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    Morro Bay's Big Night Out Returns!

    Follow us down the rabbit hole to Morro Bay in Wonderland, our Alice in Wonderland Community Awards Gala. Get ready for an evening of fun and whimsy while we celebrate our deserving honorees. Featuring a Mad Hatter Happy Hour with music by Devin Welsh. Morro Bay Butcher and Deli, Flavor Fool, babydudes, and Shine Café will be catering the sit down dinner and we will be having a silent auction with items donated from local businesses and community members. 


    Event starts at 5:00p
    Cocktail hour with passed hors d'oeuvres
    Seated dinner
    Dynamic and lively programming

    We'll be transforming the Community Center into a venue worthy of Wonderland!

  • Headshot of Cathy NovakCathy Novak 
    2022 Living Treasure

    Cathy is a longtime resident and the former Mayor of Morro Bay. She has made numerous contributions to the community of Morro Bay, especially for businesses on the waterfront. She has been one of the Morro Bay National Estuary Program’s Technical Working Group Participants creating the Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan since the late 1990's. She has worked with the Morro Bay Commercial Fisherman’s Organization and President of the MBCFO in the early 90’s and was a Watershed Committee Members in the 90s.

    She currently owns Cathy Novak Consulting specializing in City and County planning, community and governmental relations. She is the current consultant for the Morro Bay Embarcadero Master Leaseholders, LLC.


    Photo of Bonnie Jones at the Morro Bay Maritime Museum with an antique dive suitBonnie Jones
    2022 Citizen of the Year

    In 2016 Bonnie was a major contributor to the success of the 1542 Charter Member Campaign to help fund the MB Maritime Museum's first structure. When she joined the board she single-handedly established, developed, and managed the fund development memorial paver and bench program. She maintained an active Facebook page that attracted membership and managed the volunteers who worked the museum as well as working shifts herself to keep the doors open for visitors. Bonnie created a museum store with products to continue funding operations which allowed the museum to continue opening at least 4 days a week and holidays as a Morro Bay public benefit - totally free to the public. She researched and wrote the text and selected the photos to create the commercial fisherman's and women in fishing panel that was completed in 2022. With the board she helped develop an expansion plan for the next phase of the museum development. As the board treasurer, Bonnie kept the museum fiscally sound during 2020 and actually expanded programs with a grant for the Kids Cove from the City of Morro Bay, developed a maritime speakers' program, and so much more.

    Most of all in 2022 she had the idea that MBMM should host a free family fun day where various community businesses and nonprofits would offer an activity that represented an aspect of the working harbor during the October Morro Bay Maritime Month. She gathered a small committee that grew into a diverse group of community residents and businesses who joined together to make MBMM Family Fun Day a smashing success. It is scheduled again in 2023 for the 2nd Saturday in October during MB Maritime Month. Bonnie tends to take the lead in everything she does and believes in strong collaboration with other community organizations. 

    Additional Volunteer/Leadership Roles: President of St. Timothy's Women's Group opening activities beyond members of St. Timothy's parish; Lead Coordinator for Community Dinners at Vets Hall until Father Ed developed dinners at St. Timothy's then Bonnie took the lead to coordinate and even cook dinners to make sure hungry were fed on St. Timothy's Community Night; Co-director of SLO County's inaugural Anti-Human Trafficking Summit held in Morro Bay; Honorary Member of Morro Bay Rotary Club; Charter Member of MB Maritime Museum 1542 Navigator Circle, Board Member & Treasurer of MB Maritime Museum, Chair of MB Maritime Month Family Fun Day.


    Photograph of the outside of The Shell Shop

    The Shell Shop
    2022 Business of the Year

    The Shell Shop Inc. has been owned and operated by the Thomas family since 1955. Laurence Thomas was an abalone diver and commercial fisherman. His 10 year old son, David Thomas, wanted to sell his father's shells in a 'lemonade style' stand, and successfully earned over $100 that summer selling the abalone shells for .10 cents each. These shells were the natural byproduct of the commercial fishing industry, making The Shell Shop one of the pioneer ‘green’ businesses that focused on reusing what was discarded by others. Soon after, the Thomas family started importing shells as well as selling the abalone shells for which Morro Bay was famous.

    Local school children learn about the ocean seas and bay waters from Dave Thomas. An excellent employer, his staff has been employed with him for 18-30 years steadily. It is rare Dave misses a day of work at the shop he loves and the patrons he serves. As salvage divers, Lawrence and Dean Tyler, supported the Harbor Department's efforts to salvage sinking boats and bring historical nautical treasures back to display in Morro Bay. The anchor in front of the shop is from the 1923 Hondo Point Disaster. Dave and the Shell Shop became an ongoing major supporter of the Maritime Museum of Morro Bay. Besides loaning the iconic ships' bell off the USS Young, one of the Hondo Point naval destroyers lost and salvaged by his father, Dave wanted to make sure Veterans were recognized prominently in Morro Bay and donated the flag pole with appropriate flags, including a POW flag.

    The Shell Shop has become an icon of Morro Bay over the years, with numerous families and individuals who consider The Shell Shop a necessary stop whenever visiting the Central Coast. We hope you enjoy the shop as your imagination lets you explore the depths of the global seas while you are here in lovely Morro Bay.

    photograph of project surf camp students and councilors with surf boards in front of Morro Bay State Beach

    Project Surf Camp
    2022 Non-Profit of the Year

    Project Surf Camp is a 501(c)(3) charitable and educational, nonprofit organization designed specifically for individuals with special needs. While great strides have been made in recent years to increase access to goods and services for special needs individuals, opportunities for leisure or recreational activities are often still difficult to access. Sometimes it is forgotten, especially living on the coast, that not everyone has experienced the ocean. One group in particular that has been deprived of such a privilege is those persons with disabilities. PSC hopes to introduce people to the water who would otherwise never receive such an opportunity.

    PSC uses surfing, the beach, and other ocean activities as an educational modality to build self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-efficacy in individuals with special needs. PSC further provides opportunities to build social skills, improve physical fitness, develop healthy outlets for stress reduction, and foster independence.

    To keep costs minimal for participants of the 4-hour day camp, a volunteer staff is employed for the one-to-one instruction. In addition, unlike similar camps, part of the focus is also on specialist intervention. As a result, camp participants will also receive consultation, feedback, and support from three paid specialists. Camper fees are minimal with one quarter of PSC's annual budget generated from participant enrollment fees. The remainder of the budget is funded through private solicitations, grants, fundraisers, and camp sponsorships.

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    Generous Sponsors!

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