December 14, 2015

This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. Lighting up the heart of a fishing town. Hear more after this…harbor lights
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Alaska’s fishing communities are fueled by their working waterfronts. Each harbor is home to hundreds of small businesses, Commercial fishing boats.  The Kodiak Maritime Museum is celebrating the holiday season once again with the downtown “Harbor Lights Festival”. Since being brought dockside three years ago the old tradition has been given new life.
 “It wasn’t much of a community event because people watched from their houses, or they parked their cars along the channel. So the way it works now people decorate their boats and leave them in the harbor. Fishermen don’t have to fire the boat up and get the crew down there to untie the boat. And then people can walk around on the floats and look at the boats up close. It’s good for both parties. The fishermen and the people that want to come and check out the decorated boats.”   
Toby Sullivan is the Executive Director for the Kodiak Maritime Museum.
 He says that the festival is a spin-off of the old Christmas boat parade. In the 90’s and into early 2000 lit up fishing and sport boats would motor through the channel while residents enjoyed the display. The event faded out after many weather cancellations. 
Boat owner and participant, is City Mayor Pat Branson. She remembers it well…
“It was difficult to predict the weather on the day of the harbor lights parade. And getting your boat all dressed up in lights and then having the foul weather create a dilemma to where we would have to keep postponing the event.”
Branson along with the Museum team, the Downtown Revitalization Committee, and many others want to bring focus to the hundreds of small businesses that are floating in our harbors.
“We decided to hold the harbor lights in port, so people could decorate their boats and not have to weather out the storm in the channel and just having a community holiday celebration at the harbor.”
“We will have hot cocoa and cider for refreshments, we have volunteers and the board getting in the cookie making mode. There will also be music, and of course the boats in the harbor.  So it is a simple affair, but it is a community affair, so we are hoping people come down to participates.”  
 Sullivan believes that keeping the decorated boats in the harbor will allow the lights to shine regardless of the weather. The “Harbor Lights Festival” will be held at the Harbor Convention center Saturday December 19th from 5 to 9.
“Part of our mission as Maritime Museum is we are all about the boats and the harbor and the commercial fishing industry and I think this is one way to highlight that.”
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Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods – who salutes and says thanks to the men and women fishing across Alaska for their hard work and dedication. ( In Kodiak, I’m Stephanie Mangini.