• 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

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• Feedback provided during debriefing meeting for inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival

Here is a run-down of the Tuesday, Aug. 17, debriefing meeting for the Sitka Seafood Festival. The following notes were provided by Alicia Peavey, who chaired the steering committee that organized the festival.

Thank you to those of you who were able to make the debriefing meeting for SSF. It went fairly well, and we were able to discuss quite a few aspects that we liked, or want to change about next year. I will list the highlights below. The biggest topics discussed were our first
meeting for next year’s festival, and our celebration/party for all
volunteers for this year’s event.

The celebration will be held on Sunday, Aug. 29th (EDITOR’S NOTE: Event postponed to a time TBA). SSF will provide drinks and some food. The Rec is already reserved, so we are looking into the Fly In Fish Inn or Talon Lodge. If anyone else has ideas let me know, and I will let everyone know as soon as I hear.

The first committee meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 4, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. We will discuss next year’s event, but a
large part of the meeting will be devoted to figuring out committee
chair positions. Everyone who is interested at all in helping next
year should TRY their hardest to make this meeting please.
Thanks again to everyone who helped this year, what a fantastic event!!!

  • Not enough food vendors during the Saturday event
  • The fishing community was not asked about a specific date (we did try to address this, and we were told they did not know when the closure would be, but we are sending out info to all the fishing community now for next year’s event, and if you know anyone please ask their opinion on a date)
  • We are leaning toward the first week in August again for 2 reasons: 1) there are no other large events going on at this time other than Coast Guard Day and 2) We can piggyback off the Haines fair again and fiscally this is the only way we will be able to pull larger name people up
  • Need to advertise/organize salmon canning class better, and have a sign-up so people aren’t filtering in and out
  • We played with the idea of paying the head organizer position, or possibly paying a couple positions…we will talk more about this during the first meeting in October
  • We discussed continuing to use Sitka Conservation Society as a non-profit umbrella or trying to form our own. I am checking if we can use SCS again in that this seems like the easiest choice for this next year.
  • We need a head of the culinary committee position (hopefully someone involved in the culinary profession, but not actively cooking during the summer so they have the time for the festival)
  • We need to have solid committee chair people for each committee
  • We also discussed the budget, which was amazing!!!! We did such a fantastic job for the first year…I attached this, but as of now, we grossed about $12,000. You can look through and see what were the best money makers: the banquet brought in the most money, followed by the passport event. NANDA didn’t bring in any money, but I have not stopped hearing people talking about how great they were and how it was such a highlight. We decided something like that was the point of
    our festival, to offer an affordable celebration for all to take part in. So, although this didn’t make money, we decided it was an important part of the festival.

Much more was discussed, but these were some of the main topics.
Hope to see everyone at the party…you all deserve a LARGE celebration!

• Sitka Seafood Festival budget for 2010 festival

• Sitka Seafood Festival adds cruise to Medvejie Hatchery for a tour and salmon bake to its list of events

On Saturday, Aug. 7, the Sitka Conservation Society is offering a Tongass summer boat cruise as part of the Sitka Seafood Festival. This boat trip will be traveling to Medvejie Hatchery for a tour of the hatchery and a salmon bake provided by the Northern Southeast Regional Aquaculture Association (NSRAA). The trip will depart at 11 a.m. and return at 2 p.m. Boarding begins at 10:45 a.m. at Crescent Harbor.

Tickets are $45 and can be purchased with cash or check at Old Harbor Books or at the Crescent Harbor loading dock at the time of the cruise. It is suggested that tickets be purchased in advance to assure participation. Food is not provided on the short boat ride to the hatchery, but hot beverages are complimentary. Binoculars are available on board for all.

King salmon fillets and baked potatoes cook over an open fire at an open house and salmon bake hosted by Medvejie Hatchery on July 10, 2010.

King salmon fillets and baked potatoes cook over an open fire at an open house and salmon bake hosted by Medvejie Hatchery on July 10, 2010.

This boat cruise is part of the Sitka Seafood Festival, a celebration of seafood as a wild and sustainable resource. This trip will head to Silver Bay and the Medvejie Hatchery to learn more about the multitude of seafood available in Sitka and the role different species play in our local ecosystems. Steve Reifenstuhl, General Manager of NSRAA (the non-profit that runs the hatchery), will be on board as a guest speaker. He will speak about Alaska and Southeast fisheries and the role of aquaculture in these fisheries. For more information on the Sitka Seafood Festival visit: http://sitkaseafoodfestival.org/

Allen Marine offers these boat trips at a reduced rate for non-profits. Please call 747-7509 or e-mail natalie@sitkawild.org for more information on this boat trip or others offered by the Sitka Conservation Society.

The inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival takes place on Aug. 6-7 at the Crescent Harbor shelter, Harrigan Centennial Hall and other parts of Sitka. A tentative schedule of events is posted below. Feel free to print it out and post it on local bulletin boards.

