December 12, 2016
This is Fish Radio. I’m Stephanie Mangini. Lighting up the heart of a fishing town. Hear more after this…
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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 four years ago it’s an old community tradition that keeps growing.
“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 long time 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 created a dilemma, to where we would have to keep postponing the event.”
Branson along with 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.”
Vote for your favorite boats while enjoying local singing, music, and dance performances at the reception that overlooks the harbor.
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 St Paul Harbor and the Harbor Convention Center this Saturday December 17th from 5 to 9.
“Part of our mission as the 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.”
Tis the season to support your local fisheries. Catch links at our website www.alaskafishradio.com
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. (www.oceanbeauty.com) In Kodiak, I’m Stephanie Mangini.