Dozens of vendors and thousands of people were on hand for the 11th Juneau Maritime Festival held Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Dozens of vendors and thousands of people were on hand for the 11th Juneau Maritime Festival held Saturday, June 19, 2021. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Juneau has a merry time at outdoor festival

11th Maritime Festival among first major in-person events in the city since the pandemic.

A picturesque day, a full schedule of events and dozens of vendors drew thousands of people to downtown Juneau’s waterfront.

The 11th Juneau Maritime Festival, a celebration of maritime history, culture and commerce hosted by Juneau Economic Development Council, was held Saturday. The festival, which took place on the deckover near the Downtown Public Library, is among the first large, in-person events to be held in the capital city since the pandemic.

“It’s so nice,” said Marjorie John, during a short interview following 8-year-old Mason John’s victory in a pool noodle boat race. John said she remembered seeing a question posted to social media asking whether the event should be held in-person. “I’m so glad that they did.”

Mason John, 8, huffs and puss his noodle boat toward the finish line at the 11th Juneau Maritime Festival. For his efforts, John was awarded pirate gold that could be exchanged for a prize. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Mason John, 8, huffs and puss his noodle boat toward the finish line at the 11th Juneau Maritime Festival. For his efforts, John was awarded pirate gold that could be exchanged for a prize. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

With new cases down and both temperatures and vaccination rates rising, the event drew a crowd.

“Turnout to this point has been fantastic, said Brian Holst, executive director of JEDC.

Holst said while it was tough to provide something more concrete than an estimate for attendance while the event was in progress said it appeared comparable to the 2018 edition of the event, which attracted over 5,000 people. The number of vendors present was certainly up from previous years. There were 56 vendors at the festival, and Holst said in past years, there have been about 40 vendors.

“People are ready to come together as a community,” Holst said. “It’s been a wonderful day.”

More vendors than ever were part of the 11th edition of the Juneau Maritime Festival held Saturday, according to Juneau Economic Development Council executive director Brian Holst. In total, there were 56 vendors at this year’s event. Holst said about 40 vendors had been a typical number at past iterations of the event that celebrates Juneau’s maritime culture. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

More vendors than ever were part of the 11th edition of the Juneau Maritime Festival held Saturday, according to Juneau Economic Development Council executive director Brian Holst. In total, there were 56 vendors at this year’s event. Holst said about 40 vendors had been a typical number at past iterations of the event that celebrates Juneau’s maritime culture. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

The day included live music, maritime-related contests, food, a water rescue demonstration by the U.S. Coast Guard and cultural celebrations among other activities.

Nancy Barnes of the multi-cultural dance group Yèes Ku.oo Dancers said the Juneau Maritime Festival represented the first return to in-person performance for the dancers.

The Yèes Ku.oo Dancers perform near the beginning of the 11th Juneau Maritime Festival. The event, among the first large, in-person events to be held in the capital city since the pandemic marked a return to live performing for the multi-cultural dance group. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

The Yèes Ku.oo Dancers perform near the beginning of the 11th Juneau Maritime Festival. The event, among the first large, in-person events to be held in the capital city since the pandemic marked a return to live performing for the multi-cultural dance group. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

“I thought I’d be nervous, but I wasn’t,” said Ralphenia Dybdahl, another member of the dance group.

They said the return to performing and the sense of community that comes with it were welcome.

“This group here is like a family really,” Barnes said. “Everybody is just dying to dance.”

See more photos from the festival below

• Contact Ben Hohenstatt at (907)308-4895 or bhohenstatt@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BenHohenstatt

Cece Unick stands to dance during the multicultural Yèes Ku.oo Dancers’ performance of “Wooshkeetaan Love Song” during the 11th edition of the Juneau Maritime Festival. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Cece Unick stands to dance during the multicultural Yèes Ku.oo Dancers’ performance of “Wooshkeetaan Love Song” during the 11th edition of the Juneau Maritime Festival. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

The One People Canoe Society and passengers make their way to Harris Harbor on Saturday during the Juneau Maritime Festival. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

The One People Canoe Society and passengers make their way to Harris Harbor on Saturday during the Juneau Maritime Festival. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Onlookers watch a U.S. Coast Guard rescue demonstration Saturday in the Gastineau Channel during the 11th Juneau Maritime Festival. The event attracted thousands of people to Juneau for one of the first large, in-person events to be held in the capital city since the pandemic. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Onlookers watch a U.S. Coast Guard rescue demonstration Saturday in the Gastineau Channel during the 11th Juneau Maritime Festival. The event attracted thousands of people to Juneau for one of the first large, in-person events to be held in the capital city since the pandemic. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Caroline Wadlow, 6, reacts to the noise of a Coast Guard water rescue demonstration during the 11th edition of the Juneau Maritime Festival. (Ben Hohensatt / Juneau Empire)

Caroline Wadlow, 6, reacts to the noise of a Coast Guard water rescue demonstration during the 11th edition of the Juneau Maritime Festival. (Ben Hohensatt / Juneau Empire)

The U.S. Coast Guard demonstrated a water rescue in the Gastineau Channel during the 11th edition of the Juneau Maritime Festival. However, before a person could be retrieved from the water, they had to make a splashy entrance. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

The U.S. Coast Guard demonstrated a water rescue in the Gastineau Channel during the 11th edition of the Juneau Maritime Festival. However, before a person could be retrieved from the water, they had to make a splashy entrance. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Based on the attendance of past festivals, organizers of the 11th Juneau Maritime Festival estimated over 5,000 people showed up for the event celebrating Juneau’s maritime culture. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

Based on the attendance of past festivals, organizers of the 11th Juneau Maritime Festival estimated over 5,000 people showed up for the event celebrating Juneau’s maritime culture. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire)

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