The 21st annual Gathering, a celebration of Alaska Native life and culture, was held Saturday in downtown Anchorage.

The draw to fish Alaska’s rivers doesn't go away when summer ends according to Chris Klabunde, a featured vendor who ties flies in the winter to bide the time.

“If I can catch fish on hooks that I’ve made, then that's a little bit more rewarding for me,” Klabunde said.

The Egan Center event was created by the Southcentral Foundation to capture Native traditions of getting together with family and friends to visit, eat, dance, and share.

Organizers describe it as a wellness fair, adding that the Gathering is also about celebrating physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual wellness.

“It encapsulates the whole being. We have about 150 booths here,” said Ileen Sylvester, the foundation's vice president of executive and tribal services. “You can get people together, especially during the dark times, and get them out and get active, get connected.”

Klabunde is Athabascan and says he enjoys learning from those around him, gathering knowledge, and sharing it together.

“I really like being able to talk to people that I haven't seen in a long time," Klabunde said. "Meeting new people is really exciting.”

This year’s Gathering also featured a Chopped Alaska food competition, with chefs preparing food courses using ingredients typically found in a rural pantry.

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