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Guest speakers and researchers are brought to Sitka for a weekend of whale watching cruises, presentations, sea chantey concerts, a 10 K race beginning at Sitka's Whale Park, market with a cafe, and a mini-marine art show. The University of Alaska Southeast offers credit for taking part in the symposium and local marine biology students also take part.
Sitka WhaleFest 2012, is scheduled to be held November 2–November 4. Past participants have included Flip Nicklin, Richard Ellis, Dr. Michael Castellini, Jan Straley, Fred Sharpe, Jo-Anne Mellish, Jason Waite, Dr. Todd O'Hara, Dr. Russ Andrews, Katie Payne.