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The Flying Fish Festival: Catalina Island Ready for its Big Weekend

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Archival Photo Courtesy of the Catalina Island Conservancy


Archival Photo Courtesy of the Catalina Island Conservancy
From the Taste of Avalon to Peddle Boat Race to a parade featuring Huell Howser, the 2nd Annual Flying Fish Festival in Catalina Island's main city, Avalon, is ready to pack a punch over the next four days. It begins tomorrow with a variety of activities including the Taste of Avalon where restaurants gather in the middle of town and dole out $1 or cheaper samples of their best dishes.

The festival also marks the official start of the flying fish season. "The flying fish are kind of like the swallows of Capistrano," explained Donna Harris of the Catalina Island Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. "They come when the waters warm up, between May and September."

For 80 years now, Catalina has been a hub for flying fish sightings. They mainly come out at night and are best seen on a tour boat with a spotlight. The fish actually "fly" through the air, some as high as 30 to 40 feet that can also glide as far as a quarter mile. "We have the largest flying fish in the world and are the only place in North America that offer tours," Harris said.

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Old Flying Fish Postcard | Courtesy of the Catalina Island Conservancy
Those who can't make this weekend's festivities can catch tours throughout the summer until September.

This month also marks the 80th anniversary of the city's architectural icon, the Avalon Casino, which is actually a movie theatre originally built for talkies in 1929. On the second floor is one of the largest circular ballrooms in the world. The theatre is open year-round, but the festival will hold special events at it on Saturday.

A complete schedule of the weekend's events can be found here (scroll down).