Meetings are underway and the Return of the Salmon Celebration Committee is starting to ramp up for their third annual Return of the Salmon celebration.
The celebration will take place on Saturday, Sept. 27, from noon to 4 p.m. at Osprey Park in Sultan. The event will be held under the cover of the basketball courts and there will be tours of the riverside trails through Osprey Park, as well as the nearby Sultan High School salmon hatchery. The celebration will also include children’s activities, a native welcoming ceremony, horse-drawn covered wagon rides, a native flute concert, Indian tacos and much more.
Event organizers are also in the process of planning a three-mile fun-run along with a one-mile fast walk. The “Salmon Run” will take place at 10 a.m. and will wind through the wooded trails of Osprey Park.
New activities, like the Salmon Run and the hatchery tour, are being planned to keep the celebration evolving and to compensate for the fact that there won’t be as many salmon spawning in the river this year. Pink salmon, which were extremely prevalent in the river last year, are on a unique, odd-year cycle, only returning to the Sultan River to spawn every two years.
In addition to the hatchery tours, this year’s festival will include a celebratory fish release of salmon fry that have been raised from eggs at Sultan High School. The hatchery, which is part of the school’s biology program, enables students to oversee the process firsthand and learn to feed, care for and eventually release the baby salmon. The school receives thousands of Coho salmon eggs from the Wallace River Hatchery in Gold Bar every year.
In addition to celebrating the spawning salmon, the event is also meant to recognize and honor Sultan’s namesake, Chief John T’seul-Ted, who was also known as Sultan John.
“The health of the salmon is the health of the environment. In honoring this way of life, we honor Chief T’seul-Ted,” said Craig Young, Return of the Salmon Celebration Committee Chairman.
Chief T’seul-Ted, who was born and raised near what is commonly known as the city of Sultan, was the chief of a sub-group of the Snohomish Tribe. It is widely believed that early settlers found his name difficult to pronounce, thus simplifying it from T’seul-Ted to Sultan.
Chief T’seul-Ted, a revered medicine man and accomplished trail guide, was highly respected by those who knew him. The chief’s great-great-granddaughter, Patricia Linn of the Tulalip Tribe, was the guest of honor at last year’s celebration and will be returning this year.
The Return of the Salmon Celebration is the result of a collaborative effort between the city of Sultan, Tulalip Tribes, the Sky Valley Chamber of Commerce, the Snohomish County Public Utility District and the group of volunteers who serve as the Return of the Salmon Committee.
The committee is currently seeking local artists who are interested in participating in the event. Vendor booth space is available for a $25 fee. Outdoor recreation and sustainable-living-focused businesses are being encouraged to participate, as well, and sponsorships are available for local businesses who want to help support the celebration.
Vendor space is available in the covered area on a first come, first serve basis. If you are interested in having a booth at the celebration, please contact Craig Young or Mars Miller at (425) 359-8935, or email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Osprey Park is located at 801 1st St. in Sultan.