PUBLISHED: 4:56 PM on Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Blueberries and banana slugs
KETCHIKAN - It's time to start looking for speedy banana slugs and cooking with blueberries.

Blueberry-lovers, artists, dancers, poets and slugs will gather once again for the 33rd annual Blueberry Arts Festival August 1-3 in Ketchikan. The weekend's events include artisan booths, pie-eating contests, dance performances, beer tasting and more.

"It's definitely the biggest arts festival in Ketchikan," said Kelly Lawler, operations manager for the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council (KAAHC). "There are a lot of artists who just come to this who don't come to the winter arts fair. We have artists that come from Petersburg (and) all of Prince of Wales."

CCW file photo
  The 11th annual Gigglefeet Dance Festival will begin Friday with a second Sunday show.
The festival began in 1975 as the brainchild of Mimi Kotlerov, who at the time "was the arts council," Lawler said. Over the years new events were added, such as the venerable slug race for kids.

Make sure you have your blueberry dish in for judging at the Mainstay gallery by 2 p.m. on Friday, then head over to the Pet and Doll Parade.

"It was originally a pet parade and they added dolls for those kids who didn't have pets," Lawler said.

The dishes submitted for the best blueberry dish contest end up being the hors d'oeuvres at the Friday evening gallery opening at the Main Stage Gallery. Lawler said about 50 artists would have pieces entered for the juried art show.

The 11th annual Gigglefeet Dance Festival will have its first performances Friday evening. Gigglefeet is sponsored by the First City Players, Ketchikan Theatre Ballet and the KAAHC. A second performance will be held Sunday evening.

Saturday events kick off with the 5K and 10K Blueberry Fun Run at 9:30 a.m. The slug race will give runners a chance to catch their breaths at 10:30 a.m. before they gear up for the Great Blueberry Race at 3 p.m.

Artisan, food and game booths will be open from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. in the State Office Building parking garage and the Methodist Church parking lot.

About 100 artists will display their work, Lawler said, such as Evon Zerbetz, known for her raven linocuts, and Dawn Uttke, famous for her knit hats.

The Tribute Band of Metlakatla will open the battle of the bands, with awards for the best bands and of course, the best blueberry song.

Other events on Saturday include a trivia contest and a blueberry pie-eating contest. The day's festivities will conclude with Charr's 13th annual Ketchikan Beer Festival.

Author John Straley, Alaska's current State Writer Laureate, will return to host the poetry slam and "Salmon Sonnet" contest on Sunday afternoon at the New York Café.

For more information call the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council at 907-225-2211 or visit