The Sitka Seafood Festival is Aug. 6-7, and the guest chef is Robert Kinneen of Orso Ristorante in Anchorage, who will prepare a gourmet seafood meal on Friday night with the assistance of several local chefs. Entertainment for the festival will be provided by the bluegrass band Trampled By Turtles (brought to Sitka with the help of Sitka Folk) and the four-man juggling, acrobatic, martial arts and comedy troupe “NANDA: Acrobaticalist Ninja Action Heroes.” The basic format of the event features a special dinner on Friday night with a variety of educational events, seafood booths and entertainment all day Saturday. Click on the poster link below for more details.

Also, don’t forget the beer tasting and smoked salmon contest from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, July 30, at the Westmark Sitka. This fundraising event costs $30, and there will be live music, treats from Chef Jo, a variety of beers to sample from local distributors and a chance to win the prizes in the best smoked salmon contest. There is a $10 fee to enter the contest (which is deducted from your admission), and participants receive five pounds of salmon to smoke. For more details about the contest, go to the Sitka Seafood Festival site or contact Molly Andrews at (509) 953-9509 or molly@sitkawild.org.

And don’t forget the Sitka Seafood Festival art and logo contest, so put on your thinking cap and send your camera-ready art entries to 411 Hemlock St., Sitka, AK, 99835, by Aug. 1. There will be a prize for the winning logo. Also, bring your seafood-, ocean- or marine-themed art to the art show Aug. 7 at Harrigan Centennial Hall. For more information, call Jeff Budd at 747-4821 or e-mail sitkaarts@yahoo.com.

To learn more about the Sitka Seafood Festival or to volunteer to help on one of the committees, e-mail sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Peavey at alaska_al33@hotmail.com or 1-928-607-4845. Volunteers still are needed, and some of the lists of duties are posted below with the current list of volunteers.

• Press release about Sitka Seafood Festival cruise to Medvejie Hatchery

• Sitka Seafood Festival schedule poster (opens as PDF document)

• Sitka Seafood Festival details (talking points)

• Sitka Seafood Festival final sponsors list

• Sitka Seafood Festival list of volunteers for Friday night’s banquet dinner

• Sitka Seafood Festival list of volunteers for Saturday’s events

• Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee to meet Monday night (July 26)

The Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday night, July 26, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. Pizza and drinks will be supplied.

There will be a quick meeting at 6 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall for those people willing to volunteer to help serve or in the kitchen during the Friday, Aug. 6, banquet dinner event. Please try to attend if you are able to make this. If you are interested in helping but can not attend this meeting, please let Alicia Peavey know so she can finalize the volunteer list.

The inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival takes place on Aug. 6-7 at the Crescent Harbor shelter, Harrigan Centennial Hall and other parts of Sitka. A tentative schedule of events is posted below. Feel free to print it out and post it on local bulletin boards.

The Sitka Seafood Festival is Aug. 6-7, and the guest chef is Robert Kinneen of Orso Ristorante in Anchorage, who will prepare a gourmet seafood meal on Friday night with the assistance of several local chefs. Entertainment for the festival will be provided by the bluegrass band Trampled By Turtles and the four-man juggling, acrobatic, martial arts and comedy troupe “NANDA: Acrobaticalist Ninja Action Heroes.” The basic format of the event features a special dinner on Friday night with a variety of educational events, seafood booths and entertainment all day Saturday. Click on the poster link below for more details.

Also, don’t forget the beer tasting and smoked salmon contest from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, July 30, at the Westmark Sitka. This fundraising event costs $30, and there will be live music, treats from Chef Jo, a variety of beers to sample from local distributors and a chance to win the prizes in the best smoked salmon contest. There is a $10 fee to enter the contest (which is deducted from your admission), and participants receive five pounds of salmon to smoke. For more details about the contest, go to the Sitka Seafood Festival site or contact Molly Andrews at (509) 953-9509 or molly@sitkawild.org.

And don’t forget the Sitka Seafood Festival art and logo contest, so put on your thinking cap and send your camera-ready art entries to 411 Hemlock St., Sitka, AK, 99835, by Aug. 1. There will be a prize for the winning logo. Also, bring your seafood-, ocean- or marine-themed art to the art show Aug. 7 at Harrigan Centennial Hall. For more information, call Jeff Budd at 747-4821 or e-mail sitkaarts@yahoo.com.

To learn more about the Sitka Seafood Festival or to volunteer to help on one of the committees, e-mail sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Peavey at alaska_al33@hotmail.com or 1-928-607-4845.

• Sitka Seafood Festival schedule poster (opens as PDF document)

• Sitka Seafood Festival details (talking points)

• Sitka Seafood Festival sponsors list (please send any corrections to Alicia Peavey)

• Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee to meet on Monday (July 19)

The Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee will meet at 7 p.m. on Monday, July 19, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to solidify plans and other arrangements for the first-year event.

The inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival takes place on Aug. 6-7 at the Crescent Harbor shelter, Harrigan Centennial Hall and other parts of Sitka. A tentative schedule of events is posted below. Feel free to print it out and post it on local bulletin boards.

The guest chef for the Sitka Seafood Festival is Robert Kinneen of Orso Ristorante in Anchorage, with entertainment provided by the bluegrass band Trampled By Turtles and the four-man juggling, acrobatic, martial arts and comedy troupe “NANDA: Acrobaticalist Ninja Action Heroes.” The basic format of the event features a special dinner on Friday night with a variety of educational events, seafood booths and entertainment all day Saturday. Click on the poster link below for more details.

