• Scenes from the 2015 Sitka Seafood Festival events held Saturday, Aug. 8

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ssflogo2There were tote races, a parade, a marathon/half-marathon, food booths, live music, canning classes, salmon-head bobbing, halibut-head tossing, the Sitka Highland Games, and scores of other events Saturday during the sixth annual Sitka Seafood Festival at Sheldon Jackson Campus.

There also was nice weather — a little cloudy with light rain for the marathon/half-marathon, followed by warm sunny weather for the tote races, parade, and marketplace events later in the day.

A few scenes from the 2015 Sitka Seafood Festival are in a slideshow below.

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• Schedule firming up for 2015 Sitka Seafood Festival on Aug. 7-8

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ssflogo2While the official schedule for the 2015 Sitka Seafood Festival still hasn’t been posted on the event’s website at the Sheldon Jackson Campus, the schedule is firming up.

The Friday night, Aug. 7, Sitka Seafood Festival Extravaganza banquet is close to selling out, so if you haven’t gone online to reserve your tickets you better do it now. Tickets are $65 each for this special seafood dinner event (cooked by guest chefs) at Allen Hall on the Sheldon Jackson Campus, but there are only a handful left. This event starts at 6:30 p.m. and will feature a variety of seafood dishes prepared by guest chefs Caleb France of Indianapolis, Dave Thorne of Anchorage, Rob Kinneen of Anchorage, Jeren Schmidt of Sitka, and SSF culinary scholarship winner Adam Kanayurak. Don’t forget to get your VIP cocktail hour tickets ($35) from 5:30-6:30 p.m., too.

OK, got your banquet tickets? Here is information on the other events.

Sitka cooks can participate in the banquet by entering the dessert contest, which will feature cakes, cupcakes and pies (no refrigerated desserts, please). The desserts will be auctioned off at the banquet, and the top desserts will receive prizes. Rules and entry forms are at the link above. The entry forms must be submitted by Wednesday, Aug. 5. For more information, contact contest coordinator Megan Pasternak at 738-2290 or mwpstnk@ptialaska.net.

As usual, the bulk of the sixth annual Sitka Seafood Festival events take place on Saturday (Aug. 8, this year). The fish tote races usually start at 11 a.m. at Crescent Harbor, with the parade following afterward from Crescent Harbor to the Sheldon Jackson Campus.

The Sitka Seafood Festival Marketplace opens at noon, and this year all of the booths will be outdoors on the Sheldon Jackson Campus. The booths usually stay open until 6 p.m., but some may close earlier if they run out of product. You can find out more information about hosting a booth here.

highland gamesIn addition to the marketplace, there will be kids games on the lawn, live music and other entertainment until 5 p.m., and the Sitka Highland Games until 6 p.m. The highland games participants already are practicing their events, and potential participants can check out the Sitka Highland Games group on Facebook for practice times (usually 5-6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday, depending on weather and work schedules).

There will be other events announced over the next week or two, and some may happen on Thursday, Aug. 6, or Sunday, Aug. 9.

The festival also is looking for volunteers to help prior, during and after the festival. There are countless ways to help, such as kitchen help, banquet help, parade, contests, games, highland games, booths, tent set-up and take down, stage help for bands and cooking demos, etc. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Alicia Olson Haseltine at alaska_al33@hotmail.com. For more info on the festival, go to http://www.sitkaseafoodfestival.org.

 

• Sitka Seafood Festival offers culinary scholarship and paid internship opportunity

culinary scholarship description

Scholarship 2015Are you a budding chef from Sitka who’d like an opportunity to work with some top-notch chefs from around the country? The Sitka Seafood Festival is offering its culinary scholarship and paid internship again for 2015. The application deadline is Monday, June 22.

This $500 scholarship will be awarded to an individual interested in pursuing the culinary arts. The program includes the opportunity to work with renowned chefs for 3-5 days, a $500 stipend for three days of work, letters of recommendation from Sitka Seafood Festival staff for future career moves, and recognition to the community during the Sitka Seafood Festival community banquet on Friday, Aug. 7. This is a great opportunity to give back to the community of Sitka.

This year’s guest chefs haven’t been announced yet. But last year the executive guest chef was Caleb France, with returning guest chefs Seth Caswell from Seattle, Mickey Neely from Chicago, Robert Kinneen from Anchorage, and Jeren Schmidt from Sitka.

This year’s Sitka Seafood Festival takes place on Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 6-9, with a variety of activities around Sitka. This year’s event schedule hasn’t been announced yet, but typically there is a community banquet featuring a variety of local seafood on Friday night, while Saturday’s activities include fish-tote races at Crescent Harbor, a parade down Lincoln Street, Scottish Highland Games at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, live music, cooking demonstrations, and a variety of food, informational and artist booths in the marketplace at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

For more information, go to the Sitka Seafood Festival website, or contact the festival at sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Haseltine at (928) 607-4845.

