Although I’m sure it would make an excellent marmalade, unfortunately I’m not talking about sockeye spread.
Salmon Jam is part of the Copper River Wild! Salmon Festival held every July in beautiful Cordova, Alaska. The annual event usually lasts 3-4 days and consists of several fun events all aimed at growing awareness and support to protect our most plentiful and valuable natural resource: Wild Salmon!
This year, Cordova Arts‘ flagship event was especially jam-packed. It could have been a product of the gorgeous sunny weather we were blessed with that weekend. But I think the word just got out that Cordova’s awesome, espeically during Salmon Jam!
This year’s festivities kicked off on Thursday, July 28 with Taste of Cordova, a Copper River Salmon cook-off for all our local ameatur gormets (and with such busy potluck schedules, believe me–people in this town can COOK!)
There were tons of delicious entries, but this year’s winner: Salmon Pot Pie! Congrats, George! Other dishes included sockeye ceviche, salmon cakes, salmon spring rolls, and many mouth-watering more. And entrance was free if you brought a dish! Taste of Cordova attendees also enjoyed live music from the Cordovan folk duet, Copper River Drifters. What talented folks we have here in Cordova!
The fun continued Friday morning with a free community square dance led by everyone’s favorite Music Camp master, Belle Mickelson followed by an arts & crafts festival. Then the Salmon Jam officially kicked off with live music! The beer garden (always my favorite part of the program) featured Denali Brewing Company. Mother Ale, Twister Creek IPA, Single Engine Red, Chuli Stout, and Louisville Sour flowed like… well, beer. Sweatin’ Honey from Fairbanks along with several other local and regional bands kept the dancefloor full with some great bluegrass (and a real swell version of “Short Skirt, Long Jacket” that I loved).
Although you could stay up all night with music that good, it’s a good thing we didn’t. Because Saturday morning came real early and along with it: the Alaska Salmon Runs. No matter your ability, there was a run for you. Races included:
- King Salmon Marathon
- Sockeye Half Marathon
- Coho 10K
- Humpy 5K (I know a certain beared man who crossed the finish line for this race with his running number attached to his dog)
- Smolt 1 mile Fun Run/Walk
Folks of all ages and from all over the country came to run on that beautiful sunny morning. And I actually got a little sunburnt working the stop-watch at the finish line. What a great morning! Meanwhile, Small Fry kids activities sponsored by the Prince William Sound Science Center, US Forest Service and others started at 2pm with all kinds of events to keep the little ones busy and excited about Salmon! Then came the Salmon Barbeque and (what else?) community potluck–free if you brought a dish to share; and another night of killer jams by Sweatin’ Honey.
I love events like this, because it really demonstrates all the best characteristics of a community: spirit, openness, hospitality, cooperation, and an interest in contributing to the health and enjoyment of others. Yes, it’s supposed to be about Salmon. But I think what came across even more clearly was the way everyone in Cordova supports each other. This event was a success thanks to great leadership by Cordova Arts & Copper River Watershed Project (CRWP) along with countless volunteers and some great local sponsors including Cordova Telephone Cooperative, Orca Book and Sound, KLAM/KCDV Radio, Cordova Wireless, Orca Adventure Lodge, Harborside Pizza, Cordova Air, Trident Seafoods, and many others.
I can’t wait til next year’s Copper River Wild! Salmon Festival. Luckily for me, CRWP is putting on another great event soon: Cordova Wild Berry & Film Festival. It’s coming up on September 17th here in Cordova at the Pioneer’s Igloo. Click here for more info!