Also, don’t forget the beer tasting and smoked salmon contest from 6-8 p.m. on Friday, July 30, at the Westmark Sitka. This fundraising event costs $30, and there will be live music, treats from Chef Jo, a variety of beers to sample from local distributors and a chance to win the prizes in the best smoked salmon contest. There is a $10 fee to enter the contest (which is deducted from your admission), and participants receive five pounds of salmon to smoke. For more details about the contest, go to the Sitka Seafood Festival site or contact Molly Andrews at (509) 953-9509 or molly@sitkawild.org.

And don’t forget the Sitka Seafood Festival art and logo contest, so put on your thinking cap and send your camera-ready art entries to 411 Hemlock St., Sitka, AK, 99835, by Aug. 1. There will be a prize for the winning logo. Also, bring your seafood-, ocean- or marine-themed art to the art show Aug. 7 at Harrigan Centennial Hall. For more information, call Jeff Budd at 747-4821 or e-mail sitkaarts@yahoo.com.

To learn more about the Sitka Seafood Festival or to volunteer to help on one of the committees, e-mail sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Peavey at alaska_al33@hotmail.com or 1-928-607-4845.

• Sitka Seafood Festival schedule poster (opens as PDF document)

• Sitka Seafood Festival details (talking points)

• Sitka Seafood Festival sponsors list (please send any corrections to Alicia Peavey)

• Sitka Seafood Festival to hold picnic with Monday’s steering committee meeting

The next meeting of the Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee will feature a picnic in addition to the business part of the meeting. The picnic should help spice up the planning process and boost attendance.

The next steering committee meeting takes place at 7 p.m. on Monday, June 28, at Halibut Point Recreation Area’s main shelter. Participants should bring their own drinks and side dishes. Hamburgers and sausage will be provided.

“We have a few important things to cover, but would just like to get everyone together and get excited about this event that is soon approaching again,” Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee chairperson Alicia Peavey said. “Thanks for everyone’s hard work, I really appreciate it and I do think the festival is going to be amazing thanks to all of you!”

The inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival takes place Friday and Saturday, Aug. 6-7, at Harrigan Centennial Hall and various other places around Sitka. The guest chef is Robert Kinneen of Orso Ristorante in Anchorage, with entertainment provided by the bluegrass band Trampled By Turtles and the four-man juggling, acrobatic, martial arts and comedy troupe “NANDA: Acrobaticalist Ninja Action Heroes.” The basic format of the event features a special dinner on Friday night with a variety of educational events, seafood booths and entertainment all day Saturday.

To learn more about the Sitka Seafood Festival or to volunteer to help on one of the committees, e-mail sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Peavey at alaska_al33@hotmail.com or 1-928-607-4845. The minutes from the June 22 Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee meeting are posted below. The steering committee also will meet at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, July 7, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Sitka Seafood Festival minutes from the June 22, 2010, steering committee meeting

• Jerry Dzugan wins bike in Sitka Seafood Festival raffle

Jerry Dzugan was the big winner in the Sitka Seafood Festival raffle on Sunday, May 9, winning a $550 Specialized Hard Rock Disc Sport mountain bike donated by Eric Haseltine and Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop.

Grace Gjertsen won $125 of king salmon from Moe and Betsy Johnson of the FV Cloud Nine. Winning gift certificates to various local restaurants (with a range of values from $25-$100) were Robert Reed, Liz Garrick, Danny Stockel, Teal West, Mike Hagan, Kaitlyn Resch, Laura Buehler, Tras Master, George Burnstein, Betsy Johnson and Marsh.

In all, the raffle raised about $3,000 for the inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival, which is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Aug. 6-7. Details still are being arranged, but the event will feature a formal catered dinner by a guest chef on Friday night and a full day of events on Saturday. Guest performers included the bluegrass band Trampled By Turtles and the four-man juggling, acrobatic, martial arts and comedy troupe “NANDA: Acrobaticalist Ninja Action Heroes.”

To learn more about the Sitka Seafood Festival or to volunteer to help on one of the committees, e-mail sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Peavey at alaska_al33@hotmail.com or 1-928-607-4845. The minutes from the May 6 Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee meeting are posted below. The next meeting of the steering committee is at 7 p.m. on Thursday, May 20, at the Sitka Fire Station.

The next fundraising event for the Sitka Seafood Festival is the Sitka Culinary Tour on May 21-22, which an event where ticket-holders sample small-plate seafood dishes prepared by the chefs at six different local restaurants. Tickets are $40 per person, available at Old Harbor Books, and they allow you to travel between any of the six participating restaurants from 4-9 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, May 21-22, to sample the dishes. Sitka Culinary Tour tickets also may be sold at SeaMart, so watch for updates. To learn more, contact Linda Olson at 747-6985.

Sitka Seafood Festival raffle thank-you letter and winners’ list

Sitka Culinary Tour flier with menus and participating restaurants

Sitka Seafood Festival information sheet

Sitka Seafood Festival minutes from the May 6, 2010, steering committee meeting