Cordova Hosts Multi-event Festival to Celebrate Wild Copper River Salmon
Salmon mascott and Dana Smyke
Photo: Cordova Arts Council
At the peak of the season’s salmon migrations, Cordova invites you to gather for a jam-packed July weekend to celebrate their famous Copper River wild salmon. The tenth annual Copper River WILD! Salmon Festival proclaims the good news of salmon in food, music, arts and education for kids and families; not to mention the annual Alaska Salmon Runs marathon & fun runs.
Thursday night kicks off the weekend with the Taste of Cordova at the Orca Lodge. For a chance to feast on Cordova’s bounty, sample a wide variety of dishes in this Copper River salmon cook-off featuring the most creative home-made salmon cuisine Cordova has to offer. Enter your own dish for a chance to bring home the title of Best Beer-inspired Dish, Outstanding Locavore, or Best Presentation. Winning entries from past cook-offs include hometown sockeye potpie, thai salmon curry, smoked salmon tapenade, and saffron shitake risotto salmon swirls. Then, hold on to your forks as local processors send their fastest filleters to demonstrate speed filleting techniques. Fillets go straight to the grill to be enjoyed by all. Local Cordova musicians will round out this evening’s activities.
Salmon Jam music events will be held Friday and Saturday nights. This year’s headline group is the Meg Mackey Band. One of Alaska’s fastest-growing bands, Meg Mackey is quickly gaining recognition throughout the state for her catchy, soulful sound. She was won the Alaska Song of the Year contest and was awarded the Individual Artist Award from the Rasmuson Foundation. Don’t miss this great band along with several local and statewide musical acts.
Saturday’s Alaska Salmon Runs road races have been a favorite Cordova pastime for over 25 years! Distance events include the King Salmon Marathon, Sockeye Half-Marathon, Coho 10K, Humpy 5K, and Smolt 1-mile fun run/walk. Marathoners travel to this destination marathon to take in the fantastic race course scenery along the Copper River delta – mountains, glaciers, blue water lakes and wildlife. Massage tables await the runners after the race and a salmon barbecue at the end of the day celebrates the day’s achievements for all walkers and runners.
Kids and families can explore and learn about salmon together on Saturday afternoon at the Small Fry Arts and Education activities. PWS Science Center education staff will help kids try their hand at making fish prints while other organizations host fun, educational activities for the whole family.
Most Copper River WILD! Salmon Festival events are held at Mt. Eyak Ski Hill, with views of Orca Inlet and Cordova’s working fishing fleet harbor. Alaska Salmon Runs runners will meet at the Cordova Community Medical Center parking lot Saturday morning, and be transported out the Copper River Highway to run along the scenic Copper River Delta.
Cordova’s fast ferry service makes it easy to join in the fun: www.amhs.state.ak.us. Cordova has ferry service from Whittier and Valdez. Air service is provided by Era Aviation, www.flyera.com and Alaska Airlines, www.alaskaair.com with event-related discounts available (see our facebook page at www.facebook.com/CordovaArts for details). For more visitor information, check the Cordova Chamber of Commerce at www.cordovachamber.com or call Martin Moe at (907)424-7260.
Event organizers include Cordova Arts, PWS Science Center, Copper River Watershed Project, Copper River/PWS Marketing Association, Cordova Chamber of Commerce, Cordova District Fishermen United, Native Village of Eyak, and Chugach National Forest/Cordova Ranger District.