The 2nd annual Bristol Bay Fish Expo on June 8 and 9 will celebrate the region’s past and future and again, all proceeds will benefit child care in Naknek.

“It started out as a fundraiser for Little Angels and it just boomed. We are so grateful because we turned to our natural resource, salmon, to support us financially in this child care endeavor and it’s been phenomenal.”

 Sharon Thompson is Expo co-founder and organizer.

Grundens new Deck Boss boots. At gear shops soon!

Last year’s Expo raised $17,000 dollars for childcare at Naknek, the hub for 10 major seafood processors and a fleet of nearly 1000 boats.

Historians will kick things off by showcasing a project about cannery life dating back to the late 1800s. On that theme, Mug Up events will be ongoing over the two days.

 “Anyone who has ever worked in a cannery knows that mug up is a colloquial term for coffee break. Coffee and donuts will be available along with storytelling, because we all know that’s where the best stories are told.”

 Back again will be the popular Speed Hiring, which connects captains with potential crew. Thompson compares it to speed dating –

  “Even if it’s a quick meeting, kind of like speed dating, it’s an opportunity to bring people who are looking for work and those who are looking to hire together, and it just works. There were lots of good matches made and I think the event will be a lot bigger this year because it was so successful.”

 The biggest money maker for the kids is a fashion show and wearable art auction.

  “We always joke that Bristol Bay has a style of its own. Grundens has donated lots of gear from their new line for women, so we’re really stepping it up this year.  We are still accepting donations and it is a great way for businesses to get their names and services out there. All the products and services will be listed in an online catalog that will be on social media everywhere.”

 On Saturday night the Expo will conclude with a two-hour governor candidates’ debate in a live broadcast.


“We are so happy to have Governor Walker out here and three of his opponents have confirmed that they will participate in the debate.”

 Other governor candidates include Scott Hawkins, Mike Chenault and Mike Dunleavy.

Thompson says the hope is to grow Expo to include more Bristol Bay communities and more fisheries.

“From Togiak to Ugashik and everywhere in between and beyond, we would love to expand our Expo to embrace crab, halibut, pollock, herring – all those other wild seafood products from Bristol Bay that are feeding the world.

 Co-organizer Katie Copps-Wilson points out that the biggest winners are the kids.

“That’s the driving force in this – to provide childcare and create a safe environment for our children.   The bottom line is everything benefits Little Angels. Our mantra is kids, fish, future.”

Bristol Bay Fish Expo takes place June 8-9 at the Naknek High School.  Contact for more information.