Industry Appreciation Day celebrates area businesses

Cody Schaefer, left, and Shayla Smith compete against each other in a net pull at Industry Appreciation Day on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

Cody Schaefer, left, and Shayla Smith compete against each other in a net pull at Industry Appreciation Day on Saturday, Aug. 26, 2017 in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Kat Sorensen/Peninsula Clarion)

The community is invited to feast on a roasted pig from the local 4-H club, 360 pounds of salmon fillets, hamburgers, hot dogs, watermelon and more at this year’s Industry Appreciation Day.

The event that began as an opportunity to honor industries important to the Kenai Peninsula economy — which still includes booths from a variety of companies and organizations across the peninsula — has turned into a large community picnic.

“It’s one opportunity to come out and have a nice family picnic,” Tim Dillon, executive director of Kenai Peninsula Economic Development District Inc., said. “Leave your wallet at home.”

When the event began 27 years ago, the oil and gas industries were the main highlight. Since then, commercial fishing and tourism have joined in. Last year, the health care industry was also added to the list.

“This is an opportunity to say thank you to the industries that help Kenai run,” Dillon said.

The frozen T-Shirt contest, an Industry Appreciation Day mainstay for the children, will be expanded this year with an adult contest.

There’s still plenty for kids to do. With a variety of games and prizes, Dillon said no kid will go home empty-handed.

There will be raffle drawings throughout the event. Participants have the opportunity to win seafood, airline tickets and other merchandise. Dillon said many people come out for the bike raffle, where 24 bikes and helmets will be raffled off to attending kids.

The event hosts an awards ceremony where they honor local businesses and community members. Local politicians, state governors and lawmakers are also often in attendance. Dillon encourages people to bring their kids, but said dogs are best left at home.

The event runs from 12–4 p.m. Saturday at the Kenai Park Strip, 400 Main Street Loop, next to the softball fields.

Reach Victoria Petersen at vpetersen@peninsulaclarion.com.

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