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 email@example.com or (651)-528-1807.