The organizers of Salmonfest are ready to bring the people of Alaska another three days of “fish, love and music” next month, with a cause close to the festival’s namesake.
The festival kicks off at noon Friday, Aug. 3 at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds in Ninilchik. Tickets and passes are still on sale online at salmonfestalaska.org.
Now in its eighth year, the festival has been operating as Salmonfest under the direction and production of Jim Stearns since 2015. Previously Salmonstock, the festival was inspired by a fight against the proposed Pebble Mine project. When it appeared an environmentalist victory had been won for the time being, the festival changed course and leadership and became Salmonfest.
When the issue of the proposed Pebble Mine reared its head again recently, it looked like that might be the focus of this year’s festival, bringing the three-day event back to its roots.
Stearns said those involved with the festival were geared up for a fight, but that when a major partner in the project pulled out in May, the mine was no longer front and center.
The focus of this year’s educational aspect of the festival will be the “Stand for Salmon” initiative, a ballot proposition that would revise much of Alaska’s statute regarding protections for anadromous streams.