The merchants of Stearns Wharf will hold a 150th Anniversary celebration for the iconic Santa Barbara structure on Oct. 8.
The tall ship Mystic Whaler will be making an appearance at the event, sailing by the wharf at 11 a.m., 11:30 a.m. and noon while firing a series of ship-gun salutes.
The festivities will also include a full day of events, including activities for all ages, free music performances, fireworks and a formal event featuring elected officials and city leaders.
Stearns Wharf was built by John Peck Stearns in 1872. Before its construction, Santa Barbara was an isolated community surrounded by mountains and unreachable by roads or railroads. With the wharf’s construction, large-scale commerce and trade came to the city, putting Santa Barbara on the map and introducing the city to the rest of the world.
The wharf later served as a vital conduit for a growing fishing fleet and was the birthplace of commercial diving. The structure has withstood storms, fires and even a water spout while continuing to serve as a focal point of the Santa Barbara community.
The Mystic Whaler, designed by V.B. Crockett and built in 1967 in Tarpon Springs, Fla., is a recreation of a 19th-century two-masted cargo schooner. After a 1995 overhaul, the ship operated on the East Coast for 26 years, conducting educational programs and charters in Long Island Sound and the Chesapeake Bay before embarking a three-month journey to California in October 2021.
Donated to educational nonprofit Central Coast Ocean Adventures in January 2022, the ship is Coast Guard-certified to carry up to 50 passengers on day sails and 30 passengers on overnight voyages.
— Matt Smolensky