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

A moose is photographed in Kalifornsky, Alaska, in July 2020. (Peninsula Clarion file)
Illegal moose harvest down from past 5 years

The large majority of moose this year were harvested from North and South Kasilof River areas.

Renee Behymer and Katelyn Behymer (right) of Anchorage win this week’s vaccine lottery college scholarship sweepstakes. (Photo provided)
Dillingham and Anchorage residents win 6th vaccine lottery

“Get it done,” one winner said. “Protect us all, protect our elders and our grandchildren.”

Kenai Vice Mayor and council member Bob Molloy (center), council member Jim Glendening (right), council member Victoria Askin (far right), and council member Henry Knackstedt (far left) participate in a work session discussing the overhaul of Kenai election codes on Wednesday, Sept. 1, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska.
Kenai City Council gives sendoffs, certifies election results

Both council members-elect — Deborah Sounart and James Baisden — attended Wednesday.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
COVID is No. 3 underlying cause of death among Alaskans so far this year

The virus accounted for about 7.5% of all underlying causes of death after a review of death certificates.

Rep. David Eastman, R-Wasilla, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives during a floor debate on Tuesday, Aug. 31, 2021, over an appropriations bill during the Legislature’s third special session of the summer. Multiple organizations reported on Wednesday that Eastman is a lifetime member of the far-right organization the Oath Keepers. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire)
Data leak shows state rep is member of far-right organization

Wasilla area lawmaker said he joined when Oath Keepers first started.

Christine Hutchison, who lives in Kenai and also serves on the Kenai Harbor Commission, testifies in support of the use of alternative treatments for COVID-19 during a meeting of the Kenai City Council on Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021 in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
‘Medical liberty’ petition brought to Kenai City Council

Some members of the public and Kenai City Council spoke against health mandates and in support of alternative treatments for COVID-19

Amber Kraxberger-Linson, a member of Trout Unlimited and streamwatch coordinator for the Chugach National Forest, works in the field in this undated photo. Kraxberger-Linson will be discussing at the Saturday, Oct. 23 International Fly Fishing Film Festival the organization’s educational programming for next summer. (Photo provided by Trout Unlimited)
Out on the water — and on the screen

Trout Unlimited to host fly fishing film festival Saturday.

This screen capture from surveillance footage released by the Anchorage Police Department shows a masked man vandalizing the Alaska Jewish Museum in Anchorage in May. (Courtesy photo / APD)
Museums statewide condemn antisemitic vandalism

Two incidents, one in May, one in September, have marred the museum this year.

Three speech language pathologists with the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District were recognized for excellence during the Alaska Speech-Language-Hearing Association last month. (Kenai Peninsula Borough School District)
Peninsula speech language therapists awarded for excellence

“I was very honored to be recognized by my peers and colleagues,” Evans said in an interview with the Clarion.

Most Read