Hundreds gather at Cuddy Park for music, games and grilled fish on Alaska Wild Salmon Day

Leah Moss sports a salmon costume at the Alaska Center barbecue. (Henry Leasia / Alaska Public Media)

Alaska Wild Salmon Day celebrations took place across the state on August 10th. This marks the second year of the official state holiday.

Alaska Public Media’s Henry Leasia produced this audio postcard from The Alaska Center‘s Salmon Day barbecue at Cuddy Family Midtown Park in Anchorage.

Listen now

POLLY CARR: My name is Polly Carr. I’m the director of the Alaska Center. Salmon connects us via our families, our cultures, recreation, and it gives us a strong sense of our state identity. We have 500 pounds of wild Alaska salmon that we hope you are all going to put down tonight.

ERIC BOOTON: I’m Eric Butoon. I work for Trout Unlimited. Trout Unlimited works throughout the state to protect and conserve fish habitat. We fired the grill up around 5 and we’ll be cooking until the salmon’s gone. It came throughout the state from a number of different commercial fishermen and fish providers who helped donate it. I am drooling over here, but at the end of the day if I walk home and didn’t get any and it went to people who attended, I’m fine with that.

LOUISE STUTES: I’m representative Louise Stutes from House District 32. House District 32 is Kodiak, Cordova, Yakutat, Seldovia and several small coastal communities. My district is a fishing community, and it’s got huge impacts on not only my district but on all the people in Alaska. Fishing is the number one private employer in the state of Alaska. I think [Alaska Wild Salmon Day] brings to the forefront the importance of salmon to the state of Alaska, not only subsistence-wise for rural communities, but for the whole economy.

Fishermen from across the state donated 500 pounds of salmon for the barbecue. (Henry Leasia / Alaska Public Media)

BRITTNEY: I think Salmon Day is all about protecting this beautiful fish that we have in our state, and it’s very plentiful. It’s just about honoring and celebrating them and keeping them where they belong.

SHAUNA: Salmon Day is just one day, but every day is for celebrating and protecting salmon.

BRITTNEY: My favorite ones are Chum salmon because they’re cool striped, they’re striped really awesome, and they’re great to smoke as well.

BILLY MANUEL: My name’s Billy, Billy Manuel. I came down to Cuddy Park to do some volunteering and to support a great organization. Yeah of course they’re rambunctious — they’re kids running around, it’s summer time in Alaska. The little ones run around, the adults are having fun — they’ve played cornhole before. The little ones just want to kind of throw the sandbags around, which is fine. It’s been more throwing them at each other than throwing them into the cornhole. You get a prize for getting it in the hole! Awesome, alright nicely done! Just one little prize out of the bucket. There’s bubbles in there.