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AK Art: Salmon Daze Festival draws tourists and locals alike

By Hope Miller 5:46 PM July 19, 2014

The rain stayed away Saturday afternoon, allowing dozens of Alaskans and tourists to make it out for the third annual Salmon Daze Festival.

The event was spawned in 2012 as part of the G Street Art Festival, but was popular enough to become its own event.

Spearheaded by the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd., Salmon Daze was able to reel in the Anchorage Museum as a partner this year, allowing vendors to set up shop outside the highly trafficked museum entrance.

“It’s very timely,” Erin Westfall, event director with Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd. said of the festival. “[It's] when a lot of the salmon are running. People who live here love salmon and it’s a good thing to teach tourists about.”

While some Alaskan anglers may have left town this weekend to catch some salmon of their own, plenty of locals and tourists stopped by to listen to performers on the grassy lawn, eat a salmon burger and look at local art.

For artist Gail Flotre, the festival was an appealing venue for her to sell her silk scarves because it’s not quite as hectic as Saturday Market.

Crocheter Jackie Edwards echoed Flotre’s sentiments. She’s getting back into selling her work after a break and said Salmon Daze seemed like a good way to get her feet wet. She brought along her 11-year-old daughter, who sold handmade rubber bracelets Edwards said are all the rage with girls her daughter’s age.

Some of the art had a philanthropic focus as well. A stained-glass mosaic fish and quilts were on display as part of a raffle to raise money for Mt. Iliamna Elementary School — a special-needs school on Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. The money will go toward upgrading technology, field trips for the kids, increased hands-on activities and offering resources to parents of children who attend the school, said Mt. Iliamna fundraising coordinator Maryam House. The raffle ends Sept. 1 when winners will be drawn at the Alaska State Fair.

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