By Chris Hendrickson, Monitor
The Return of the Salmon Festival has been deemed a great success by both event organizers and attendees, despite heavy rainfall. If anything, the rain seemed to add to the event’s character.
Over 200 people ventured out to Osprey Park on Saturday to enjoy the poetry reading, drumming, storytelling, flute playing and the opportunity to meet Patricia Linn, the great-great granddaughter of Chief Tseul-Ted, after whom the city of Sultan was named.
The event was held under the cover of the basketball courts and included hand-crafted art displayed by vendors, Indian tacos served by Big Bear’s Native Tacos and several informational booths set up by local nonprofit organizations.
The attendees weren’t afraid to get wet as they toured newly-renovated trails throughout Osprey Park to get a look at the Sultan River and the newly-created side channels which are currently teeming with spawning salmon.
“All in all, we thought it was amazing,” said Mars Miller, the festival’s co-chair.
Sultan resident Susie Hollenbeck enjoyed the event and found herself quite taken with the energy of the day.
“I have lived in this valley all my life. There is a part of this valley and its people that still centers around the seasons,” said Hollenbeck, explaining that fall is a particularly special time, specifically due to the salmon migrations.
“This valley has prospered from the beginning because of the salmon and so it is such a tribute to the natural world as well as the human world that we should come together in the fall and celebrate,” Hollenbeck continued.
The festival was created with dual endeavors in mind; to celebrate the return of the salmon that migrate to the Sultan River every year to spawn, and to honor Chief Tseul-Ted, who was born in Sultan, living there for most of his life. He was a greatly-revered chief and medicine man.
Event organizers were well-pleased with the overall attendance and the fact that the weather did not seem to deter festival goers or vendors. Big Bear Native Tacos reported a sell-out day, and a vendor who travelled from Portland, Ore. to offer his maple syrup and other custom food and beverage items is looking forward to participating again next year.
Other vendors displayed locally-made soaps and beauty products, bird baths and feeders, wood carvings and other hand-created art, including custom dream catchers made by Mardell’s Dream Catchers and Gifts of Gold Bar.
The festival’s Master of Ceremonies was local poet Renee Roman Nose, and Matthew War Bonnet performed and participated in Native-style drumming. Roger Fernandez and Riki Jacobs both appeared as storytellers.
The festival started with a presentation by Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick, and also included a flute performance by Peter Ali.
Anyone interesting in participating in next year’s festival should contact Craig Young at 425-359-8936.