-seen performances on the Central Coast,” according to the press release. These entertainers are: Marionetta, a 12-foot creature with a full marionette puppet show in her skirts, who comes to life when you see her up close, where her stunning handmade puppets prove to be replicas of a unique stage show; Columbina, a witty clown who uses her brains and beauty as a tool of entertainment and delight; The Living Statues; and The Living Floral Tree, who surprises audiences when she comes to life.

“This year, Festival visitors should be prepared to be surprised and amazed by these strolling entertainers,” Mr. Buffalo alerts The ROCK. “As they make their way through the event, most people won’t believe their eyes. They’re that unique.”

This year’s Harbor Festival will offer two stages of live bands including the two headliner bands. Queen Nation – a band that has received rave reviews for capturing the look and sound of Freddie Mercury & Queen — will perform on the Embarcadero Stage at 2:30 p.m., Saturday, October 6. On Sunday, October 7, Kenny Lee Lewis, lead guitarist of the Steve Miller Band and his local band The Barflyz, will rock the Embarcadero Stage, also at 2:30 p.m.

Anchoring this year’s great Morro Bay waterfront dining experience is the popular Seafood and Wine Pavilion, offering a variety of top area wines and freshly prepared seafood. Also featured in the Pavilion is wine tasting from over 20 wineries, as well as beer tasting courtesy of micro-brewery “Rock-tober.” Other top taste stops include the local fisherman’s barbecue, the People’s Choice Clam Chowder Tasting Contest, and the “Down the Hatch” Oyster-Eating Contest. There are also a wide variety of art & crafts, shopping, and free interactive programs and activities for children.

Other local entertainers and live bands scheduled to perform on both stages include:

Embarcadero Stage (October 6)
10:30 a.m. – Pacific Dance
12:00 p.m. – Burning James & the Funky Flames
1:45 p.m. – Hawaiian Shirt Contest
2:30 p.m. – Queen Nation
4:00 p.m. – Zumba by Sally
4:30 p.m. – Triple Threat

Abalone Stage (October 6)
10:00 a.m. – Tim Jackson
12:00 p.m. – The Shival Experience
2:00 p.m. – The Red Skunk Jipzee Swing Band
4:00 p.m. – Trouble Hoof

Embarcadero Stage (October 7)
10:00 a.m. – Cuesta College Jazz Ensemble
12:00 p.m. – The Stratones
1:45 p.m. – “Down the Hatch” Oyster-Eating Contest
2:30 p.m. – The Barflyz
4:30 p.m. – The Versatones

Abalone Stage (October 7)
10:00 a.m. – Mud on the Tires
12:00 p.m. – The Jammies
2:00 p.m. – Jill Knight
4:00 p.m. – The Mighty Croon Dogs

Other highlights include: Discovering Science for Kids, Benet Serat Belly Dancing Troupe, the Incredible Sand Sculptures by the Sand Masters (as seen on the Travel Channel), among others.

For shoppers, there will be more than 100 different booths offering handmade crafts and maritime-themed gifts as well as original food treats from all over the Central Coast.

Each year, many festival volunteers generously donate their time on behalf of nonprofit groups they represent. Says Buffalo, “The cool part is that the hours they put in as a volunteer is calculated and added up.  Then, in return, from the profits we make at the event, we donate the value of those hours back to the nonprofits who have volunteers participating at the Festival.”

The Morro Bay Harbor Festival is sponsored by many local businesses including Morro Bay Furniture, Albertsons, Smart and Final, Casa De Flores, Morro Dunes, Morro Bay Power Plant, Tap It Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Embarcadero Inn, Rabobank, Sage Eco Landscapes, Estero Bay Graphics, Chevron, Coldwell Banker Liberty Realty, Morro Bay Tourism Bureau, the Cayucos Tavern, Giovanni’s Fish Market, and the San Luis Obispo Blues Society.

Media Sponsors of the Harbor Festival include KSBY-TV, New Times, The Cambrian, The Tribune, Bay News, SLO City News, Coast 101.3, KVEC, New Rock 107.3, Sunny Country 102.5 and 96.1, KPIG, 94.9 The Beach 95.3 and two Fresno radio stations, Classic Rock the Fox 95.7 and KJewel, 99.3.

Entrance tickets to the Morro Bay Harbor Festival are $10 adults, $5 for children ages 5-12, and children under 5 are free. Discount pre-sale admission tickets are available online at the Morro Bay Harbor Festival website: or starting September 24 can be purchased at Albertson’s in Morro Bay.

For more details about the 31st Annual Morro Bay Harbor Festival contact the Morro Bay Harbor Festival Office at (805) 772-1155 or by email at Or contact Anna Scott at or by phone at (805) 710-0713.