People explore the vendor tents in the parking lot of the Juneau Arts & Culture Center during the Annual Food Festival & Farmer’s Market on Saturday. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

People explore the vendor tents in the parking lot of the Juneau Arts & Culture Center during the Annual Food Festival & Farmer’s Market on Saturday. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

Annual Food Festival features more and varied vendors

Popular JAHC event fills parking lot and interior.

This year the Annual Food Festival & Farmer’s Market was indoors and out, with a total of 40 growers, creators and artisans offering a wide mix of food, crafts, artwork, musical performances, demos and workshops.

“It’s our biggest market of the year,” said Laura Miko, market coordinator and an employee of the Juneau Arts & Humanities Council, which hosts eight other smaller markets over the course of the year.

The event was held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Juneau Arts & Culture Center, and outside in the parking lot between the JACC and Centennial Hall.

“It’s a lovely day for it and a great turnout,” said Miko.

The larger goal of the festival is to encourage local sustainability through backyard gardening and small-business initiatives. It was indoors until COVID-19, Miko said. The first year of the pandemic the festival moved online to less-than-stellar results. The following year it was held outside. It is now a big enough event to be both inside and out, Miko said. There were lots of artisans selling everything from jewelry to woodwork.

But the food offerings were most abundant, starting with the Devil’s Hideaway food truck and meals for sale by Four Plates Cocina outside. Lots of booths featuring fresh local produce, and things like jams and jellies, baked goods, and everything from sourdough starters to carefully fished glacier halibut.

“We’re a local family business,” said Molly Box of Worthy Seafoods, which had a space inside near the back. She proudly displayed frozen halibut caught a couple of weeks earlier in Glacier Bay.

Husband Steve Box, who has a lifetime access permit to fish in Glacier Bay, is the fisherman. Their daughter, Nikki Box, is the deckhand and delivery person. “I’m the hose girl, cleaning things off,” Molly Box said.

The company began direct marketing about three years ago after hearing a lot about the quality of its fish. The secret is taking prompt care of it, cleaning and putting it in slushy ice in the fish hold as soon after being caught as possible, Box said. They also limit the amount of town they are out fishing, so the catch is back soon.

For Juneau Community Charter School, the festival was a way to get the word about the school. “It’s increasing our exposure to the community,” Principal Corey Weiss said. “We use a lot of resources for the community, so this was a way to give back.”

Weiss was joined by at least five parent volunteers and at least one student. He said that involvement was representative of the school itself, which has 77 students and a parent-filled board. The parents organized the bake sale goods being offered to visitors, which included lemon cookies, snickerdoodles, muffins, cupcakes and Rice Krispies Treats.

Auke Bay Yoga, which had a table just inside the main hall, was anchored by instructors Jess Hench and Lisa Ruby.

“We’re having a great time meeting people,” said Ruby, who is in Juneau for a month as a resident teacher. “It’s a nice opportunity. People might not come into the studio to ask questions, but they will come up to talk here.”

• Contact Meredith Jordan at meredith.jordan@juneauempire.com or (907) 615-3190.

Food and other items are offered to people inside the Juneau Arts & Culture Center during the Annual Food Festival & Farmer’s Market on Saturday. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

Food and other items are offered to people inside the Juneau Arts & Culture Center during the Annual Food Festival & Farmer’s Market on Saturday. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

Hundreds of people examine crafts and other items at the Annual Food Festival & Farmer’s Market on Saturday. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

Hundreds of people examine crafts and other items at the Annual Food Festival & Farmer’s Market on Saturday. (Meredith Jordan / Juneau Empire)

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