It’s more than six months away but participants are already signing up for the second annual Bristol Bay Fish Expo.
The Expo was launched last year in Naknek as a way to raise money for the Little Angels Child Care Academy.
“It was pretty phenomenal. We were able to raise $17,000 and our goal was $13,000. It was awesome.”
Katie Copps-Wilson is Expo co-organizer. The theme of last summer’s Expo was ‘Bridging the Bay’ with a goal of better connecting the community with the fishing and processing sectors.
“I really think it raised an awareness about our community. It also gave the people, the businesses, the fishermen – people who come into our community year after year, a venue to help celebrate the community.”
The first Expo attracted 44 exhibitors plus sponsors of various events, such as a unique job fair.
“Speed hiring which was a job fair, or ‘speed dating’ for captains and crew. It went really well and a lot of matches were made.”
This year’s theme is ‘Celebrating the Past; Sustaining the Future’ and will showcase the Bay’s processing history. Copps-Wilson says Bay processors are some of the Expo’s biggest fans.
“I’ve talked to some of the processors and they are already planning for the Expo because they had so much having booths and they already thinking of ideas about what they are going to do at their booth. It’s their opportunity to get out into the community and see people and visit. A lot of these people have been coming here their whole lifetimes and they’ve never been able to be in a setting like that. “
Expo dollars will again go to the child care center and expand to other groups.
“I believe it will keep growing and growing and with that we can put more funds into various other things in the community. One of the groups that really needs help now is the Boys and Girls Clubs. So I’m hoping we are able to raise enough money from Expo so we can help out other services for kids.”
Bristol Bay Fish Expo is set for June 8-9 at Naknek High School.
Registration is open now at a reduced rate through the end of January. Copps-Wilson says the event has surpassed all expectations.
“I don’t think we realized what we created. We were interested in finding a way to raise some money so we could open the doors for Little Angels, but we created this other thing that we had no idea how big it was.
Sign on at www.bristolbayfishexpo.com