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Salmon Festival

Scenes from the 2007 Klamath Salmon Festival capture moments during the parade (above and below right), dance demonstrations (below center) and stick games (below left). (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).
Scenes from the 2007 Klamath Salmon Festival capture moments during the parade (above and below right), dance demonstrations (below center) and stick games (below left). (The Daily Triplicate/Bryant Anderson).

"Please join us in celebrating this beautiful river, our fish and our culture," invites Cindee McKernan, coordinator for this Sunday's Klamath Salmon Festival.

Officially, this is the 46th year of the salmon celebration, yet many of the festival's events have been part of the Yurok Tribe's culture for much longer.

"At this year's festival attendees will find a taste of Yurok culture, a family-friendly atmosphere and lots of handmade jewelry," McKernan said.

The festival kicks off with a veterans breakfast, followed by the yearly parade down Klamath Boulevard. At noon the Merv George Band will play on the main stage.

Other highlights include: a Brush Dance demonstration, a traditionally cooked salmon dinner, Princess and Warrior contests, a horseshoe tournament and the stick game competition.

In 2006, more than 1,100 salmon dinners were served at the festival, and in unfavorable weather last year, more than 700 people attended.

The festival will take place across from the Yurok Tribe's Administrative Building located at 190 Klamath Blvd. Admission is free to all. The salmon dinner costs $10 and includes wild chinook salmon, pan bread, potato salad and beans.

The theme of the event is: "Un-dam the Klamath. Bring the salmon home."

The message was spawned out of the tribe's ongoing struggle to have four dams removed from the Klamath River. The dams block 300 miles of anadramous fish habitat and pollute the river with toxic algae, the tribe says. The Klamath River and chinook salmon have always been central to Yurok culture.

Since the first dam was installed in the early 1900s, Yuroks have fought to heal the river, which has been severely damaged by the dams, gold mining and logging, according to the tribal government, adding that the decline of salmon has also had a horrendous effect on the region's tourism and fishing-based economy.

"The only connection we have with the creator during our ceremonies is the salmon," said Walter Lara Sr., who emceed at last year's festival. "We need to protect the fish and we need everyone here to do it."

2008 Salmon Festival

8:30 a.m.: A veterans Breakfast at the community center of the Yurok Administrative Building.

10:00 a.m.: The parade will begin down Klamath Boulevard. At this time the vendors will open as well.

11:00 a.m.: A Brush Dance demonstration will be performed on the main stage.

12 p.m.: The Merv George Band will start rocking on the main stage.

12:30 p.m.: The salmon dinner will be served. Cost $10

1:00 p.m.: The Princess/Young Warrior contest will begin on the main stage.

2:30 p.m.: The Horseshoe Tournament will commence near the stick game field.

3:30 p.m.: The Stick Game Match will begin on the stick game field.

SOURCE: The Yurok Tribe


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