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Feast on the Herring for a Good Cause

The Herring

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.

One herring, swimming.
The yummy Pacific herring generally reach 13 inches long.
© 2020 SCBC

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.

Herring festival and Mary Gidley
Left: a past herring festival. Right: Mary Gidley works on a wooden boat.
© 2020 SCBC

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.

The Raft

The Raft movie poster
The Raft is the story of a raft that drifted across the Atlantic in 1973, a social experiment more than a re-creation of early voyages. But it’s also the story of a reunion of some of the remaining crew decades later — aboard a replica of the raft itself, Acali, built on a sound stage.
© 2020 Metrograph Pictures

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.

1 Comment

  1. Memo Gidley 4 years ago

    A fun time and such a great cause! My parents marina (Cass’s Marina) taught sailing and rented boats to so many people for over 40+ years! My parents started the sailing school for people to learn to sail outside of the more expensive and harder to access “yacht clubs”. And now many volunteers have been working nearly 6 years to turn my parents old sailing school into the SCBC (Sausalito Community Boating Center)…having small wooden boats for people to enjoy. I hear they are opening in a few months!!

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