Alaskans turned out by the hundreds on Aug. 10 for the state’s third annual Wild Salmon Day, to celebrate the fish deeply rooted in the state’s history, culture and economy.
Celebrations in Anchorage, Cooper Landing, Fairbanks, Homer, Juneau, Palmer, Sitka, Soldotna and Talkeetna brought out the crowds to enjoy a taste of fresh caught wild Alaska salmon and learn more about this fish and the importance of maintaining healthy habitat to assure sustainability of this abundant natural resource. Most events were free of charge.
In Anchorage and Palmer, the festivities hosted by The Alaska Center at a midtown park included a salmon barbecue, live music, family friendly activities and more. Everyone attending the Cooper Landing salmon barbecue, hosted by Trout Unlimited, was asked to bring a dish to share for the gathering at Gwin’s Lodge.
At Fairbanks, the Tanana Valley Watershed Association hosted a floating film festival down the Chena River with talks from salmon and their importance to the Alaska lifestyle.
Cook Inletkeeper hosted events in Homer and Soldotna, with a salmon barbecue, local salmon arts and crafts, and other family friendly activities.
Food, libations and a silent auction were all part of the Juneau event, hosted by Salmon Beyond Borders.
The Sitka Seafood Festival, Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association and Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust were hosts for Sitka’s event, featuring grilled salmon, a beer garden and live music. In Talkeetna, the Susitna River Coalition’s event offered a taste of Wild Su salmon, games, a river walk and fish screen printing.
Wild Salmon Day dates back to May 8, 2016, when Gov. Bill Walker signed the newest state holiday into law.
“Nearly all Alaskans are impacted by salmon in some way – whether through subsistence, recreational, or commercial fishing, or just sheer appreciation for Alaska’s abundant wildlife,” the governor said. “HB 128 (establishing Wild Salmon Day) is intended to celebrate these uniquely Alaskan ways of life and share our appreciation for wild Alaskan salmon with the rest of the world.”