The fourth of July has come and gone, and, like all over the U.S., Sitka celebrated our nation’s independence. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t cooperating for the three-day celebration. It was cold, wet and rainy, but it didn’t hamper anyone’s enthusiasm. The whole town had a carnival atmosphere.
A nice parade ran along the main street downtown, and a Coast Guard helicopter did a low flyover above the parade route. The kids were all out to collect candy being tossed by the firefighters, politicians, local merchants, and Sitka high school alumni among many others.
Along with the parade, I heard live music and watched Contra dancing under the pavilion near one of the harbors. I liked the band. They played upbeat acoustic music on mandolins, guitars, fiddles and a hand accordion. The dancers wove around one another in general confusion trying to remember the steps taught to them by the MC. Everyone was laughing and having fun.
A section was set aside for booths selling a variety of food. There was fried bread, kabobs, cotton candy, and other treats. I saw one person sitting on the hot seat of the dunk tank. He was egging on the kids who were trying their hardest to send him into the water.
For two nights in a row, the fireworks display was postponed due to rain. They have been rescheduled for Friday, the ninth of July. To me, the fireworks are the best part of the Fourth of July celebrations. They represent what Francis Scott Key’s inspiration in writing his poem, “The Star Spangled Banner.” Pyrotechnics have come a long way since the war of 1812. The dazzling explosions of color, flame and smoke are spectacular and very impressive.
The fireworks are shot off right in front of the Wild Strawberry Lodge, from across the harbor on Japonski Island. This makes front row seating at the lodge, and it’s nice to sit on the deck and take in the show. Those of you who are staying with us this coming weekend will be fortunate enough to see them!
During the holiday weekend, the staff had a few days off. It was our midsummer break—a time to relax before heading into the busiest time of the year for the lodge. July and August are prime fishing months for silver salmon, king salmon, and halibut. The weather is generally warm, and the fish are plentiful. We receive our largest client base during this time, including larger groups that have fished with us for many years in a row. We took advantage of our free time by checking out the activities downtown, hiking, golfing, and generally just relaxing, refreshing ourselves in order to return ready to give our guests another great fishing vacation in Alaska!
Written by Tom, Deckhand ~ Checkmate