• Scenes from the fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival


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

salmon boat header

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


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


(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