Clarion file photo In This July 25, 2009 file photo Furry participants in the "Weenies On Parade" entry waddle at double time speed down Binkley Street in Soldotna on Saturday during the Progress Days parade.

Clarion file photo In This July 25, 2009 file photo Furry participants in the "Weenies On Parade" entry waddle at double time speed down Binkley Street in Soldotna on Saturday during the Progress Days parade.

Annual Progress Days celebrates past, present, future

Music, craft, community and history will be among the many things celebrated at this year’s Soldotna Progress Days.

Now in its 56th year, the two-day festival brings thousands of area residents and visitors together to partake in entertainment, competitions, live music and more, all with the goal of commemorating the community and how far it’s come since the city was incorporated in 1960.

Soldotna Chamber of Commerce events coordinator Andy Rash said festival organizers expect between 5,000 and 6,000 community members to participate this year. That’s not including those who participate in numerous events and activities throughout the area not sponsored by the chamber.

“I think what everybody really likes is coming to the festival and seeing their neighbors,” Rash said.

The annual parade will kick off the weekend, with lineup at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the Soldotna High School. The parade will make its way to Binkley Street from 11 a.m. to noon.

Rash said residents will likely see many neighbors and friends running vendor booths throughout the weekend at Soldotna Creek Park.

“We have a lot of craft vendors, a lot of food vendors,” Rash said.

Local organizations wishing to promote upcoming services and events are also known to fill the vendor booths, he said.

Vendor booths will open at 11 a.m. both days of the festival in Soldotna Creek Park. Live music will begin at the same time and last until 10 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday.

“All of our (music) groups are mostly from the local community,” Rash said. “We do have a gal from the Lower 48. She’s up here visiting and she reached out to us.”

In addition to Carol Markstrom, a folk musician all the way from West Virginia, Rash said he thinks people will enjoy the Denali Cooks, a local Alaska band that will play from 8-10 p.m. on Saturday. Residents can also enjoy a beer garden that will open at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The Kenai Peninsula Orchestra will play from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday. All live music is free and open to the public.

Tami Murray, executive director for the chamber, said she is excited to have Progress Days back in the Soldotna Creek Park, a location she said makes it easy for residents to get outside and enjoy the weekend’s activities.

“It’ such a wonderful tradition here that we do in Soldotna,” Murray said. “It’s growing every day.”

Rash said this year’s theme, “Soldotna — Past, Present, Future,” is being carried over from last year because it epitomizes what the festival is about. He said residents enjoy not only remembering the city’s past success, but looking forward to future progress as well.

In addition to vendors and live music, the annual Dutch Oven Competition will take place from 8 a.m. to 4:40 p.m. on Saturday. Adult competitors will cook from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., while junior contestants will cook from 1-4 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for first, second and third place, as well as a novice prize for the adults.

Winners of the Sawfest Chainsaw Carving Competition will be announced at 3 p.m. on Sunday, and will be carving all weekend starting on Friday at the Stanley Chrysler on the Sterling Highway.

The Corvette Car Show will take place from noon to 4p.m. at Hutchings Auto Spa in Soldtona. The annual rodeo will run from Friday through Sunday at the Soldotna Rodeo Grounds.

Reach Megan Pacer at

More in News

The Alaska State Capitol is seen in Juneau, Alaska, in 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Supreme Court rules against forward funding for education, confirms limit on legislative power

Setting multi-year budgets in Alaska requires cash on hand, justices said

Sarah Palin speaks at a July 11 Save America Rally featuring former President Donald Trump at Alaska Airlines Center in Anchorage. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire)
What to watch: Cheney in trouble; Palin eyes comeback

Sarah Palin jumped on a vacancy in the state’s congressional delegation as a potential springboard back into elected office

Assembly members participate during a meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, June 21, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Assembly to revisit gravel pit legislation

A proposed ordinance would overhaul borough code addressing material site permits

Campaign signs decorate the outside of Paradisos Restaurant on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Election 2022: Where, how, when to vote

Polls open at 7 a.m. Tuesday

As measured by the CDC, dispensing rate reflects the number of prescriptions dispensed per 100 persons per year. While the United States’ dispensing rate peaked at 81.3 in 2012, the Kenai Peninsula’s rate was 100 or higher every year between 2001 and 2015. Graphic by Ashlyn O’Hara.
Borough creates grant program to distribute opioid settlement funds

The Kenai Peninsula Borough will offer hundreds of thousands of dollars in… Continue reading

Alaska Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer speaks during a press conference announcing the administration’s push for changes to the state’s election system on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021, in Anchorage, Alaska. (Photo courtesy Kevin Goodman, State of Alaska)
Just 2 Alaska lieutenant governor candidates say 2020 presidential vote was fair

Alaska’s lieutenant governor will oversee the 2024 presidential election

Kenai Peninsula School District Superintendent Clayton Holland stand near the entrance to the district’s Soldotna offices on Thursday, March 17, 2022, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Academics, staff recruitment among district priorities for upcoming school year

The superintendent is ready to see KPBSD return to the district’s pre-COVID-19 academic performance

Raymond Bradbury preserves his salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River on Saturday, July 10, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion file)
Personal use harvest reports due Monday

Northern Kenai fishing report

Evelyn Cooley competes in the barrel race at the Kenai Peninsula Fair on Aug. 12, 2022, in Ninilchik, Alaska. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Music, magic, daredevils and pigs

Kenai Peninsula Fair brings an assortment of activities to Ninilchik

Most Read