Fair winds and sunny skies greeted hundreds of Juneau residents and tourists to Juneau Maritime Festival 2022.
The festival, meant to recognize the bounty the sea brings to Juneau and its industries, saw dozens of sponsors and stallholders at Elizabeth Peratrovich Plaza on the waterfront, said Downtown Business Association Alex Vrabec.
“A big part of the Maritime Festival is celebrating the maritime industry,” Vrabec said in an interview. “I would say the enthusiasm is totally there. People are ready to come out again.”
The festival came after the annual Blessing of the Fleet, held earlier in morning down the dock from the festival location.
Juneau generated more than $250 million in harvest from the sea in 2018, according to the Juneau Economic Development Council, which equates to nearly 15% of Alaska’s total harvest.
From the U.S. Coast Guard and the Navy enjoying a tug-of-war competition to the Yées Ḵu.oo dance group celebrating a landing by the One People Canoe Society to a demonstration by an MH-60 Jayhawk from Coast Guard Air Station Sitka, people had plenty to watch.
“It’s great,” said Brian Holst, executive director of JEDC, which organizes the festival. “We filled up the vendors.”
Three ships in port meant more than a few curious tourists amongst the booths as sun and breeze brought out residents as well. Representatives of Alaska Airlines, KTOO, the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, Alaska Seafood and local unions such as Juneau’s chapter of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers came out with tents to greet guests.
“It’s a great turnout today and it just started,” Vrabec said at the beginning of the event. “We’re expecting three to five thousand people today.”
In 2018, Juneau had nearly 2,500 resident fishing vessels and more than 4,400 resident fishermen, according to JEDC. Its primary catches were salmon, halibut, crab and sablefish.
“This is totally nonprofit — we rely on sponsors and volunteers,” Vrabec said. “We work with Docks and Harbors. This is their property and we work very closely with them to make this event happen.”
The Coast Guard eventually triumphed over the Navy and Docks and Harbors in the tug-of-war as the festival ended.
• Contact reporter Michael S. Lockett at 757-621-1197 or firstname.lastname@example.org.