• Click here for a detailed description of the SSF Scholarship program.

• Click here for an application to the SSF Scholarship program.

• Scenes from the fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival

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ssflogo2Beautiful weather greeted the fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival on July 31-Aug. 3, with a nice sunny day on Saturday, Aug. 2, when most of the events took place.

Saturday’s events included a marathon and half-marathon, parade, fish tote races, Island Highland Games, marketplace, cooking demonstrations, and a Fish To Schools recipe contest at the Sheldon Jackson Campus/Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

In addition, there was a garden tour and showing of the film Red Gold on Thursday, the annual five-course banquet dinner on Friday, a concert featuring the Yup’ik soul group Pamyua on Saturday night, and a golf tournament on Sunday.

Below is a slideshow featuring scenes from Saturday’s events.

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• Tickets available for fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival; volunteers needed all week

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ssflogo2The fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival is finalizing its schedule for July 31-Aug. 2 at various locations around Sitka, but tickets have gone on sale for its three main events — the VIP cocktail hour on Friday night, the five-course banquet on Friday night, and the headline entertainment concert by the Yup’ik soul group Pamyua on Saturday night (link to Pamyua’s Facebook page).

The major events for the Sitka Seafood Festival will take place on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1-2, but there are some additional events set for July 31 (a wine bottle-signing and a garden tour). A full festival schedule is available here.

On Friday, Aug. 1, the VIP cocktail hour takes place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Harrigan Centennial Hall Exhibit Room, and the cost is $35 per person. The five-course seafood banquet prepared by guest chefs starts at 7 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). The banquet costs $65 per person, or you can buy a whole table for $600 (10 seats per table). There are Friend of the Festival tables available for $800 that feature special bartender service, are close to the stage, and feature gift bags).

The tentative menu for Friday’s banquet features (according to an email from event founder Alicia Haseltine):

  • Amuse Bouche — herring roe, finger lime, baby fennel, cucumber, bulls blood
  • First Course — ricotta gnocchi, sea asparagus (pesto), foraged mushroom xo, tat soi oil, brown butter
  • Second Course — scallops, pistachio crumble, fromage blanc, yellow squash puree, snap pea coulis, pancetta
  • Third Course — rockfish, spruce tip nage, lemon ash marshmallow, arugula, whole barley, carrot
  • Fourth Course — salmon, tomato jam, scallion potato puree, black garlic aioli, leeks charred
  • Fifth Course — cocoa praline rocks, chocolate soil, sudachi curd, huckleberry, merlot caramel, bergamot cloud mascarpone and cream base

On Saturday, Aug. 2, the day opens with tote races at 11 a.m. at Crescent Harbor, followed by the parade at 11:30 a.m. from Crescent Harbor Shelter to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp/Sheldon Jackson Campus, and the marketplace from noon until 7 p.m. There will be a variety of entertainment from noon until 4 p.m., and the Scottish Highland Games are from noon to 6 p.m., both at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp/Sheldon Jackson Campus. The headline entertainment concert by Pamyua starts at 7 p.m. at Allen Hall at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp/Sheldon Jackson Campus, and tickets are $20 per person.

Volunteers are needed all week for the festival, which includes event set up and tear down. To learn more, contact Sitka Seafood Festival Director Carolyn Kinneen at (907) 222-8422 or email sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. Parade participants should contact Linda Olson at 747-6985. Scottish Highland Games participants are welcome to practice at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays at the Moller Field Track

 

• Vendors sought for fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival Marketplace on Aug. 2

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ssflogo2The Sitka Seafood Festival seeks vendors for the all-day marketplace that takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp/Sheldon Jackson Campus. The all-day marketplace is one of the highlights from the fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival, scheduled for Thursday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 3, at various locations in Sitka.

“Last year we had an overwhelming amount of people show up, and the vendors sold out of food early,” said festival founder Alicia Haseltine. “This year we are ready for you, Sitka! We are currently accepting vendor applications for food, merchandise, educational booths, or any other ocean- or seafood-related activity.”

The Sitka Seafood Festival helps Sitka celebrate its seafood heritage with a variety of events. The 2014 schedule still is being finalized, but in 2013 the festival included a sea poetry contest, native plants garden tour, pasta cruise, book signings, VIP banquet, marathon and half-marathon, parade through downtown, all-day marketplace, crab races, Scottish Highland games, fishhead toss, fishhead bobbing, blind-folded tote rates, live entertainment, and a golf tournament. Click this link and scroll to the bottom to see a slideshow of scenes from the 2013 Sitka Seafood Festival.

