Salmon festival ready to run

The first annual Columbia Salmon Festival will kick off on Wednesday September 28, with many events leading up to a gala dinner on Saturday evening.

The first annual Columbia Salmon Festival will kick off on Wednesday September 28, with many events leading up to a gala dinner on Saturday evening. The goal of the festival is to inform people about the cultural significance and history of salmon for First Nations, and educate the public about the ongoing strategies to restore these amazing fish to the Upper Columbia.

This inaugural Festival is being hosted by the Akisqnuk First Nation and Shuswap Indian Band with support from the Canadian Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fisheries Commission (CCRIFC), the Ktunaxa Nation Council, the Columbia Wetlands Stewardship Partnership and the Fairmont Trails Society.

Activities will be held throughout the Columbia Valley communities of Fairmont Hot Springs, Windermere and Invermere, and will include field trips, guest speakers, presentations, charity golf tournament, and the dedication of a Salmon monument at James Chabot Park in Invermere on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. Attendees of the dedication will also have the opportunity to feast on a traditional salmon meal while they are entertained with traditional First Nation songs and stories.

The festival will conclude Saturday Night with the Gala Salmon Dinner at 6 p.m. at the Grand Quartz Hall at Copper Point Resort. The $60 gourmet dinner will include live music, silent auction and cooking demonstrations by APTN Celebrity Chef David Wolfman.

First Nations have been working towards salmon restoration in the Upper Columbia since the Grand Coulee Dam was built in the early 1940’s, blocking all salmon migration to the upper Columbia River.  Before this time, salmon weighing up to 45 lbs., were a critical source of sustenance for Ktunaxa Nation and Shuswap (Kinbasket) people. The salmon were also an essential food source to many other First Nations along their 2000km journey up the Columbia River from the Pacific Ocean.

The festival committee encourages the general public to join them in making this inaugural Columbia Salmon Festival a great success, as they celebrate the remarkable history and hopeful future of salmon in the Upper Columbia.

To learn more about the festival or to have more information sent to you, please visit:www.facebook.com/ktunaxa