2016 Herring Festival Events


Events going on around town during Sitka Herring Festival:

Blessing of Herring Rock
March 12

It’s Officially Herring Season! This celebration marks the beginning of a long season of subsistence harvests.  The Blessing of the Herring Rock, or Yaaw T’eiyí is an annual ritual marking the commencement of the subsistence herring egg season.  There are many Tlingit stories where herring play an active role.  In one story, a girl sitting by the rock let her hair down, letting the ends of her hair reach the salty water.  It was then that the little forage fish began to lay eggs in her hair.

Yaaw T’eiyí is a cultural landmark of the Kiks.ádi clan, and because of its historical roots, a member of the Kiks.ádi clan performs the ceremony which now takes place on Katlian Street, in front of the Naa Kahídi.


Herring Derby
March 19-April 9

Can’t wait for the Salmon Derby? The 3rd Annual Herring Derby is here for you.   The Herring Derby is a free fishing competition for youths under 18 to jig for herring around town and enter to win some awesome prizes.  Entering the Derby is easy.  At anytime between March 19 and April 9, any herring caught by youth under 18 are eligible for entry.  Just bring your biggest catch of the day to The Healing House at 429 Katlian.  Let our biologists show you how to measure the length and weight of your fish and learn how to record your data.

Fish can be turned in 9am-5pm Monday-Friday and 3pm-6pm on Saturday and Sunday at 429 Katlian.

Participants will need to provide their own equipment, or can rent it at the Sitka Sound Science Center, 834 Lincoln Street.

Derby Flyer


Discovery Days
March 19

Spring is around the corner and so are the herring!  Members of the Sitka Sound Science Center can celebrate herring during Discovery Days on March 19 from 10 AM – 12 Noon.  Jessica Gill will lead explorations about herring and their life cycle.


Food Web Cruise
March 26

The Sitka WhaleFest kicks off each spring with an annual cruise to explore the wildlife in Sitka Sound.  From the spawning herring to the feeding whales, you will enjoy an exciting and up-close experience with the food web at this time of year.  Hear from marine mammal biologists, historians, researchers, and other experts while enjoying a fresh, European-style breakfast buffet, donated by local businesses and friends of the Sitka Sound Science Center.   Aboard a catamaran from Allen Marine, we depart Crescent Harbor on Saturday, March 26th at 9:00 am and return by 12:00 pm.  Tickets are $55/person and will be available at Old Harbor Books and online on March 3, 2016.


Wearable Arts
March 26

This year’s Wearable Arts Show, hosted by Greater Sitka Arts Council, will have a new addition! A team of local artists has decided to dedicate their piece in this year’s Wearable Arts to the growing number of pounds of garbage that ends up littering the oceans and destroying the lives of a multitude of species.  Their piece will be an intense, underwater style performance of the unnecessary obstacles that littering has on indigenous species in the Pacific Ocean.  This piece will undoubtedly showcase herring and their spawning grounds and the impacts excess waste has on their livelihood.


ArtiGras Artwalk
April 1

This year’s Artwalk, hosted by Greater Sitka Arts Council, will have a new addition!  In case you have never been to an art walk in Sitka before, the gallery walk is an opportunity for Sitkans to view new work from local artists, both emerging and established.  Sitka Herring Festival will be providing a space for community art at the Naa Kahídi on Katlian Street.  Come visit us from 5pm-8pm, and while you’re at it, enjoy some herring dishes inspired from worldly cuisines.  Make some herring prints from casts made possible from UAS, and hand carved linocut from other herring enthusiasts in town and from as far away as Göteborg, Sweden.  See you there!


Logo Contest
Due April 1

Every year, the Herring Festival brands itself with a new logo.  Now it’s your turn.  Enter a submission on an 8.5”x11” sheet of paper for your chance to win $100 and the bragging rights to next year’s Festival Logo.  Contest submission should be turned in at the Sitka Tribe of Alaska office at 456 Katlian Street, or via email to sitkaherringfestival@gmail.com, and should have LOGO CONTEST clearly marked on the submission. Entries must be received by NOON on Friday, April 1st, 2016.

More info can be found here.


Herring Fun Run
April 2

The herring are RUNNING!  The Herring Fun Run is brought to you by Sitka Community Schools.  Starting at 8:30am, Saturday, April 2, you can run for fun or try for a best time! Grab your friends and take a tour of the National Historical Park, running both loops and coming out a winner!


Community Potluck
April 7

Please join us for a community dinner, brought to you by all your neighbors! This potluck style dinner is a casual event, perfect for winding down the Herring Festival.  Guest speaker, Ilona Kemp-Noordeloos, is a PhD. student at University of Alaska Fairbanks who will be presenting on Herring and the Human Element in the Bristol Bay Fisheries.  Please bring a dish to share and the rest will follow.  Potluck will take place at Sweetland Hall on the Sitka Fine Arts Campus, from 6pm-8pm Thursday, April 7.


Derby Awards
April 12

Cannon Ball!!!!!  This year’s Herring Derby Award Ceremony will be a splash! Enjoy a free, VIP swim at Blatchley Pool, Tuesday, April 12 from 5:30-7:30.  This exclusive event is only for folks who participated in the Herring Derby and their families.  Root Beer Floats will follow in the Blatchley Common room!


If you need more information about these events, contact Jessica at 747-7168 or email sitkaherringfestival@gmail.com.

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