Friday, August 20, 2010

Celebrate salmon

Sockeye returns lauded with annual festival


By KATHERINE WUTZ
Express Staff Writer

Courtesy photo Hobby Hevewah, right, and assistant begin Salmon Festival activities with a ritual blessing that includes a ceremonial fire with cedar chips and an eagle feather. The blessing will occur as part of the festival opening ceremonies on Saturday, Aug. 28.

More than 2,000 people are expected to celebrate record sockeye returns by attending the 11th annual Sawtooth Salmon Festival in Stanley's town center park next weekend.

The record returns make this year's festival especially exciting, said Idaho Rivers United spokesman Jeff Cole, as Fish and Game biologists will actually be able to show event attendees the spawning sockeye.

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The event will officially begin with opening ceremonies on Friday, Aug. 27, including a Native American blessing of the sockeye. Children's activities will include storytelling and gyotaku, an art form that uses fish (rubber, in this case) to make a print on paper. Saturday will culminate in a wild salmon dinner. The dinner, held from 6-8 p.m., is the only event that requires a ticket, $15 for adults and $10 for children. The fish, Cole said, were caught in Alaska, where salmon are not endangered.

"People always say, 'Why are you eating salmon? I thought you were trying to save them!'" Cole said. "I wish more people would eat wild salmon. It would make people more interested in protecting them."

Those interested in the cultural and historical significance of salmon can also attend the Salmon Quest exhibit at 7 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 27, at the Stanley Community Center. Former Fish and Game fisheries biologist Bert Bowler will give a multi-media presentation on the history of the salmon population and its decline.

Event activities run from 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Saturday and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday. For more information, visit the festival website at www.sawtoothsalmonfestival.com.

Katherine Wutz: kwutz@mtexpress.com




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