Record breaking turnout

Record breaking turnout

The Kenai Peninsula Tourism & Marketing Council (KPTMC) hosted a record breaking sold out event at the Soldotna Regional Sports Complex February 13th. With three other major events happening the same evening including a large turnout for Forever Dance Alaska’s presentation of “The Traveler” at the Renee C. Henderson auditorium and the Roaring 20’s retro fund raiser at the Kenai Senior Center the Taste of the Kenai at its new location exceeded all expectations according to Shannon Davis, KPTMC executive director. “We had a record number of vendors and a record number attendees and a record number of square feet as moved over the ice in the arena of the Regional Sports Complex,” she said. Over 320 ticket holders visited 22 vendors and cast their ballots for their favorite entrée, desert and drink. The taste preferences of the people showed consistency this year as both the best entrée and dessert were repeat winners this year. Going home with the People’s Choice for best Entrée plaque to proudly display at their restaurants were The Firehouse Barbeque and One Crazy Cupcake.

“It’s just about comfort food, good old fashioned home cooked food and winning this award two years in a row so validates what we do ” said owner Terry Johnston in an interview with the Dispatch after he and his wife Michell happily received the award for the Firehouse team. The Firehouse BBQ is located at K-Beach Rd. and Poppy Lane across from Big Johns and is open year round, “All of meat is smoked over mesquite wood that we have shipped up from Texas to get that authentic southern style flavor six days a week we are working from 5:00am to eight o’clock at night to keep our customers who we call our carnivores happy, we’re about keeping the locals happy and well fed for a reasonable price,” said Terri.

Sierra Lehl of “One Crazy Cupcake” who just opened a store front last July after starting her business at home was excited to win for the second straight year, “I’m thrilled, it validates everything I do. Winning last year increased my business which let me open a full sit down café in Kenai next to Wells Fargo where we feature a full case of cupcakes every day. We also host birthday parties or will pre-order whatever you need for party at home,” said Lehl.

Becoming a People’s Choice winner for the best drink this year for the first time was Bill and Dorothy from Bear Creek Winery in Homer. “We’re really happy! We’ve been participating in this event since it started and to take home our first win is very gratifying,” said Fry. Bill says he got the idea to start a winery in Homer from a friend in Kachemak Bay, “They were having a pot luck with smoked turkey and rhubarb wine and I really liked it so I bought the book ‘Alaska Back Yard Wines’ so I started making wines in my garage and people were loving it so we went commercial and have been doing great ever since,” he said. Bear Creek Winery bought 35,000 lbs. of local blueberries, raspberries and rhubarb according to Fry, “We make those into country wines and then we buy grape juice to ferment and blend them together as well as standalone vintages, it’s been a learn as we go experience and we appreciate all the people’s support of our venture,” said Fry. Bear Creek Winery wines are available at most local outlets or you can visit their tasting room in Homer.

Davis sees the coming tourist season as one that will break all records, “We certainly meet our capacity on the Peninsula in July,” she said, “but we have a lot of capacity that we can fill in our shoulder seasons KPTMC’s job is to market and bring people here but we are very aware that we don’t need more visitors in the peak season so we really concentrate on the spring, fall and even the winter seasons,” said Davis.

Record breaking turnout
Record breaking turnout
Record breaking turnout
Record breaking turnout
Record breaking turnout

More in News

In this Aug. 26, 2020, file photo, U.S. Rep. Don Young, an Alaska Republican, speaks during a ceremony in Anchorage, Alaska. The longest-serving Republican in the U.S. House is appearing in a new round of ads urging Alaskans to get vaccinated against COVID-19. Ads featuring Young are being paid for by the Conquer COVID Coalition, Young spokesperson Zack Brown said by email Monday, Oct. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Mark Thiessen, File)
Young urges vaccination in new ads

Young, 88, “believes the vaccines are safe, effective and can help save lives.”

A portable sign on the Sterling Highway advertises a Pfizer COVID-19 vaccinaton booster clinic held 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Friday, Oct. 15, 2021, at Homer High School in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
What you need to know about boosters

COVID-19 vaccine eligibility explained

Damage in a corner on the inside of the middle and high school building of Kachemak Selo School Nov. 12, 2019, in Kachemak Selo, Alaska. (Photo by Victoria Petersen/Peninsula Clarion)
Repair costs rise as school facilities deteriorate

About $420 million worth of maintenance is needed at Kenai Peninsula Borough School District buildings.

Department of Public Safety Commissioner James Cockrell (center) presents Wildlife Trooper Laura Reid (left) with a Life-Saving Award for her efforts in rescuing a child from the Kenai River offshore of North Kenai Beach this summer, during a ceremony held by Gov. Mike Dunleavy on Oct. 13, 2021. Reid and Kenai River dipnetter Antoine Aridou (far right) rescued the 12-year-old on July 29, 2021. (Photo provided by the Office of the Governor)
Governor recognizes dipnetter, trooper for summer rescue

Wildlife Trooper Laura Reid received a Life-Saving Award and Antoine Aridou received a Governor’s Commendation.

COVID-19 (Image courtesy CDC)
State reports 3 more COVID deaths, more than 900 cases

The newly reported deaths push Alaska’s total to 594 COVID fatalities since the beginning of the pandemic.

In this July 1908 photograph provided by the U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office, the U.S. Revenue Cutter Bear sits at anchor while on Bering Sea Patrol off Alaska. The wreckage of the storied vessel, that served in two World Wars and patrolled frigid Arctic waters for decades, has been found, the Coast Guard said Tuesday, Oct. 12, 2021. (U.S. Coast Guard Historian’s Office via AP)
Coast Guard: Wreck found in Atlantic is storied cutter Bear

The ship performed patrols in waters off Alaska for decades.

The Federal Aviation Administration released an initiative to improve flight safety in Alaska for all aviation on Oct. 14, 2021. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
FAA releases Alaska aviation safety initiatives

The recommendations, covering five areas, range from improvements in hardware to data-gathering.

Most Read