Nicole Flake, left, of Taku Smokeries, competes against Saul De La Mora, of Alaska Glacier Seafoods, in the professional fish filleting contest during the 2015 Juneau Maritime Festival at Marine Park in May 2015. Three people from each seafood processer competed to fillet two coho salmon and were judged for time and accuracy.

Nicole Flake, left, of Taku Smokeries, competes against Saul De La Mora, of Alaska Glacier Seafoods, in the professional fish filleting contest during the 2015 Juneau Maritime Festival at Marine Park in May 2015. Three people from each seafood processer competed to fillet two coho salmon and were judged for time and accuracy.

Juneau Maritime Festival to feature 300 lbs. of fish and so much more

The Juneau Maritime Festival is a free, family event and a celebration of all things maritime, said coordinator Dana Herndon with the Juneau Economic Development Council.

“The idea behind it is to celebrate one of Juneau’s strongest industries and the different aspects of it ­— maritime history, maritime culture and maritime commerce. All of those affect Juneau in a very strong way,” she said.

[Photos from last year’s Maritime Festival.]

The Maritime Festival takes place at Marine Park downtown. It opens at 11 a.m. with the One People Canoe Society padding over from Douglas Island and a “Warming of the Hands” ceremony with the Yees Ku Oo dancers, Herndon said.

Activities include a U.S. Coast Guard search and rescue demo, fillet and marinade contests, Southeast Alaska Sailing regatta in Gastineau Channel, Taku Tote Races, a survival suit contest, tug-o-war and live music. Juneau Port Director Carl Uchytil is offering tours of the city’s new cruise ship dock starting at 1 p.m.

As usual, Taku Smokeries and Alaska Glacier Seafoods are donating hundreds of pounds of fish ­— 300 pounds, said Herndon — for attendees to sample, “so we always have fresh seafood grilled.”

Herndon said this year’s festival will feature “an abundance” of children activities, like a bounce house, carnival games, Historical “I-Spy” with Juneau-Douglas City Museum and DIPAC’s touch tank. Juneau Public Libraries plans to have scheduled storytelling at its booth every hour starting at 11:30 a.m.

While one cruise ship is scheduled to be docked Saturday afternood, Herndon said the Maritime Festival is geared toward local Juneau residents.

“We want to provide a fun festival downtown for locals to enjoy,” she said.

Besides samples of grilled fish, Herndon said other food options will be available including Fatmo’s BBQ, Front Street Café and Gla-Scholl Grinds Shave Ice. Alaskan Brewing will have a beer garden set up.

Maritime Festival runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. “It’s rain or shine. We’ll be there no matter what,” Herndon said.

A fundraiser for the free festival — “Port to Starboard” progressive dinner — is taking place from 6-9 p.m. Friday. It’s a walking, eating and drinking tour organized by Juneau Food Tours’ Kelly “Midgi” Moore. It’ll start with a cocktail and small bites at Red Dog Saloon, then another cocktail and appetizers at Twisted Fish with the main meal and another cocktail at the Timberline Bar & Grill. Tickets are still available. Each costs $95 and includes food, drinks, entertainment and a tram ticket.

For the first time this year, the annual Maritime Festival is taking place on the same day as Alaska Commercial Fishermen’s Memorial’s Blessing of the Fleet and Dedication of Names.

The 26th annual event will precede the festival, starting at 10 a.m. at the Memorial Wall across from Taku Smokeries.

The ceremony, which usually lasts between 45 minutes to an hour, will include a speech by Juneau Mayor Ken Koelsch. Resurrection Lutheran Church Pastor Suellen Bahleda will conduct the invocation and the blessing of the fleet, F/V Trinity will lay the wreath and Carl Brodersen will do the dedication and the reading of the names.

New names added to the Memorial Wall are Charlie Polk, Ronald John Jr., William Newman, Gordon Hallum, late Juneau Mayor Greg Fisk, Walter Baldwin, Joe Bennett Jr. and Patrick Venner. The blessing will also be broadcast on VHF Channel 10.

For more information on the Maritime Festival, go to jedc.org/maritimefestival/.

• Contact reporter Lisa Phu at 523-2246 or lisa.phu@juneauempire.com.

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