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Exploding Whale Celebrations Will Abound in Central Oregon Coast Burgh

Published 11/03/21 at 4:31 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

Exploding Whale Celebrations Will Abound in Central Oregon Coast Burgh

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(Florence, Oregon) – Once again, it will soon be that most hallowed of days on the Oregon coast: Exploding Whale Day. The goofiest and gooiest mistake made by one group of state officials back on November 12, 1970 resounds through the ages, when the carcass of a beached whale at Florence was blown up in an attempt to get rid of its smelly presence. It took a number of years, but by the 1980s columnists in newspapers began writing about the massive mishap and laughing, and then by the age of the internet the infamous clip of the Exploding Whale became the most watched tidbit for many years. (Above: Flo the mascot whale)

Every year, the community of Florence likes to chuckle at itself and celebrate the pop culture cult following it's received because of that fateful afternoon, now some 51 years ago. This year, the party spreads throughout Florence.

A public 51st Anniversary Exploding Whale of a celebration will kick off Saturday, November 13th with a 2 p.m. toast featuring Florence's very own Exploding Whale Pale Ale at Homegrown Public House and Brewery, 24 Laurel Street in historic Florence Old Town.

The family-friendly celebration will feature an evolving community participatory art installation, special guests, whale swag, music, a Whale Trail list of Florence businesses offering activities and promotions to commemorate the 51st Anniversary. All are invited to bring small offerings and homages to the whale to be placed at the art installation throughout the day on the east side of Homegrown. The exhibit is meant to be fanciful, fun and will naturally evolve throughout the day into the evening when it glows with lights and the reflections of the colorful contributions. Florence's official-unofficial whale mascots, Flo and Rence will also be present to take photos with.

Then there's the Exploding Whale exhibit at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum, with actual bones from the Oregon coast legend of a cetacean. Beyond that, the museum is chock full of other interesting chunks of Florence history, including plenty on the Heceta Head Lighthouse. 278 Maple Street, Florence; open from 12 noon - 4 p.m.

Some of the town folks are embarrassed by the legendary whale explosion, but many still take pride in the whale-of-a-tale and celebrate it year after year. Residents even voted to name the newest city park, Exploding Whale Memorial Park. Visitors come from far and wide to explore the beautiful riverside park and stand by the whimsical whale sign at the entrance for commemorative photos.

In the past two years, the mayor of Florence and city council have proclaimed November to memorialize The Exploding Whale.

The legend of Oregon coast's Exploding Whale has grown far beyond Florence, however, with giggling, snickering interest from around the world. Yet it turns out Florence was not the first in Oregon to pull this stunt: Warrenton Had an 'Exploding Whale' 30 Years Before Central Oregon Coast 

More details about the celebration are on the Facebook event page in this link or call co-sponsors, BeauxArts Fine Art Materials at 541-991-8213 Email [email protected]

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MORE PHOTOS BELOW





Below: images of Exploding Whale Memorial Park, Florence




Below: a still from the Exploding Whale video, courtesy KATU

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