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KAKE - Growing up in Kake, Matthew Bell said he often took his home for granted. After leaving for school he returned to Kake with a new appreciation for the "spectacular surrounding" of his hometown. Now on the board of directors for Kake Tribal Corporation and the Master of Ceremonies for the annual Kake Dog Salmon Festival, Bell hopes to encourage others to visit the community and see what makes it so extraordinary.
Kake Dog Salmon Festival welcomes 'chums' from near and far 072209 NEWS 2 CCW Editor KAKE - Growing up in Kake, Matthew Bell said he often took his home for granted. After leaving for school he returned to Kake with a new appreciation for the "spectacular surrounding" of his hometown. Now on the board of directors for Kake Tribal Corporation and the Master of Ceremonies for the annual Kake Dog Salmon Festival, Bell hopes to encourage others to visit the community and see what makes it so extraordinary.

photos courtesy of Peter Metcalfe

The Keet Kwaan Dancers were greet guests arriving by catamaran during the 2008 festival.


photos courtesy of Peter Metcalfe

Two competitors go head to head during the 2008 dog salmon fillet contest .


photos courtesy of Peter Metcalfe

Visitors to Kake during the 2008 festival visit Gunnuk Creek, which runs through the center of the village, to view the black bear attracted to the run of dog salmon returning to the community-owned hatchery.


photos courtesy of Peter Metcalfe

Juneau women, who went on to win the Challenge of the Chums canoe race, women's division, salute their competitors at the beginning of the race.

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

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Kake Dog Salmon Festival welcomes 'chums' from near and far

KAKE - Growing up in Kake, Matthew Bell said he often took his home for granted. After leaving for school he returned to Kake with a new appreciation for the "spectacular surrounding" of his hometown. Now on the board of directors for Kake Tribal Corporation and the Master of Ceremonies for the annual Kake Dog Salmon Festival, Bell hopes to encourage others to visit the community and see what makes it so extraordinary.

The 15th annual Kake Dog Salmon Festival will take place Saturday, July 25. Bell has been part of the festival since it began 15 years ago as a community picnic celebrating the one-millionth pound of salmon processed at the local plant.

"When we realized how much enthusiasm and how much participation it had, it just (got bigger and bigger)," Bell said.

The festival now includes a variety of contests and events, including canoe and foot races, a fish fillet contest, a herring toss, line dancing and a lip-sync contest. There will also be a big community barbeque the entire afternoon with burgers, salmon, halibut and crab.

Locals will take visitors to the bear-viewing platform and to see the world's tallest totem pole.

"It's a full community effort," Bell said. "We have the dance troop, that's always a real treat to witness. They greet each of the catamarans as they're coming (in)."

The town of just over 700 residents has seen as many as 400 visitors attend the day-long festival.

"We've had people come from literally around the world," Bell said. "From Australia, England, Germany, even some from Africa - they've returned twice now, the people from Africa."

This year, high-speed Allan Marine catamarans will once again provide transportation from Sitka and Juneau to Kake, allowing residents of those communities to make the festival a day trip. Wings of Alaska airlines is also offering a reduced rate for festival-goers.

Bell said the festival helps stimulate the economy in Kake. In the past few years, some Cruise West ships have included the village on their itineraries, but they will not be returning next year. With the logging industry "all but exhausted," and facing high costs of electricity, Bell said he understands that people often need to leave the village to make a living. The festival offers a good opportunity for many of them to come home to see family and friends.

"It's always very appreciated to see them," Bell said.

Many of the visitors attend the festival every year. And Bell issues a warning for newcomers: "You come once, you'll never miss it again," he said. "The community goes out of the way to make sure you enjoy yourself. You'll leave wondering why you didn't come sooner."

Schedule of Events

11 a.m. National Guard & Local Veterans Post Colors; Blessing of the Fleet

Noon-12:45 p.m. Children Races, including 2-3 yrs. Foot race; 4-5 yrs. Foot race; 6-7 yrs. Foot race; 6-7 yrs. Gunny sack race; 8-9 yrs. Foot race; 8-9 yrs. Gunny sack race; all kids gum chewing race

Noon Barbeque picnic begins; food & dessert winner announced

12:45-1 p.m. 5 K race Men/Women; Boat races; Queen Introduction

1-1:30 p.m. Keex' Kwaan Dancers

1:30-2 p.m. Line Dancing with Tim & Laurie Moore

2-3 p.m. Fish Fillet Contest; Herring Toss; Balloon popping for the Kids

3-4:30 p.m. Fish Tote Race; Crowning of the Queen; "The Challenge of the Chums Canoe Race"

4:30-5 p.m. Lip Sync Contest

All day DJ Denton Pearson will entertain with 50's & 60's music

Round trip catamarans will provide transportation from Sitka and Juneau to Kake. Due to rising fuel costs, round-trip tickets are $140 each this year. Catamarans will be locked and unavailable for passengers during the standby time in Kake. Remember to dress warm and bring a snack. Some food and beverages will be sold on the boats.

Travel Information

From Juneau:

Catamarans will leave Don Statter Public Dock in Auke Bay at 6 a.m., arriving in Kake at 11 a.m. They will depart Kake at 5:30 p.m. and return to Auke Bay at 10:30 p.m. For details and tickets, contact Beverly Anderson at (907) 723-9921 or Dixie Hutchinson at (907) 209-1022

From Sitka:

Catamarans will leave Crescent Harbor Visitors Dock at 5:30 a.m., arriving in Kake at 11 a.m. They will depart Kake at 5 p.m., returning to Sitka at 10:30 p.m. For details and tickets, contact Kendall Jackson at (907) 747-8969 or Jean Smith at (907) 747-3712.

For more information about the festival, contact festival coordinator Carmel James at ktccjames@yahoo.com or (907) 785-4576.


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