Hundreds walk the waterfront near Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza Saturday afternoon during the 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Hundreds walk the waterfront near Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza Saturday afternoon during the 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

13th annual Maritime Festival welcomes record-breaking number of vendors

Hundreds flocked to Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza on the Saturday afternoon.

Hundreds of Juneau residents and visitors were greeted with warm weather and a bright sunny sky as they walked from vendor to vendor along the waterfront and Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza to celebrate the 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival.

The event, organized for the 13th year by the Juneau Economic Development Council, is a celebration of the variety of maritime industries and organizations that call Juneau and Southeast Alaska home.

The festival came after the annual Blessing of the Fleet, held earlier in the morning down the dock from the festival location. The ships in port on Saturday included the Carnival Spirit, Carnival Luminosa and Solstice.

According to Brian Holst, the executive director of the JEDC, the day saw an “excellent turnout.”

“It’s just a happy event and a beautiful day to do it,” he said.

Holst said this year the festival welcomed a record-breaking 69 local and Alaska-based vendors to set up shop for the day, along with inviting Indigenous dancers, local singers and bands and hosting a handful of activities like tug-of-war and a coast guard rescue demo.

According to a 2018 study by the JEDC, Juneau alone generated more than $250 million in harvest from the sea, which equates to nearly 15% of Alaska’s total harvest.

When the event first started more than a decade ago, it only had 20 vendors. Now, even as it has grown more than three times its size, Holst said the mission of the event — raising more awareness and appreciation to the ocean economy of Juneau and the importance of supporting maritime commerce — remains the same.

Mike Brewer, the smokehouse manager at Taku Smokeries, agreed. While the sun beamed down, Brewer, along with a handful of other Taku employees spent the more than six-hour event both filleting and cooking fresh yellow-eye rockfish and sockeye salmon to give out for free to the festival-goers. He said it’s important to share with others how special it is to have these quality ocean goods so close to home.

“We’re having a blast, it’s just so much fun and you meet all types of people — locals and tourists,” he said. “We’ll be here all day till we run out.”

• Contact reporter Clarise Larson at clarise.larson@juneauempire.com or (651)-528-1807.

See photos from the event below.

Carcasses of yelloweye rockfish glimmer in the sunlight after being filleted during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. The fish was cooked and handed out for free by Taku Smokeries throughout the event. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Carcasses of yelloweye rockfish glimmer in the sunlight after being filleted during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. The fish was cooked and handed out for free by Taku Smokeries throughout the event. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

From left to right, seniors Eli Crupi, Lake Bartlett, Aidan Kovach, Brandon Campbell, Jack Schwarting and Finn Kesey perform on stage during the 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. The band, known as the Radio Flyers, have been playing together since they were in the 5th grade. The performance Saturday was one of the band’s last together before the members leave for college. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

From left to right, seniors Eli Crupi, Lake Bartlett, Aidan Kovach, Brandon Campbell, Jack Schwarting and Finn Kesey perform on stage during the 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. The band, known as the Radio Flyers, have been playing together since they were in the 5th grade. The performance Saturday was one of the band’s last together before the members leave for college. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Sloane, a 7-month-old dog, hangs out with her owner Dave Kovach while attending the 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Sloane, a 7-month-old dog, hangs out with her owner Dave Kovach while attending the 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Ernesy Guldin with Alaska Glacier Seafood fillets yelloweye rockfish to be cooked and handed out for free by Taku Smokeries during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Ernesy Guldin with Alaska Glacier Seafood fillets yelloweye rockfish to be cooked and handed out for free by Taku Smokeries during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Hundreds of people gather near the stage during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. The event featured multiple musical performances by local bands and singers. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Hundreds of people gather near the stage during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. The event featured multiple musical performances by local bands and singers. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Garrison McNeill, 5, kicks high as he attempts the one-foot high kick at a booth hosted by the Team Juneau Native Group Olympics team. Coach Matthew Quinto said the group’s booth was set up to invite youth to try out the sport and learn more about the team. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Garrison McNeill, 5, kicks high as he attempts the one-foot high kick at a booth hosted by the Team Juneau Native Group Olympics team. Coach Matthew Quinto said the group’s booth was set up to invite youth to try out the sport and learn more about the team. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

A robot built by students from the Capital City Dynamics Robotics Club at Juneau-Douglas High School:Yadaa.at Kalé drives around Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza Saturday afternoon during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival. Junior Paul King and freshman James Rosson were collecting donations throughout the event as they drove their creation. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

A robot built by students from the Capital City Dynamics Robotics Club at Juneau-Douglas High School:Yadaa.at Kalé drives around Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza Saturday afternoon during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival. Junior Paul King and freshman James Rosson were collecting donations throughout the event as they drove their creation. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Jared Jerabek with Alaska Glacier Seafood fillets sockeye salmon to be cooked and handed out for free by Taku Smokeries during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Jared Jerabek with Alaska Glacier Seafood fillets sockeye salmon to be cooked and handed out for free by Taku Smokeries during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Jared Jerabek with Alaska Glacier Seafood fillets sockeye salmon to be cooked and handed out for free by Taku Smokeries during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

Jared Jerabek with Alaska Glacier Seafood fillets sockeye salmon to be cooked and handed out for free by Taku Smokeries during 2023 Juneau Maritime Festival Saturday afternoon at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza. (Clarise Larson / Juneau Empire)

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