Becoming a Whale Heritage Site requires a strong influence of cetaceans in the local community and culture. Hervey Bay provides a fantastic example of celebrating cetaceans, as annually they hold an Ocean Festival which coincides with the migration of Humpbacks through the bay. The festival lasts for ten days, the period in which Humpbacks generally rest and play in the bay before migrating back towards Antarctica. The festival aims to show the importance of the Ocean for Hervey bay and to ensure a conservation message is promoted whilst celebrating the species that are important to the area. During the festival, a series of whale related events are held:
Blessing of the Fleet: A tradition originating from Mediterranean communities whereby vessels would be blessed to wish them a safe season. Today, the tradition has been held by having a free evening of music, stalls, fireworks and a sail by of the vessels.
Paddle Out for Whales: An event in which people paddle out in their SUPs, kayaks, rafts or blow up toys to have a minutes silence to think about and recognise the importance of whales and the oceans, not only on the Fraser Coast, but globally.
Whale Parade and Concert: Everybody dresses up and gets involved in the ocean beach party. There is music, rides, food stalls and entertainment.
Seafood Festival: The stalls provide a variety of fresh seafood to support the local fisherman.
Other events: Ocean themed movies, storytelling, sand sculpting, talks, dancing, cruises and the list goes on!