For more information or to register as a vendor, please contact Mary Helem at oceanfront@gci.net. You also can download a registration form below or at http://www.sitkaseafoodfestival.org (note, please send your forms to Mary, the Sitka Local Foods Network is a separate organization than the Sitka Seafood Festival). See you at the festival.

• Sitka Seafood Festival 2014 Marketplace Vendor App Pages 1-2

• Sitka Seafood Festival 2014 Marketplace Vendor App Page 3

• Sitka Seafood Festival offers culinary scholarship and paid internship opportunity

culinary scholarship description

The application deadline for the Sitka Seafood Festival culinary scholarship and paid internship is Friday, June 20.

This $500 scholarship will be awarded to an individual interested in pursuing the culinary arts. The program includes the opportunity to work with renowned chefs for 3-5 days, a $500 stipend for three days of work, letters of recommendation from Sitka Seafood Festival staff for future career moves, and recognition to the community during the Sitka Seafood Festival community banquet on Aug. 1 at Harrigan Centennial Hall. This is a great opportunity to give back to the community of Sitka.

Caleb France BioThis year’s executive guest chef is Caleb France, with returning guest chefs Seth Caswell from Seattle, Mickey Neely from Chicago, Robert Kinneen from Anchorage, and Jeren Schmidt from Sitka.

This year’s Sitka Seafood Festival takes place on Friday-Saturday, Aug. 1-2, with a variety of activities around Sitka. In addition to the community banquet featuring local seafood on Friday night, Saturday’s activities include fish-tote races at Crescent Harbor, a parade down Lincoln Street, Scottish Highland Games at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, live music, cooking demonstrations, and a variety of food, informational and artist booths in the marketplace at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

For more information, go to the Sitka Seafood Festival website, or contact the festival at sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Haseltine at (928) 607-4845.

• Click here for a detailed description of the SSF Scholarship program.

• Click here for an application to the SSF Scholarship program.

• Sitka Seafood Festival announces new director; will host art auction on Saturday, Oct. 5

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(The following letter to the editor originally appeared on Page 2 of the Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with the writer’s permission.)
 
ssflogo2The fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival (SSF) is scheduled for Aug. 1-2, 2014. The festival continues to grow each year. This past year we brought in more than 100 out-of-own guests, had some national recognition from a couple of well-known culinary magazines, and continued to have more and more local support. 
 
Over the past four years, we have had a small group of volunteers working extremely hard to follow through with our mission statement, to “celebrate wild Alaskan seafood.” We have done this through education, such as bringing in amazing speakers such as a 2012 McArthur Genius Award-winner David Montgomery, and accomplished author, professor and chef Becky Selengut to offer free presentations to the public. We also started the new culinary scholarship award this past year which we hope will continue to grow to give a passionate future culinary artist more experience and funds to pursue their career further. 
 
We offer entertainment, including local and headliner bands such as the well-known band Trampled by Turtles, aerial silk dancers, Ninja acrobatics, and of course, the addition of the Scottish Highland Games and this past year the full- and half-marathon. But, even with all the other fun events going on, the focus of our festival is based around celebrating the culinary aspect of our amazing, local seafood products.  
Carolyn Kinneen

Carolyn Kinneen

I am writing this letter today to introduce you to the new director and co-directors of the Sitka Seafood Festival. I am so extremely excited with the potential of where this festival can go. If anyone gets the pleasure to meet our new directors, I think they will share in my enthusiasm, because these folks encompass what this festival is all about, and I think it can only get better from here!  The 2014 SSF Director is Carolyn Kinneen, along with co-directors Jeren Schmidt and Robert Kinneen.  All past board members, including myself, are staying active with the festival. 

Carolyn Kinneen is wife to our four-time returning guest chef Robert Kinneen, and has been active in the festival since the start. She currently lives in Anchorage, but with the help of our local co-director, Jeren Schmidt, should be a wonderful fit.  Carolyn works in many different areas of food-related advocacy and policy, and sits on multiple boards pertaining to Alaskan-based foods.  She has experience in running a large array of projects including the TEDx Anchorage lecture series, as well as the Alaska Food Policy Council

We are very excited to have Carolyn on board. If anyone would like to hear more about Carolyn, or pick her’s or any other board member’s brains about the future SSF, we will be holding an open “meet and greet” at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct 4, at Baranof Island Brewing Company (215 Smith St.).  Come say hello and welcome Carolyn, Rob and Jeren to their new positions, and feel free to pass along any suggestions, concerns or input you may have. 

Thank you for your continued support Sitka!  Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 5th annual SSF Aug 1-2, 2014. And please attend our upcoming fundraiser, the Live Art Auction with the Fishermen’s Eye Gallery, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 5, at the Westmark Sitka Hotel.

— Alicia Haseltine, past SSF Director, current board member