Mother Nature shines on Soldotna's 55th Progress Days

Mother Nature shines on Soldotna’s 55th Progress Days

With rainy days on both sides of the Soldotna Progress Days weekend Mother Nature proved again this year that she smiles upon the hard work of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce and all the volunteers who sponsor the annual festival. From politicians running for offices to equestrian trick riders from the Soldotna Equestrian Association to the Kaknu Kruzers and Anchorage Corvette clubs everyone was happy to see the skies clear by the time the Progress Days parade got underway. Following the parade an estimated 2,000 visitors gathered at the Soldotna Little League Park where music and the aromas of the State Championship Dutch Oven competition filled the air as wood chips flew and chain saws hummed during the annual Sawfest chainsaw carving exhibition. The demonstration included a remake of the Les Anderson and his world record king salmon carving by Scott Hansen that was vandalized and ruined earlier this year. “Out of bad things sometimes good things come and I feel this new carving is better than the old one,” said Hansen who started the first Sawfest at his Town of Living Trees in Sterling. Hansen’s carving ended up winning the People’s Choice award. “I started out one day when I had a dead tree in my yard so I picked up my dad’s chainsaw and proceeded to wreck it, but kept practicing and teaching myself how to carve,” said Hansen whose custom works can now be found around the world.

Meanwhile as the sawdust flew and vendors offered a variety of tasty foods, Ricky Gease, executive director of the Kenai River Sportfishing Assoc. and his father was teaching youngsters how to properly process fresh caught sockeye salmon, “We came out to celebrate Sen. Ted Stevens Day because he was so essential in developing and serving Alaska during our first fifty years as a state and he loved to fish. Salmon is such an abundant resource for Alaskans but it’s not just about the fun of catching salmon we wanted to demonstrate the variety of ways to process without wasting the resource from filets to steaks, to strips to canning or freezing. There are a lot of techniques and recipes from smoking to preparing fish head soup which is considered my many a delicacy and we’re demonstrating that here today,” said Gease. “I love salmon and I wouldn’t waste a bit,” said 8-year-old Laura, “I’m learning a lot here today.”

When the State Championship Dutch Oven judges finished tasting and scoring this year’s entries, Carla Anderson and her partner Allison was once again crowned champion in the Adult Division and will be eligible to compete at the World Dutch Oven Championships in Utah later this year. “It was a surprise to me because I had some trouble this year with uneven temperatures and didn’t even go over to hear the results. I have been to the world championships twice and am getting better each time but didn’t feel my effort today was up to my standards, but am happy the judges liked it,” said Carla. Coming in 2nd was the team of Julie Saltz & Toni Cooper followed by Jonas Wickstrom & Sebastian Gabriel. In the Junior Division ages 12-17 Anna Henderson & Macady Musgrave took first place honors and in the Junior Mini Division ages 6-11 Will Anderson & Parker Kincaid won their first championship.

For more photos and a complete listing of all Progress Days winners visit the Soldotna Chamber’s Facebook page. “Thank you to everyone who participated, volunteered and sponsored Soldotna Progress Days! It was a great weekend of fun had by all,” said Soldotna Chamber executive director Michelle Glaves.

Mother Nature shines on Soldotna's 55th Progress Days
Mother Nature shines on Soldotna's 55th Progress Days
Mother Nature shines on Soldotna's 55th Progress Days
Mother Nature shines on Soldotna's 55th Progress Days
Mother Nature shines on Soldotna's 55th Progress Days
Mother Nature shines on Soldotna's 55th Progress Days
Mother Nature shines on Soldotna's 55th Progress Days
Mother Nature shines on Soldotna's 55th Progress Days
Mother Nature shines on Soldotna's 55th Progress Days

More in News

LaDawn Druce asks Sen. Jesse Bjorkman a question during a town hall event on Saturday, Feb. 25, 2023, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
District unions call for ‘walk-in’ school funding protest

The unions have issued invitations to city councils, the borough assembly, the Board of Education and others

tease
House District 6 race gets 3rd candidate

Alana Greear filed a letter of intent to run on April 5

Kenai City Hall is seen on Feb. 20, 2020, in Kenai, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Kenai water treatment plant project moves forward

The city will contract with Anchorage-based HDL Engineering Consultants for design and engineering of a new water treatment plant pumphouse

Students of Soldotna High School stage a walkout in protest of the veto of Senate Bill 140 in front of their school in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
SoHi students walk out for school funding

The protest was in response to the veto of an education bill that would have increased school funding

The Kenai Courthouse as seen on Monday, July 3, 2023, in Kenai, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Clam Gulch resident convicted of 60 counts for sexual abuse of a minor

The conviction came at the end of a three-week trial at the Kenai Courthouse

The Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly meets in Seward, Alaska, on Tuesday, April 16, 2024. (screenshot)
Borough awards contract for replacement of Seward High School track

The project is part of a bond package that funds major deferred maintenance projects at 10 borough schools

Kenai Peninsula Education Association President LaDawn Druce, left, and committee Chair Jason Tauriainen, right, participate in the first meeting of the Kenai Peninsula Borough School District’s Four Day School Week Ad Hoc Committee on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2024, in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
4-day school week committee talks purpose of potential change, possible calendar

The change could help curb costs on things like substitutes, according to district estimates

A studded tire is attached to a very cool car in the parking lot of the Peninsula Clarion in Kenai, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Studded tire removal deadline extended

A 15-day extension was issued via emergency order for communities above the 60 degrees latitude line

A sign for Peninsula Community Health Services stands outside their facility in Soldotna, Alaska, on Monday, April 15, 2024. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
PCHS to pursue Nikiski expansion, moves to meet other community needs

PCHS is a private, nonprofit organization that provides access to health care to anyone in the community

Most Read