The crowd can be seen from the main stage at Kenai’s Industry Appreciation Day at the Kenai Park Strip on Aug. 24, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

The crowd can be seen from the main stage at Kenai’s Industry Appreciation Day at the Kenai Park Strip on Aug. 24, 2019. (Photo by Brian Mazurek/Peninsula Clarion)

Industry Appreciation Day to bring free food, fun to Kenai on Saturday

The event started more than 30 years ago and is “a free picnic” at its heart

Industry Appreciation Day will be held Saturday in Kenai at the softball greenstrip. The event offers free food, games and attractions in a celebration of local industries — oil and gas, commercial fishing, tourism and health care.

Longtime organizer Tim Navarre said Friday that the event started more than 30 years ago and is “a free picnic” at its heart.

“You can leave your wallet at home, your kids can run around the park and the whole works — they won’t come back and say ‘I need a dollar to get cotton candy,’” he said. “Everything’s free. … It’s a great community event.”

There will be burgers and hotdogs, pulled pork sliders and barbecued salmon. Navarre said the event itself provides the burgers and dogs, cooked by the local Fraternal Order of Eagles on grills donated by Marathon. The pork sliders will come from a pig raised by the local Kenai Peninsula District 4-H. Members of the United Cook Inlet Drift Association will grill salmon donated by Alaska Salmon Alliance. Donated soda will be served by members of the Kenai Christian Church.

Navarre said a lot of the fixings — buns, ketchup, tomatoes and onions — as well as other giveaway items like bikes are donated by businesses locally, including Peterkin Distributors, Country Foods, McDonald’s and Walmart.

The frozen T-shirt contest will also return. Navarre explained that kids will take the frozen shirts and bang them against nearby surfaces. The winner will be the first to unfurl and attire themselves in the chilly tee. There will also be a fishing game — run by the Kenai Peninsula Fishermen’s Association, and “bouncy” fun for kids.

New this year is a car show put on by Freddie Pollard Sr., Navarre said, who will be bringing “upwards of 50-plus cars.” LifeMed will also be attending with one of their helicopters available for viewing.

During the festivities, 12 awards will be given out, including two “special awards” — the Don Gilman Award and the Innovator Award. The 10 other awards with celebrate people from four industries represented at the event — oil and gas, commercial fishing, tourism and health care.

Navarre said that the event is “boroughwide.” Representatives will be present from around the peninsula — not just Kenai and Soldotna — and awards would similarly consider businesses and work being done around the wider area.

“It’s a lot of little pieces, and it all comes together,” Navarre said. “People just have a fun time.”

For more information about Industry Appreciation Day, visit facebook.com/IndustryAppreciationDay.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story incorrectly said that Industry Appreciation Day would be celebrated on Sunday. The event is Saturday, Aug. 19

Reach reporter Jake Dye at jacob.dye@peninsulaclarion.com.

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