Scenes from the Sitka Seafood Festival events on Saturday, Aug. 12

After a year in hiatus, the Sitka Seafood Festival returned this month with a variety of events from Aug. 6-30 around town. The big day for the Sitka Seafood Festival was Saturday, Aug. 12, when there were vendor booths, fun and games, a fishermen’s triathlon and other events at the Crescent Harbor Shelter and nearby locations.

A slideshow of scenes from the market vendor booths and fishermen’s triathlon (which featured two-person teams coiling line into a bucket, putting on a survival suit/Gumby suit, a three-legged race using a pair of Grundens, setting a skate, and a tote race) are linked below. There are still a couple of events left on the schedule, so check them out at

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Sitka Seafood Festival returns Aug. 10-19 after spending a year in hiatus

After spending a year in hiatus, the Sitka Seafood Festival returns Aug. 10-19 with a wide variety of events as Sitka celebrates its local seafood culture.

“Southeast Alaska is an amazing place, and the Sitka Seafood Festival is going to be a great opportunity to bring our community together to celebrate it,” Sitka Seafood Festival coordinator Emma Edson said. “There are a lot of great minds coming together to make it happen. It’ll be a lot of fun, and it’s all for a good cause.”

The Sitka Seafood Festival began in 2009 through the work of volunteers, and became its own nonprofit in 2012. But in 2016, organizers decided they needed to take a break.

The rekindled Sitka Seafood Festival now is sponsored by the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust and the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association. The proceeds from the festival will benefit the Young Fishermen’s Initiative, which helps young Alaskans get into the fishing industry with financing for permits and boats, deck hand apprenticeships, and policy programs.

“Central to the mission of the Sitka Seafood Festival (SSF), as well as the mission of Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, is the belief that Alaska needs a vibrant and sustainable fishing industry supporting economically empowered and self-sufficient Alaska communities,” said Willow Moore, ASFT’s executive director. “Also, no one knows good seafood (and where to find it) like Alaskans. The Sitka Seafood Festival celebrates the fishing culture and heritage that local economies (and plates and palates) depend on, and the unique ecosystems of Southeast Alaska that sustain our local fish and families as they grow.”

In addition to the two host organizations, there are several partner groups hosting activities, such as ArtChange Inc., the Sitka Maritime Heritage Society, Sitka Film Society, Sheldon Jackson Museum, Sitka Local Foods Network, the Sitka Kitch, and Sitka Tribe of Alaska.

The main festival day is Saturday, Aug. 12, when there are vendor and food booths plus a variety of fun and games events at Crescent Harbor Shelter. Knot-tying games open the event at 9 a.m., followed by kids games at 10 a.m., the vendor market from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., older kids games from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., a dock walk from noon to 1 p.m., tote races at 1 p.m., and the wild fishermen’s triathlon (which includes fish tote races and other obstacles) at 3 p.m.

Other highlights from this year’s event schedule include a pre-festival screening of the movie “Jaws” on Aug. 6 at the Coliseum Theater; Sitka Tells Tales hosting “Wet Feet: Stories On, In, Under, or Of the Sea” on Aug. 10 at the Beak Restaurant; seafood trivia on Aug. 11 at the Mean Queen; a lecture by Iñupiaq mask carver Erin Katherine Gingrich on Aug. 12 at the Sheldon Jackson Museum; a screening of the film “The Salmon Forest” on Aug. 14 at the Mean Queen; a class on filleting salmon on Aug. 15 at the Sitka Kitch; a class on canning salmon on Aug. 16 at the Sitka Kitch; a film screening of an ocean and fisheries documentary TBA on Aug. 17 at the Coliseum Theater; a “Coming to America: Invasive Species, Ocean Rafting, and Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris” lecture on Aug. a8 at the Sitka Sound Science Center; a walk about the docks on Aug. 19; an ocean treasures family day Aug. 19 at the Japonski Island Boat House; and a fish skin sewing class taught by Joel Isaak from Aug. 22-30 at the Sheldon Jackson Museum.

Don’t forget the Sitka Local Foods Network is hosting a Sitka Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 12 at the ANB Founders Hall, and another one at the same time on Aug. 19. So make time to attend both events.

The 2017 Sitka Seafood Festival grand finale will come with the Young Fishermen’s Expo and Season’s End Banquet, taking place in early November at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

For more information about the Sitka Seafood Festival, go to, or call 747-3400.

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


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

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 For more info on the festival, go to


• 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

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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 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


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 You also can download a registration form below or at (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