It’s that time of year again when the community of Florence and cult exploding-whale lovers across the globe memorialize the famous whale occurrence. It happened one fateful afternoon on the shores of the small coastal town 51 years ago, on Nov. 12,1970. If you haven’t heard about it, ask a friend, look it up on the internet and rest assured, you will soon be in the know.

Some of the town folks are embarrassed by the legendary whale explosion, but many still take pride in the whale tale and celebrate it year after year. The community residents even voted to name Florence’s 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. For the past two years, the Florence mayor and city council issued a proclamation in November to memorialize “The Exploding Whale.”

A public 51st anniversary exploding whale of a celebration will kick off Saturday, Nov. 13, with a 2 p.m. toast featuring Florence’s very own Exploding Whale Pale Ale at Homegrown Public House and Brewery, 24 Laurel St., in historic Florence Old Town.

The family-friendly celebration will feature an evolving community participatory art installation, special guests, whale swag, music, and 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 Public House. 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 pose for photos with people.

Not to miss is a visit to the Exploding Whale exhibit at the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum across the street from Homegrown at 278 Maple St., open from noon to 4 p.m. The exhibit has actual whale bones from the honored whale, and the museum is full of interesting Florence historical displays.

More details about the celebration are on the Facebook event page at or call co-sponsors BeauxArts Fine Art Materials at 541-991-8213 or email

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