The 38th Annual Morro Bay Harbor Festival will feature a new location, a new concert and organizers hope, a new life for the longest running special event in Morro Bay.

There are big changes planned for the Harbor Festival, set for Friday-Sunday, Oct. 4-6 on Morro Bay’s waterfront. Among the biggest is a pre-festival concert Friday night featuring two national headliner acts, a return to a two-day event, and a genuine touch of Germany with an Oktoberfest tent featuring German foods, German beers and sponsored by a German energy company.

Staged for the past three years as a street fair and closing off the Embarcadero from Harbor to Marina streets, the main part of the festival was in the City’s parking lot at 714 Embarcadero.

The Harbor Festival is now about six blocks north to the Front Street and Triangle parking lots. That’s on the east side of the Embarcadero and across from the event’s former, long-time site.


“With this,” said Don Doubledee, the festival’s site manager, “we’re not closing any streets and we’re not blocking any businesses.”

As usual, the festival will feature some great local bands on the main Embarcadero Stage — Jasper & Jade, Truth About Seafood, Zongo All Stars and Burning James & the Funky Flames on Saturday.

Sunday will have Tim Jackson, Dulce Taylor, Back Pages and a tribute band — Chris Farmer playing hits by The Eagles and The Beach Boys. Farmer’s show is entitled, “Where the Desert Meets the Sea.” 

Festival favorites Giovanni’s “Down the Hatch” oyster eating contest hosted by Giovanni Degarimore, is set for 2:30 p.m., Saturday Oct. 5. And the Hawaiian Shirt Contest is set for 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 6. Both are at the Embarcadero Stage.

A second, Abalone Stage, on the south end, will have the American Karate School, Meet the Foppers (with Billy and Charley Foppiano), Story Time Drums with Tim Costa, Robbie Dugain & The Narrow Bridge Band, and the Cadillac Angels on Saturday.

Sunday will have the Cuesta Jazz Combo, Omni Dance for Kids, Bear Market Riot, Kindel Sylva, and Sovereign Vine.

Festival coordinator, Cheryl Wells, who first became involved in 1992 representing the Cuesta College Broadcast Club, is really excited about the Friday night concert. The music has always been her specialty.

Veteran band, Cracker, headlines the show set for 6:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 4 at the festival grounds. Tickets are available online at

Cracker recently released its 10th studio album, “Berkeley to Bakersfield” that features original founders David Lowry and Johnny Hickman, plus original band mates Davey Faragher and Michael Urbano. All four played on the new album.

Folk artist Peter Case, who played the festival in 2001 and 2005, will open the Friday concert.

The festival is going back to a paid admission, too. Wells said the presale cost is $7, and $10 at the gate. But, “Locals are $5 at the gate,” Wells said. “With ID, of course.”