In some Januarys, the sea lions and gulls appear to go nuts. They enter harbors that line San Francisco Bay in great numbers. Fishing boats seem to abandon the ocean in favor of the Bay. What’s the draw? The herring return from the ocean to lay their roe on whatever solid objects suit their fancy — piers, dock pilings and boat bottoms among them. You can be like the sea lions and feast on herring this month.
Richardson Bay is a particularly popular destination for spawning herring, so it’s fitting that Sausalito would be home to a herring festival. Herring is quite healthful and delicious smoked or fresh.
The herring fishery booms or declines depending on the climate; the drought years were hard on them, and their once-abundant numbers haven’t caught up. The commercial herring season in San Francisco Bay was suspended last year. The feeding frenzies have yet to develop this year. Nevertheless, we hope you’ll give this tasty little fish a try at the Herring Celebration, a fundraiser for the Sausalito Community Boating Center, to be held rain or shine on Sunday, January 26, at the Bay Model.
Local restaurants will prepare herring dishes onsite. The Fishwives will perform “raucous and irreverent songs of the sea.” Guests will have the chance to tour the Matthew Turner tall ship. Waterfront allies will be on hand promoting collective stewardship of the marine environment. And, the $40 ticket price includes a morning or afternoon screening of the excellent documentary The Raft, featuring Mary Gidley of Marin County. You can buy beer, wine and other beverages for $5.
Ticket A includes an 11 a.m. film screening (doors open at 10:30 a.m.) and 1 p.m. herring lunch.
Ticket B includes the herring lunch at 1 p.m. and a 2:30 film screening. The Latitude 38 Movie Club highly recommends this unusual documentary. Purchase tickets here.
The Sausalito Community Boating Center
Mary Gidley advises us that the nonprofit “SCBC received a healthy grant and have started construction,” at the Cass Gidley Marina. The location, next to the Sausalito Cruising Club at Bridgeway and Napa Street, was previously the site of a sailing school and sailboat rental shop founded by the Gidleys and called Cass’ Marina.