Commentary: A spectacular and joyous Salmon Jam

A Minecraft-themed dumpster, crafted for Salmon Jam, near Hollis Heinrichs Park. (July 20, 2020) Photo by Zachary Snowdon Smith/The Cordova Times

Did you feel the Salmon Jam love last week? I did — every time I saw a young artist add a rock to the RockFish community art project at the park; every time I saw one of the vibrant, amazing new paintings on Cordova’s dumpsters; every time I watched the lip sync videos (which was a lot!); every time I tuned into the Salmon Jammin’ Stream and heard the genuine love from all the musicians (from across the country!) who performed just for us.

I also felt the Salmon Jam love every time I fell into the Facebook black hole, checking out all the amazing photos submitted in the daily photo competition; every time I saw someone out running, especially the people wearing costumes; every time I opened headquarters on First Street, turned up the tunes, and had the chance to share all the fun events that were part of Salmon Jam’s COVID-edition Jammin SalmONLINE; I felt the Salmon Jam love every time I opened up one of the carefully crafted, daily emails that was loaded with tons of information on the week’s events as well as fun activities for me to do with my kids and awesome recipes to try out in order to continue to enjoy the amazing Tastes of Cordova. I hope that you felt the Salmon Jam love, too!

If you missed out, have no fear — it’s all still available online. Just visit and you will find links to our YouTube channel for checking out the music, links to our Facebook page to catch the paint class and (my fave) lip sync competition, as well as fun recipes, and engaging and creative activities for the young and the young at heart.

Special thanks to all who made this event possible, including our Partners: Alaska Salmon Runs, city of Cordova, Copper River Watershed Project, Cordova Arts and Pageants, Cordova Chamber of Commerce, Prince William Sound Science Center, and U.S. Forest Service.

Thanks to our generous “spawnsors”: Alyeska Pipeline Service Company, AC Value Center, Baja Taco, Chinook Auto Rentals, Cordova Gear, Cordova Telephone Cooperative, Edible Alaska, Harborside Pizza, KLAM, Native Village of Eyak, Northern Nights Inn, Orca Adventure Lodge, and Dr. Urata, DMD.

And thanks to the amazing planning committee, event leads, amazing emcees and everyone who participated and shared their love to make Jammin SalmONLINE a success! Next time you see Alyssa Kleissler, Lauren Bien, Cathy Rendfelt, Shae Bowman, Sarah Kathrein, Kristin Carpenter, Raven Cunningham, Jessicca Hoover, Amy Houck, Barclay Kopchak, Nathan Wesely, Chelsea Corrao or Wendy Ranney be sure to show them your smiling eyes, give a distanced high-five and say thanks (or “samma-jamm-lamma-dingdong”) for all they did to bring you this year’s amazing lineup.

And most of all, get out and keep being creative, Cordova — whether it be painting, knitting, playing music, singing (or lip syncing), running (in costume obviously), taking pictures, gardening or cooking with our local wild ingredients — whatever brings you joy and makes you smile — get out and do it! When you smile it spreads happiness, and that is what your community needs.

Kate Morse is program coordinator for the Copper River Watershed Project.