By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
2013 is the year of the pinks!
The city of Sultan will welcome its second official “Return of the Salmon” festival on Sept. 28 to celebrate the salmon that travel up the Sultan River to spawn. The festival will take place from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on First Street near Osprey Park.
While salmon spawn in the Sultan River every year, this year is special due to the highly-anticipated return of the pink salmon. The pinks are on a unique, two-year cycle.
The event is being organized by a group of local volunteers and is expected to include a native welcoming ceremony, storytelling, poetry reading, a native flute concert, drumming, informational booths on alternative energy, logging, sustainable living and more. Details for a salmon bake are being outlined, along with a potential workshop on the stewardship of conifer trees in Osprey Park, and a medicinal plants presentation.
Keith Binkley, the manager of natural resources of the Snohomish County Public Utility District, will have a booth at the festival and will be available to provide information on the spawning salmon, including data on the improvements the PUD has made to Osprey Park to increase their habitat.
“After the PUD’s Jackson Project began in 1984, the Sultan River pink salmon numbers have increased an annual average of 78,948 adult fish per cycle, a 1,600 percent increase,” states a report published by the PUD.
In addition to celebrating the fish spawning, the festival is also an official way to honor Chief John T’seul-Ted, after whom the city of Sultan is named. A likeness of “Sultan John,” as he is commonly known, stands 13 feet tall and is located near First and Main Street at River Park. His name, which folks found difficult to pronounce, was simplified from T’seul-Ted to Sultan.
“We are hoping, as part of this ceremony, to restore in people’s minds and memories that this town was actually named after an Indian whose family lived here for countless generations,” said festival chairperson Craig Young.
Chief T’seul-Ted was chief of a sub-group of the Snohomish Tribe, and was born and raised near what is commonly known as the city of Sultan. His birthday is unknown, but he was thought to be nearly 70 years old at the time of his death. He lived in Sultan all of his life, although he was staying with his brother in Hadlock when he passed away.
The chief was known for being a revered medicine man, and his cures were at times regarded as miraculous. He also enjoyed crafting and carving wood, fishing and hunting. Highly respected, Chief T’seul-Ted knew the mountains well and was often a trail guide to miners seeking assistance in navigating the local forest.
Chief T’seul-Ted’s great-great-granddaughter will attend the festival, and has been invited to speak.
Eventually, the festival organizers hope to raise enough funds to build a roof-type structure over the statue of Chief T’seul-Ted to help protect it from it from the weather.
To be involved in the festival, become a sponsor or to inquire about setting up a vendor booth, please contact Craig Young at 425-359-8936 or firstname.lastname@example.org.