5 things you need to know about Oceanside Harbor Days


Oceanside will wave goodbye to the summer season with two days of nautical adventures during the seaside community’s annual Harbor Days.

Billed as one of the city’s longest-running festivals, the event features more than 200 arts and crafts booths, music, a food court, and a beer garden sponsored by the Prohibition Brewing Company and Golden Coast Mead. The Oceanside Firefighters Association will hold its annual pancake breakfast each morning.

“The first Harbor Days was held in 1960 at the Del Mar Boat Basin before the harbor was even built,” said Kristi Hawthorne, vice president of events for the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. “Although there was about a six-year gap in the late 1970s, Harbor Days has been happening for over 50 years.”

On average, about 10,000 sun, sand and sea worshippers are expected to swarm the shoreline each day.

Hawthorne added that Harbor Days is more than a street fair — it’s a festival at the beach.

“You can enjoy the beautiful boat harbor, the wide sandy beaches and Pacific Ocean, and the festival that is Harbor Days.”

Here are the highlights:

Pirates Village

Keep a weather eye open, matey! Captains Jack Sparrow and Junebug along with a pod of mermaids and a merry band of pirates will entertain children with pirate games and a treasure hunt. Other activities include storybook readings, arts and crafts, photo opportunities, and a costume contest for kids 12 and under accompanied by parents. The first 20 children who arrive early both days, dressed as a pirate or mermaid, will receive a goodie/booty bag. Prizes will be awarded to the winners of the costume contest. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the sand.

Children’s Fishing Derby

Get ready for some reel good fun. Kids ages 3 to 12 are invited to cast their lines for the chance to “catch the big one” at this free competition. Fishing poles will be available at no cost for children who don’t own one. 8:30 a.m. to noon Saturday Harbor fishing pier at Harbor Drive North.

Tiki Swim Marathon

Start off your morning with a swim in the harbor. Swimmers can choose the 2.4 mile or the 1.2 mile. The 2.4 mile starts just south of the Oceanside Pier and the 1.2 mile starts at the beach directly across from the finish line in the harbor. The race begins with a mass start that takes swimmers around the fishing pier into the harbor ending at the boat launch ramps. All finishers are awarded a hand-woven lei and a custom tiki finishers medal. 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. Sunday. Oceanside Pier.

Nail ’n’ Sail Competition

The Harbor Days grand finale pits brain against brawn as three-member teams race against the clock to build a sea-worthy vessel from scratch. The building materials consist of three 8-foot sheets of plywood, about 40 feet of framing boards, nails and caulk supplied by organizers, the Oceanside Chamber of Commerce. No power tools, duct tape or other outside supplies are allowed. Boat building begins at 10:30 a.m. Sunday across from the Dolphin Dock. Will they sink or stay afloat? Gather along the pier adjacent to the dock starting at 2 p.m. to find out. Awards will be presented following the final race at 3:20 p.m.

Military and Public Safety Displays

The Navy’s Pacific operating unit for the Landing Craft Air Cushion (LCAC), the Assault Craft Unit 5 (ACU-5), will land on the beach early Saturday morning, and a U.S. Coast Guard cutter will have tours by the dock. Vehicles from the Oceanside police and fire departments will be on display and the Oceanside Police Department Canine Unit will conduct demonstrations.

Oceanside Harbor Days

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Where: 1540 Harbor Drive, Oceanside.

Cost: Free.

Parking and shuttle: Free parking is available in downtown Oceanside at the Oceanside Transit Center Parking Garage located at Cleveland Street and Seagaze Drive with free shuttle service from the North County Transit Center. Service hours are 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday.

Phone: (760) 722-1534.