Kenai River Festival canceled

Kenai River Festival canceled

Another summertime event on the Kenai Peninsula has been canceled due to the threat of COVID-19. This time, it’s the annual Kenai River Festival.

The Kenai Watershed Forum, which organizes the event every year, announced the decision Wednesday. The event had been scheduled for June 12 to 14 at Soldotna Creek Park.

“The decision to cancel reflects our organizational values of community and partnerships and prioritizes the health of our families, friends and neighbors throughout Alaska,” the Watershed Forum said in its press release. “We will continue to work together to flatten the curve and protect the things we hold most dear.”

Brandon Bornemann, executive director for the Kenai Watershed Forum, said Wednesday that the decision to cancel the event was not made lightly.

“It was a very hard decision,” Bornemann said. “But I don’t want people to think that the Watershed Forum is in trouble or that the Kenai River Festival is going away. We want to be around for many more years to come.”

This would have been the 29th year for the event, which traditionally brings hundreds of people to Soldotna Creek Park to browse handmade products from local artisans, eat food from local vendors and participate in activities centered around environmental education.

Last year’s event featured a petting zoo, kids games, live music and the release of a juvenile bald eagle back into the wild that had spent a year in rehabilitation at the Bird Treatment and Learning Center in Anchorage.

Bornemann said Wednesday that the organization is looking at other opportunities for educational outreach that can be done while respecting the social distancing mandated by the state.

“Education is a big part of our mission, so we are on the lookout for ways to adapt and be flexible while still providing that education,” Bornemann said. “We’ve got some irons in the fire and our eyes on the future.”

With the cancellation of this year’s event, the staff and board of directors for the Watershed Forum will be shifting their focus to planning the event for 2021, according to the release. Next year will be the Kenai River Festival’s 30th anniversary, and the event is scheduled for June 11 to 13 of 2021.

The Watershed Forum will be working to provide refunds to partners and supporters who had already made commitments for this year’s festival.

For more information on the Kenai Watershed Forum, visit www.kenaiwatershed.org.

The cancellation of the Kenai River Festival adds to a spring and summer that is looking very different for peninsula residents.

The Kenai Peninsula Sport, Rec and Trade Show, which was to be May 1 to 3 at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex, was canceled. The Kenai Peninsula Builders Association Home Show has been postponed to Sept. 12 and 13 at the sports complex.

The Peninsula Oilers have pulled out of the Alaska Baseball League for 2020, while Seward’s Mount Marathon Race will not be held July 4. The date of the race — either Sept. 6 or July 4, 2021 — will be announced June 1.

photos by Brian Mazurek / Peninsula Clarion                                 Cam Choy, Associate Professor of Art at Kenai Peninsula College, works on a salmon sculpture in collaboration with the Kenai Watershed Forum during the Kenai River Festival at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna on June 8, 2019.

photos by Brian Mazurek / Peninsula Clarion Cam Choy, Associate Professor of Art at Kenai Peninsula College, works on a salmon sculpture in collaboration with the Kenai Watershed Forum during the Kenai River Festival at Soldotna Creek Park in Soldotna on June 8, 2019.

More in News

Flowers bloom at Soldotna City Hall on Wednesday, June 24, 2021, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Soldotna OKs bumps to city water, sewer rates

The changes are effective July 1

Triumvirate Theatre President Joe Rizzo testifies before the Kenai Planning & Zoning Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai OKs permit for new Triumvirate playhouse

The playhouse design describes a $4.7 million facility that is two stories with an audience capacity of 150 people

Kenai City Council member Alex Douthit testifies in support of legislation allowing chickens on some city lots during a meeting of the Kenai Planning & Zoning Commission on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai planning group gives conditional thumbs-up to chicken ordinance

The legislation would allow Kenai residents to keep up to 12 chicken hens on certain lots

Emergency personnel respond to a fire on R/V Qualifier, in the Northern Enterprises Boatyard on Kachemak Drive, Jan. 19, 2023, in Homer, Alaska. (Photos by Nika Wolfe)
Research vessel catches fire in Homer boatyard

The cause of the fire and extent of the damage is not yet known

Alaska Vocational Technical Center Executive Director Cathy LeCompte presents during a Soldotna Chamber of Commerce luncheon at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
AVTEC director plugs programming at chamber luncheon

AVTEC is about more, LeCompte said, than just checking off classes to gain certification

From left, Dave Carey, Linda Farnsworth-Hutchings, Zach Hamilton and Peter Micciche participate in a Kenai Peninsula Borough mayor candidate forum on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2023 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Borough mayoral candidates participate in Tuesday forum

The forum was hosted by the Peninsula Clarion and KDLL 91.9 FM in partnership with the Central Peninsula League of Women Voters

A volunteer ladles Hungarian mushroom soup donated by Odie’s at Kenai United Methodist Food Pantry in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, Jan. 23, 2022. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Church food pantry marks 20 years of service

The Food Pantry at Kenai United Methodist Church opened Jan. 26, 2003

Library Director Dave Berry and Advisory Board Chair Kate Finn participate in Library Advisory Board meeting on Tuesday Jan. 17, 2023, at Homer City Hall, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Emilie Springer/Homer News)
Homer Library Advisory Board upholds decision to retain LGBTQ+ books

A citizen’s group last year submitted a petition asking that the books be removed from the children’s section

Most Read