• Running of the Boots raises funds for Sitka Local Foods Network

It’s time to dig your XtraTufs out of the closet and gussy them up. The 18th annual Running of the Boots begins at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 29, at the Crescent Harbor shelter.

So what is the Running of the Boots? It’s Southeast Alaska’s answer to Spain’s “Running of the Bulls.” Sitkans wear zany costumes and XtraTufs — Southeast Alaska’s distinctive rubber boots (aka, Sitka Sneakers). The Running of the Boots raises funds for the Sitka Local Foods Network, a non-profit group that hosts the Sitka Farmers Market and advocates for community gardens, a community greenhouse, sustainable uses of traditional subsistence foods and education for Sitka gardeners. The network also has a representative on the Alaska Food Policy Council.

The Running of the Boots is a short race for fun and not for speed, even though one of the many prize categories is for the fastest boots. Other prize categories include best-dressed boots, zaniest costume, best couple, best kids group and more. The course involves a run from Crescent Harbor to the corner of Katlian and Lincoln streets and back, with a short course for kids looping around St. Michael’s Cathedral.

The entry fee for the Running of the Boots is $5 per person and $20 per family, and people can register for the race starting at 10 a.m. Costume judging starts about 10:30 a.m. There is no longer a lip synch contest after the race. Prizes will be awarded right after the race so folks will have time to get to the free Season’s End Celebration food booths on Lincoln Street, which are being sponsored by the Alaska Cruise Association and the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce.

Local merchants have donated bushels of prizes for the costume contest, including a flightseeing trip for three from Harris Air and a new pair of XtraTufs from Russell’s. Honeywell, the maker of XtraTuf boots, is helping sponsor the event and all prize winners will be provided with a new pair of XtraTuf boots (Honeywell is providing 50 pairs of boots). The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a Sitka Farmers Market booth with fresh veggies for sale. The booth will be able to take debit cards, WIC vouchers and Quest cards.

“This is a really fun way to advance the Sitka Farmers Market and our other Sitka Local Foods Network projects,” Sitka Local Foods Network Board President Kerry MacLane said. “This is a must-see annual change-of-the season tradition in Sitka.”

To learn more about the Running of the Boots, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or by e-mail at maclanekerry@yahoo.com. Historical information about the race (through 2005) can be found online at http://www.runningoftheboots.org/, and info about the Sitka Local Foods Network and more recent Running of the Boots events (2008-11) is online at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/ (type Running of the Boots into the search bar at the top of the page).

• 2012 Running of the Boots flier (feel free to print a few copies and post them around town)

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• Easter Group to auction off painted boots to raise money for the homeless during the Sept. 15 Sitka Farmers Market

The Easter Group will raise money for Sitka’s Project Homeless Connect event when it auctions off several pairs of painted rubber boots during the final Sitka Farmers Market of the season, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.).

The white rubber boots were a donation from Sitka Sound Seafoods, which found them inadequate for its slippery floors. According to Dorrie Ferrell, the unpainted boots were available to Sitka’s homeless residents during the Project Homeless Connect event in January, but only a couple of of pairs were taken. So the boots were given to local artists to paint, and now they will be auctioned off to help raise money for future Project Homeless Connect projects.

The boots will be on display at Kettleson Memorial Library from Sept. 1-14, when they will be moved to a booth at the Sept. 15 Sitka Farmers Market for the auction. The auctioneer will be Brock Bauder. In addition to Project Homeless Connect and other projects to combat homelessness in Sitka, Easter Group also supports the local Blessings in a Backpack program, which sends food home on the weekend with school children whose families need food assistance. For more information, contact Easter Group at info@eastergroup.org.

And don’t forget the Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network is on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Crescent Harbor shelter, which is a perfect time to wear your newly purchased painted rubber boots. Registration opens and the Sitka Blues Band starts playing at 10 a.m., costume judging is at 10:30 a.m., and the fun run is at 11 a.m.

• Slack Tide to be special musical guest at the final Sitka Farmers Market of the season

The last Sitka Farmers Market of the summer will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 15, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall, so the Sitka band Slack Tide will be the market’s special guest.

Slack Tide is rock and dance band that’s jamming Sitka style. The members of the group are Joe Montagna on guitar and vocals, Jen Reid on vocals, “Pignose Bob” Jacobs on guitar and vocals, Peter Apathy on bass and Colin Herforth on drums.

Also, don’t forget the Sitka Farmers Market now accepts Alaska Quest electronic benefit cards and debit cards. You can use these cards to purchase tokens, which you then can spend with participating vendors at the market. Look for the Sitka Local Foods Network booth inside ANB Hall for more details.

In addition, we always need volunteers to help us set up before the market and to take down the market after we’re done. Please contact Sitka Farmers Market coordinator Johanna Willingham at 738-8336 if you’re interested in helping out.

Finally, don’t forget to mark your calendars for the Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network on Saturday, Sept. 29, at Crescent Harbor Shelter. Race registration is at 10 a.m., costume judging is at 10:30 a.m., and the race starts at 11 a.m. Paint up your Xtratuf boots and get your costumes ready for this fun event that’s great for kids and families. We will have a booth or two selling late-season produce at this event. Watch for more details coming soon.

• Vendor forms available for the Sitka Seafood Festival’s market on Aug. 11

The Sitka Seafood Festival is recruiting food and other vendors for its market on Saturday, Aug. 11, at Harrigan Centennial Hall and the Crescent Harbor Shelter. In past years vendors have sold local seafood items, arts and crafts, books, clothing and other items related to seafood and the oceans.

