Children participate in a painting activity led by Cook Inletkeeper during the Kenai River Fair at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, June 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Children participate in a painting activity led by Cook Inletkeeper during the Kenai River Fair at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, June 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Kenai River Fair debuts with array of activities and education

Previously called the Kenai River Festival, the newly refocused fair featured booths and activities dedicated to education about the outdoors, wildlife and ecosystems

At Soldotna Creek Park on Saturday, the Kenai Watershed Forum debuted their newly refocused Kenai River Fair with booths and activities dedicated to education about the outdoors, wildlife and ecosystems.

Ben Meyer, environmental scientist and water quality coordinator for the forum, was at one table showing children a small aquarium filled with juvenile salmon. The fish had been removed from Soldotna Creek earlier that day, and he said they were predominately, if not entirely, coho salmon.

Nearby, booths were set up to teach children and families about boating safety, recycling, invasive species, salmon life cycles and stream bank rehabilitation. In one tent, kids practiced picking fish from a net; on the other side of the park, they practiced casting with fishing rods under the watchful eye of U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service park rangers.

The forum has put on an early summer event at the park for decades, but it used to be called the Kenai River Festival. Membership and Development Coordinator Sara Aamodt said in late May that the forum was looking to renew the event’s focus on education and recognize how the summer event landscape has changed over the years.

She said it’s still the forum’s largest public event, an opportunity to celebrate summer with the community and showcase the work they do every year. Ahead of the fair, festivities kicked off with the annual Run for the River.

For more information, find “Kenai Watershed Forum” on Facebook.

This story was corrected on July 10. It previously mistakenly said that the juvenile salmon being showcased by Ben Meyer were sockeye. They were silver salmon.

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

Leah Eskelin, a park ranger with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, oversees children as they practice casting during the Kenai River Fair at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, June 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Leah Eskelin, a park ranger with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, oversees children as they practice casting during the Kenai River Fair at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, June 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Ben Meyer, environmental scientist and water quality coordinator for the Kenai Watershed Forum, teaches children about young salmon freshly pulled from Soldotna Creek during the Kenai River Fair at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, June 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Ben Meyer, environmental scientist and water quality coordinator for the Kenai Watershed Forum, teaches children about young salmon freshly pulled from Soldotna Creek during the Kenai River Fair at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, June 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Ben Meyer, environmental scientist and water quality coordinator for the Kenai Watershed Forum, teaches children about young salmon freshly pulled from Soldotna Creek during the Kenai River Fair at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, June 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

Ben Meyer, environmental scientist and water quality coordinator for the Kenai Watershed Forum, teaches children about young salmon freshly pulled from Soldotna Creek during the Kenai River Fair at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna, Alaska, on Saturday, June 7, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)

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