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Fisherman's fest honors Bodega Bay's salty dogs

  • Lester Elmore in the wheelhouse of fishing boat, built in 1944.

Next weekend's 37th annual Bodega Bay Fisherman's Festival couldn't arrive at a more dire time for the iconic salty dogs of the sea it aims to celebrate.

With the local salmon industry on hold and bottom trawling a bust, the only option right now is crabbing — and it hasn't exactly been a banner year for Dungeness.

Sonoma County is littered with festivals that pay homage to fading traditions and industries. The Apple Blossom Festival in Sebastopol perseveres even though the apple cart left town years ago. Butter and Egg Days still draws big crowds even though Petaluma is hardly the Egg Basket of the world it once was. Ditto the Cloverdale Citrus Fair.

Bodega Bay Fishermen

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But does anyone remember the perennial spring favorite Prune Blossom Festival? One day it could happen: a Fisherman's Festival with no fishermen.

"You know who the endangered species is?" says Bodega Bay fisherman Tony Anello. "You've gotta think about it: It's us."

Before the festival kicks off with the annual boat parade and blessing of the fleet, we check in with three generations of the Bodega Bay fishing industry:

Harold Ames

Age: 81, retired

Boats: Robert Croll and Sea Farmer


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