The third annual Sitka Seafood Festival (and Scottish Highland Games) takes place on Aug. 10-11 at various locations around downtown Sitka. The final schedule still is being organized, but in previous years there usually has been a seafood dinner on Friday night catered by guest and local chefs, followed by a market and fun events such as tote races and bobbing for fish heads on Saturday. There usually are guest musicians who play on Saturday night, and this year they’ve added a Scottish Highland Games where people can throw heavy stones or toss the caber (a large pole/tree trunk that must go end-over-end when it lands). Other new events this year include a Sitka Signature Seafood Dish contest and a wedding cake contest.

To learn more about the event, check out the website. To become a vendor, download the forms linked below and contact Christi (Wuerker) Henthorn at 738-9047 or christinawuerker@uwalumni.com.

• 2012 Sitka Seafood Festival Vendor Information and Registration Forms

• Time to mark your calendar for 2012 Sitka Local Foods Network major events

Each year, the Sitka Local Foods Network hosts a variety of events to promote the use of local foods in Sitka. Here are the dates and (if known) times for some of the events we will host in 2012.

The Sitka Local Foods Network annual meeting and potluck takes place at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall located at 408 Marine St. (the parking lot is off Spruce Street). For more details about this event, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

The Let’s Grow Sitka! gardening and local food production education event is from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 11, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (ANB Hall), 235 Katlian St. If you would like to be a vendor, do a demonstration or display, host an informational table, or participate in some other way, please contact Linda Wilson by phone 747-3096 (evenings/weekends) or via e-mail at lawilson87@hotmail.com.

The Sitka Farmers Markets this year will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. every other Saturday, from July 7 through Sept. 15, at ANB Hall, 235 Katlian St. The exact dates are July 7, July 21, Aug. 4, Aug. 18, Sept. 1 and Sept. 15.

While it’s not an official Sitka Local Foods Network event, we do support the Sitka Seafood Festival because it promotes the use of local seafood. This year’s Sitka Seafood Festival takes place on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 10-11, at Harrigan Centennial Hall and the Crescent Harbor shelter. For more information about this event, contact Alicia Olson at (928) 607-4845 or sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com.

• Running of the Boots raises funds for Sitka Local Foods Network

It’s time to dig your XtraTufs out of the closet and gussy them up. The 17th annual Running of the Boots takes place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Crescent Harbor shelter. And this year people who “Bike to the Boots” can receive a free bike safety check before the race.

So what is the Running of the Boots? It’s Southeast Alaska’s answer to Spain’s “Running of the Bulls.” Sitkans wear zany costumes and XtraTufs — Southeast Alaska’s distinctive rubber boots (aka, Sitka Sneakers). The Running of the Boots raises funds for the Sitka Local Foods Network, a non-profit group that hosts the Sitka Farmers Market and advocates for community gardens, a community greenhouse, sustainable uses of traditional subsistence foods and education for Sitka gardeners.

Participants line up behind the Running of the Boots banner before the start of the race

Participants line up behind the Running of the Boots banner before the start of the race

The Running of the Boots is a short race for fun and not for speed, even though one of the many prize categories is for the fastest boots. Other prize categories include best-dressed boots, zaniest costume, best couple, best kids group and more. The course involves a run from Crescent Harbor to the corner of Katlian and Lincoln streets and back, with a short course for kids looping around St. Michael’s Cathedral. The entry fee for the Running of the Boots is $5 per person and $20 per family, and people can register for the race starting at 10 a.m. Costume judging starts about 10:30 a.m. There is a lip synch contest after the race, which costs $10 to enter. Local merchants have donated bushels of prizes for the costume and lip synch contests, including a new pair of XtraTufs. The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a Sitka Farmers Market booth with fresh veggies for sale. Grilled black cod and crépes also will be available.

The “Bike to the Boots” event was added this year as part of the national 350.org “Moving Planet: A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels” event on Sept. 24 promoting community sustainability. A bike station will be set up at 10 a.m. at Crescent Harbor Shelter, and people can pump air into their tires, oil their chains, get a safety check, receive info about bicycle safety rules and more. There also will be booths about Sitka environmental issues, the importance of local food and how to reduce our use of fossil fuels.

Runners hit the trail during the 14th Annual Running of the Boots race on Sept. 27, 2008, in Sitka.

“This is a really fun way to advance the Sitka Farmers Market and our other Sitka Local Foods Network projects,” Sitka Local Foods Network Board President Kerry MacLane said. “The ‘Bike to the Boots’ event will add a fun new twist to the Running of the Boots, while helping remind people about how much fossil fuel is used to bring food to Sitka from thousands of miles away.”

To learn more about the Running of the Boots, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or by e-mail at maclanekerry@yahoo.com. Historical information about the race (through 2005) can be found online at http://www.runningoftheboots.org/, and info about the Sitka Local Foods Network and more recent Running of the Boots events (2008-10) is online at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

• 2011 Running Of The Boots flier (feel free to print this PDF and hang copies around town)

• Sitka Seafood Festival moves from August to May in 2011

The Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee met on Monday, Nov. 8, to start planning the second festival. One of the biggest changes will be moving the festival from August to May in 2011 so the festival takes place before the tourist season gets busy. The new dates will be Friday and Saturday, May 20-21, 2011, at Harrigan Centennial Hall and the Crescent Harbor shelter.

The inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival in August was very successful, and it looks like the steering committee plans to keep the same basic formula for the second festival. The festival had a guest chef who worked with local chefs to prepare a special gourmet seafood dinner on Friday night, and Saturday featured a full day of events with booths for seafood vendors, children’s events, artists and other vendors, an entertainment event in the afternoon and guest band performing at night.

Notes from Monday’s meeting are posted below. The next steering committee meeting will be at 8 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 6, at the Channel Club, 2906 Halibut Point Road. For more information, contact Alicia Peavey at sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com or 1-928-607-4845.

• Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee meeting notes from Nov. 8, 2010