Photo of the Blackwater Railroad Company.

By Lauren Bien and Shae Bowman

This is your one-stop-shop for everything you need to know about how to have the jammiest, salmoniest, boot-stomping, hoopin’ n’ hollerin’ good time at Salmon Jam this coming weekend!

Salmon Jam weekend, Cordova Arts and Pageant’s annual fundraiser, kicks off at 6 p.m. on Friday night where attendees get to enjoy some of the local acts Cordovan’s know and love including Sam and Friends, Kodi Hannah, and Ke KuKui Foundation before our headliner band takes the stage at 8 p.m.

Blackwater Railroad Company is celebrating 10 years of making music to move to – playing in true Alaskan style where they fill the mountains with their joyous sound. This year they will be saturating the stage with their original boot-stomping, handclapping, whoop-hollering sound on Friday and Saturday night!

The beer garden is back, baby! Wine and beer, some brewed by our very own Copper River Brewing, will be available for purchase on the hill Friday 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Saturday 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The beer garden is weather-dependent though, so cross your fingers, toes, and anything else that we get some sunshine around here!

Hungry while on the hill? Jen’s and the Jump will be serving up delicious food from the Snack Shack the entire weekend. The Junior High Volleyball team will be creating Sweet Crepes for Salmon Jammers on Friday night and Saturday afternoon. Maybe it’s not food, but local art you’ve got a hankering for. Well, you’re in luck! Our Artisan Market, open all weekend, is full of handmade crafts, pickled and jammed goods, beautiful pottery, local jewelry, cozy clothing, and more.


If you think you will be feeling bright-eyed and bushy-tailed on Saturday morning make sure to sign up for a race in the Alaska Salmon Runs to get your fitness on. The Alaska Salmon Runs include race distances for every age and level of running enthusiasts including a marathon, half marathon, 10K, 5K, and one mile run and/or walk. What is the best part about participating in the races? Eating your fill of the freshest Copper River Salmon at the Salmon Runs BBQ and Awards Ceremony that follow the races at the Pioneer Igloo at 12:30 p.m. Cost for the BBQ is $15 per person, $8 for children, $40 a family, or bring a dish to share and get in free. Register for the races at or in person at Bidarki Recreation Center.

Saturday’s events continue up on the hill, starting at 3 p.m. with Taste of Cordova, Small Fry activities, and more music. For Taste of Cordova, bring a dish of your own, or stop by to sample bite-sized servings of each dish left in the spread while you enjoy a set by one of our talented performers. Small Fry kids activities are from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and are included in your festival ticket. Fish for books in the Imagination Library, make a fish print with the Science Center, get your face painted, learn how to play the spoons, complete a craft with the Native Village of Eyak, and so much more.

The fun doesn’t stop there. Saturday’s lineup continues into the evening with more local celebs taking the stage such as the Smyke family, Grace Martin, and Repeat Offenders. Hopefully, after all this fun, you’ve still got some stomp in your boots and sway in your hips because Blackwater Railroad Company takes the stage again at 8 p.m. 

How can you help support all this amazing fun? Volunteer! Teamwork truly makes the dream work at Salmon Jam, and we have a variety of volunteer opportunities for every person. Get behind the scenes when you join the festival grounds set-up crew on Thursday night, be a cheerful face to welcome attendees at the Ticket Gate, help sling the hottest new merchandise in town, or help us with the massive take-down effort on Sunday. Volunteers earn a $5 discount off entry (2x for set-up and take-down) which can be redeemed at the gate.

Speaking of new merchandise. This year’s Salmon Jam design was created as a collaboration between 7th and 8th-grade students and Mr. Ammerman in CHS’s Junior High Visual Arts Course. It was inspired by M.C. Escher’s tessellation artwork and it showcases how individual talents can swim together in a sea of shapes and colors – truly in the Salmon Jam spirit! M.C. Escher said, “Science and art sometimes can touch one another like two pieces of the jigsaw puzzle which is our human life.”

Salmon Jam is a celebration of exactly that, a festival to remind us of the sanctity of nature, the importance of science, and the beauty of music, art, food, and togetherness. If you look closely, you’ll see all of these things represented in this year’s design and up on the hill during Salmon Jam! So round up your friends, dust off your dancing shoes, and get ready to put the fun in fundraiser!

Also, it’s 2023, we have a website. Check it out at

Lauren Bien and Shae Bowman are Salmon Jam coordinators. Bien is the education director of the Prince William Sound Science Center, and Bowman is the operations manager at the Copper River Watershed Project.