Sitka Mermaid Festival and Sitka Seafood Festival combine to host big weekend events

The Sitka Mermaid Festival and the Sitka Seafood Festival are joining forces this year to host several events this weekend. The Sitka Mermaid Festival started last year as a way to celebrate seaweed and other sea veggies, while the Sitka Seafood Festival has been around for about a decade and celebrates the fish in our area.

The Sitka Seafood Festival launched some events as early as July, but for the next week or so the events will be co-hosted by both organizations.

Things kick off from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 24, with a youth Paint and Snack event featuring Tsimshian artist Mark Sixbey at the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association office at 304 Baranof Street (the former Island Institute office). The cost for this event is $10.

Meet from 11 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Aug. 25, at Halibut Point Recreation Area for a beach clean-up. Participants are encouraged to bring gloves. (The Sitka Kitch class about cooking with seaweed originally scheduled for Monday, Aug. 26, has been canceled.)

At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Rio’s Wine Bar (above Ludvig’s Bistro), there is an adult Paint and Sip led by Sarah Dart. This event costs $40 and includes one class of wine.

From 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, at Evergreen Natural Foods is a Mermaids Love Seaweed! seaweed cosmetics and bath make-and-take event.

At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, at the Sitka Sound Science Center is a Food For Thought: Where Art and Science Connect panel discussion on drawing creative inspiration from science.

The Umami Banquet: A Tasting Event Sourced From The Sea takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. This event features guest chef Cassandra Victoria Kelly from California. Tickets are $65 for the full tasting menu and $40 for standing-room only, and are available at Old Harbor Books. This event features performances by the Sitka Cirque aerial silks team, live music and a silent auction.

The big day is Saturday, Aug. 31, with the Marketplace open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall. There is a Mermaid Promenade costume parade down the Sitka Sea Walk from the Sitka Sound Science Center to Crescent Harbor Shelter that starts at 11:30 a.m. (meet at 11 a.m. at the science center). There are food booths, kids’ games and other activities from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Crescent Harbor Shelter, followed by fish tote races from 4-6 p.m. at Crescent Harbor Shelter. The day closes with the free Rock the Dock concert/dance event from 5-11 p.m. at Crescent Harbor Shelter (this event, which includes a beer garden for adults, is co-hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society).

Don’t forget the Sitka Local Foods Network also has a Sitka Farmers Market scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street).

The Marketplace continues for a second day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The Sitka Seafood Festival also includes Wet Feet: Sitka Tells Tales from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Beak Restaurant (co-hosted with ArtChange, Inc.), with a suggested donation of $5. The Sitka Seafood Festival schedule concludes with a marine safety inspector course taught by the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, Sept. 23-27, and 8-10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Public Safety Training Academy (this event is free for qualified commercial fishermen and $995 for all others, register at the link above).

For more information, contact Amelia Mosher at or Tara Racine at


• Sitka Conservation Society, other groups to host Sitka Food Film Festival on Feb. 22-24

Food Film FestThe Sitka Conservation Society and several other partners will host the Sitka Food Film Festival on Friday through Sunday, Feb. 22-24, at Harrigan Centennial Hall and the Larkspur Cafe. The films are free, but donations will be accepted to help cover costs.

In addition to the dozen films, the festival will feature an appearance by Tlingít chef Robert Kinneen about the Store Outside Your Door (a project with the Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium (ANTHC) promoting healthy traditional foods). There also will be a roundtable discussion about Sitka’s food resiliency (food security).

The festival opens with a feature film TBA at 8:30 p.m. on Friday night at the Larkspur Cafe.

On Saturday at Harrigan Centennial Hall, the schedule includes Ratatouille (a family friendly movie) at 10 a.m., Ingredients at 12:30 p.m., End of the Line at 2:30 p.m., Two Angry Moms at 3:45 p.m., followed by a roundtable discussion about Sitka’s food resiliency from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Saturday’s schedule concludes with another feature film TBA at 8:30 p.m. at the Larkspur Cafe.

Sunday’s schedule at Harrigan Centennial Hall opens with A Feast At Midnight (a family friendly movie) at 10 a.m., Food Fight at 12:30 p.m., Bitter Seeds at 2:30 p.m., and Food Stamped at 4 p.m. Robert Kinneen is the keynote speaker at 6 p.m., discussing the Store Outside Your Door and showing film shorts from the project. The festival concludes at 7 p.m. with The Economics of Happiness.

Besides the Sitka Conservation Society, the film festival is sponsored by the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, SEARHC, Sitka Food Co-op, ArtChange Inc., Sitka Film Society, Alaska Pure Sea Salt Co., and the Larkspur Cafe. On Tuesday, Feb. 19, Tracy Gagnon with the Sitka Conservation Society and Andrianna Natsoulas with the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust were interviewed on KCAW-Raven Radio’s Morning Edition program about the film festival, and you can click here to listen to the interview.