Swimsuit models push as they help launch a 20-foot blue fiberglass whale into the water to commemorate the start of summer, which officially begins later on in June, at Newport Dunes Back Bay in Newport Beach on Friday. (KEVIN CHANG, Daily Pilot / May 23, 2014)

A 20-foot fiberglass whale was returned Friday to the lagoon at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort and Marina after sitting bayside throughout the winter.

Continuing a 56-year tradition, the whale launch signifies the start of summer at the resort.

This year, its watery return was aided by swimsuit models. They had been helping earlier that morning with a workshop on swimsuit trends, which was attended by students from the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising.

The whale, named Moe B, will return to the shore come Labor Day.

— Emily Foxhall

Twitter: @emfoxhall