The 14th annual Whale Dreamers’ Festival is returning to its spiritual home on the grounds of the Norah Head Lighthouse this July.
Held each year to mark the Humpback whale migration, the festival is the result of the collective dream of four women, Colette Baron, Jeannie Lawson, Nikki Freeburn and Roberta Dixon-Valk, to bring likeminded people together in awe of one of earth’s most fascinating creatures and the marine environment they call home.
The festival is now a major event on the Central Coast calendar.
It still attracts whale watching enthusiasts, but the festival now also acts as a major information and fundraising initiative for whale conservation.
In 2018, over 10,000 people turned up to the lighthouse, a far cry from the 50 or so that graced the inaugural event all those years ago.
For Lawson, the appeal was simple.
“Whale’s bring people together,” she said.
“Last year, we had over 10,000 people from the elderly to newborns, come and celebrate with us as the whales headed north.
“They put on an amazing display of tail slapping, breaching and spy hopping.
“It was a sight to behold,” Lawson said.
Aside from the whale watching and conservation effort that first sparked the festival, the event also features live music from local bands, dancers, a drumming display, guest speakers, Indigenous displays linked to the local aboriginal community’s connection to whales and the ocean, artmaking and a marine themed parade.
Another core theme of the event is environmental conservation, with past festivals emphasizing the devastating effects of plastic pollution on marine life and promoting the ethos of local charity, Take 3 for the Sea.
There will also be market stalls and food vendors and Lawson encourages festivalgoers to make a day of it and bring along a picnic, as the community unites in its passion for whale conservation.
Whale Dreamers’ 2019 gets underway from 10am on July 7.
Media release, Jun 25
Roberta Dixon-Valk, Whale Dreamers’ Festival