Fish and fun set for this weekend

Copper River WILD! Salmon festival boasts fish fare, arts and education

Cordova comes to life during Copper River’s famous salmon migrations, and this weekend is the chance to celebrate the two things that sustain the community year-round: salmon and art. The 14th annual Copper River WILD! Salmon Festival is Friday and Saturday. It boasts Cordova’s famous Copper River salmon in food, music, running events, and education for kids and families.

During the day, enjoy family fun at the Small Fry Kids Activities or get some exercise during Alaska Salmon Runs. In the evenings, indulge in fresh Copper River Salmon and live music at Salmon Jam Music Festival. Proceeds benefit the Cordova Arts Council and support year-round cultural activities in Cordova.

Friday kicks off the weekend with the Taste of Cordova at Mt. Eyak Ski Area where festivalgoers can feast on some of Cordova’s best wild fare. Anyone can enter or sample dishes in this Copper River salmon and wild food cook-off featuring a variety of creative dishes. The entrance fee is included in your Salon Jam admission. Winning entries from past years include saffron shitake risotto salmon swirls, wild berry trifle and black licorice glazed sockeye.

Friday and Saturday nights belong to Salmon Jam music festival, featuring a beer garden stocked with some of Denali Brewing Company’s best pints. Blues band and longtime Cordova favorite Bobby Walker and the Roadsters and award-winning jam band Big Fat Buddha headline this year’s event along with plenty of local and regional acts. Salmon Jam is a great opportunity to spot bourgeoning talent as local and visiting musicians start off the evening, comprising a total of more than five hours of live music each night.

Also on Saturday, the Alaska Salmon Runs road race marks its 30th anniversary. Events include a King Salmon Marathon, Sockeye Half-Marathon, Coho 10K, Smolt 5K and a 1-mile fun run. Runners from all over the U.S. and abroad travel to this destination race to take in the fantastic scenery along the Copper River delta course — mile after mile of mountains, glaciers, blue water lakes and wildlife. Massage tables await after the race and a wild salmon barbecue at the end of the day celebrates the achievements of all walkers and runners.

Alaska Salmon Runs commence from the Cordova Community Medical Center parking lot Saturday morning.


Kids and families can explore salmon together on Saturday afternoon at the festival’s arts and education event called Small Fry. Prince William Sound Science Center staff will help kids create fish prints to take home while other organizations host fun, educational activities for the whole family. The Chugach National Forest Service crew will teach about local aquatic organisms, and attendees can also learn techniques for preserving and enjoying the fish you catch. Processors will send their fastest hands to demonstrate speed filleting techniques and local artisans sell their wares at the Artisan Craft Fair.

Most Copper River WILD! Salmon Festival events are held at Mt. Eyak Ski Area. A free shuttle runs throughout the weekend to help guests to and from festival grounds.