Saturday, October 11, 2008

Issaquah Salmon Days Festival 2008

The first weekend of October we went to the town of Issaquah (about 15 miles east of Seattle) for the Salmon Days Festival. In 2007 we had planned on attending the Festival because we were poor, jobless, and couldn't afford many other activities. So we thought that a free festival would be fun. However, after a serious discussion, we decided we didn't even want to pay the money for gas and parking to go to the Festival. (Yes we were that poor after we moved here.) So, now that we're gainfully employed, it's been a goal of mine to head to the Salmon Days Festival.

Salmon Days celebrates the salmon returning to the Issaquah salmon hatchery to spawn. During the course of the Festival, you can see the fish in the river trying to jump up the fish ladders. After they make it up the ladders, they end up in the hatchery tanks (where they were initially 'born' about 4 years ago) and spawn thousands of pink eggs. It was pretty neat to see the fish trying to jump the ladders. Although the ladders were "closed" at that time, because the hatchery was controlling how many fish could come into the tanks at a time, the fish obviously didn't know that and were making valiant attempts to make it "home." Hundreds of people were lining the river and bridge to see these fish jump. It was pretty mundane and spectacular at the same time.

And of course, a festival wouldn't be a festival without tons of food. For some odd reason, every fair and festival we've been to since moving to the Northwest has a very popular food item I've never noticed in other US festivals: corn on the cob, grilled in their husks. Robb and I haven't quite understood the popularity of this item. Everyone seems to buy it. The longest lines at the food areas are always for the corn booths. So I decided to try it. Let me tell was just corn on the cob. Very odd that so many people are "into it." If someone knows the secret, let me know. After the corn, I was on a mission to find salmon. Believe it or not, at the Salmon Days Festival we only found two areas that sold Salmon. We decided on the Kiwanis' Salmon Barbecue, even though we had to stand in line for a good 20 minutes. But let me tell you, it was phenomenal. Finally, I have to say that this is one of the best festivals I've ever been to. A few weeks ago I lamented about the lack of artisan crafts in today's fairs and festivals. Issaquah Salmon Days is apparently not in that "sell-out" category. There was booth after booth of truly unique crafts and art. We didn't actually buy anything, but it was nice to have the option. And just looking at the various booths is entertaining by itself. This is a festival that we will be attending again, maybe even annually. And it brought back my faith in festivals. I'll keep going to different festivals, I am reminded that not all are sell-outs!

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