Orcafest coming to Birch Bay State Park

By Steve Guntli

The first-ever Birch Bay Orca Fest is coming to Birch Bay State Park during the Memorial Day weekend.

The event is a family-friendly festival dedicated to celebrating the orca whale and its role in our local ecosystem. Several speakers will talk about the life cycles of orcas, conservation, preservation and the future of this species, which has been struggling to survive.

The Friends of Birch Bay State Park and Nolan Murray, music director for the Orca Network, are sponsoring the event.

A full slate of local musicians will perform throughout the event, including the Whisky Minstrels, Testify, Greg Pitch Band, Patsy Thompson, Peter Ali and Blaine and Birch Bay favorites The Replayzmentz and Lord Knapp.

Scheduled speakers include Howard Garrett from the Orca Network; Ken Balcomb and Giles Zissou from the Center for Whale Research; Victoria Souze of the Whatcom Marine Mammal Stranding Network; local filmmaker Rick Wood (“Fragile Waters”); author David Neiwert (“Of Orcas and Men”); and children’s book author Barbara Jean Hicks (“Disney Books’ Frozen”).

Orca Fest will be held in the BP Heron Center in Birch Bay State Park from noon to 8 p.m. on Saturday, May 28. Discovery Passes are required for parking, and festival organizers recommend bringing lawn chairs and blankets. For more information, visit facebook.com/Birch-Bay-Orca-Fest.

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