Where can you find speeding slugs, fancy beards, blueberry pies, music performances, art exhibits and enough vendor booths to pack the downtown streets?
At the Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities 47th annual Blueberry festival this coming weekend!
The fun kicks off at 2 p.m. Friday with the Blueberry Pet and Doll parade, sponsored by the Community Connections Early Learning Program.
The parade is set to start at the intersection of Main and Grant streets. Children and their families are asked to bring their dolls and pets to saunter down to the Ketchikan Fire Department station to enjoy provided snacks and “fun surprises,” according to program information.
Submissions for the Best Blueberry Dish contest can be entered between noon and 3 p.m. Friday at the Main Street Gallery, at 330 Main St. The winner of that contest will have their recipe featured at the New York Cafe for the month of August.
The Blueberry Arts Festival art exhibit, which will be judged, is expanding to fill not only the Main Street Gallery, but also the Commons Gallery at 2016 Tongass Ave. this year. The exhibit opening is scheduled for 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. Friday at both locations.
At 7 p.m. Friday, the Great Alaska Lumberjack Arena competition fundraiser for the Special Olympics is slated to start, followed by a performance by local band Woody’s Finest Hour.
At 9 a.m. Saturday, the 1-mile children’s fun run is set to start.
At 9:30 a.m., the 5k run is set to begin and at 9:45 a.m., the 10k run is scheduled to start. All runs are scheduled to start and finish at Bawden Street Brewing downtown, and are part of the Ketchikan Running Club program.
At 9:30 a.m. Saturday, it’ll be time for the big slug weigh-in at the mainstage, which will be located in the fenced area at the intersection of Main and Dock streets.
At 10:30 a.m. Saturday, the slug races begin in the mainstage area, with prizes to be awarded to the handler of the fastest slug.
At 11:30 a.m., the all-ages pie-eating contest is set to begin, with contestants divided into age categories to vie for prizes.
The vendor booths are scheduled to open at 10 a.m. Saturday, and to close at 5 p.m. Saturday.
In a phone interview Wednesday, KAAHC Program Director Katy Posey said that there are 154 booths planned to be set up this year. The booths will include food, artists, political candidates, information and community organizations, and activities.
Posey said that this year the postcards sent to KAAHC members will include a QR code which, when scanned, will show users a festival booth map as well as a complete list of vendors. She said that the QR code also will be found on the event posters that will be placed in various locations around town.
There are several returning activities this year that had been left out in 2021 because of COVID-19 mitigations, Posey said.
The slug events, the pie-eating contest, the blueberry ball roll and the kids’ fun run are again slated to return for the first time since 2019.
“We’re super excited,” Posey said.
Another favorite event that is returning this year is the Gigglefeet Dance Festival. The doors will open at 7 p.m. at Ketchikan High School. Performances are set to start at 7:30 p.m.
Gigglefeet is a collaborative effort by First City Players, KAAHC, and Ketchikan Theatre Ballet.
A new event that will be found at the Alaska Airlines booth is the “Wind up and Win” contest, in which contestants will compete to send wind into airplanes as far as possible for prizes. That contest is slated to be held from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday.
The Blueberry Mainstage events are scheduled from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, sponsored by Ketchikan Public Utilities Telecommunications.
The mainstage will be located on the lot at the corner of Dock and Main streets, on property donated for the day by owner Jacob Mensurian.
Posey said that the arts council has a “really exciting mainstage schedule planned out.”
Included in the lineup is a “jingle dress dance” by Eugene Tapahe, a bagpipe performance by Bill Urquhart, a ukulele performance by Niles Corporon, a Robert Service poem recitation by AJ Slagle, Jr., song performances by Harmilla Earth, Diane Slagle and Austin Hays, a cello performance by Julian Jackson, a guitar performance by Ike Linkous, and a comic performance by Tallie Medel.
At 2 p.m. Saturday, the Blueberry Beard and Mustache contest is set to start at the mainstage, and according to program information, it will be “judged by a jury of judgy people! Prize, jeers and cheers to be awarded!”
At 3 p.m., the Great Blueberry Ball Roll is scheduled to start at Pioneer Alley and Main Street. The event is a traditional fundraiser for the Ketchikan Youth Court.
On Sunday, the fun rolls on, with the 7th-annual Handmade Human Powered Blueberry Boat Race. Registration for the event is slated to run from 1 p.m. to 1:45 p.m. Sunday at the Bayside Float in Thomas Basin.
Prize categories to be awarded include: fastest youth vessel, fastest adult vessel, most artistic, and most likely to sink.
At 2 p.m. Sunday, the boat race begins, with fans cheering from Stedman Street, the federal building parking lot and from other Thomas Basin floats.
At 3:30 p.m., Sunday, the Richard Brautigan, Dick Wittaker, and Lillian Ference Memorial Trout Fishing in America Poetry Slam and Flounder Free Form Poetry Contest is set to begin, held in the New York Cafe, across from Thomas Basin. The poetry event is sponsored by New York Cafe, Soho Coho, Chinook and Company, and Parnassus Books.
This year, Posey said, there will be parking for people experiencing disabilities in the Whale Park parking lot.
Another feature that families may find useful is a “kids zone” area in the St. John’s Church parking lot. A bouncy house, a “one-minute hanging challenge” feature, and other fun activities will be set up there.
Also in the St. John’s lot will be a wheelchair and walker loan station, where attendees can borrow needed items free of charge, Posey said.
Another feature planned to make attendees more comfortable is an “elder resting station,” set up by Ketchikan Indian Community. It is planned to be located in the parking lot downhill from the Main Street Gallery, and will offer cover from sun or rain, as well as chairs.
Posey said that she would like people to remember that Main, Dock and Mission streets all will be blocked off to motor vehicle traffic and parking by 8 a.m. Saturday. Vehicles will need to be moved by 6 a.m., Saturday.
The Blueberry Festival schedule and information can be found online at www.ketchikanarts.org. Click on the “participate” tab, then on the tab “Ketchikan Area Arts and Humanities Council,” then “the 47th Annual Blueberry Festival” tab.
For more information, contact KAAHC staff at email@example.com.
The festival this year is sponsored by Alaska Airlines.