Summers are busy in Ketchikan, with up to five cruise ships making port every day, but the locals also know how to play hard—especially at the huge Blueberry Arts Festival, hosted every August by the Ketchikan Arts and Humanities Council. In a town of 14,000, you’re likely to see as many as 8,000 people come out to this family-friendly event that celebrates the Southeast Alaskan blueberry.
With almost 30 years under its belt, the Ketchikan Wearable Arts Show is an event you don’t want to miss. Described as the “original runway performance,” this show has inspired imitations in neighboring communities and around the world. If you’d like to see a show that most clearly represents pure artistic talent, this is it.
Perfectly timed for the approaching holiday season, the Ketchikan Arts & Humanities Council’s Winter Arts Faire showcases the creations of local artists, which make for great gifts. More than 80 artists exhibit their work here, so you could easily fill all of your holiday wish lists with local, handmade gifts.
King salmon hit town just after the snow melts and people are ready for the sunny days of summer. With temps in the 60s and 70s for the first time in months, the whole place comes alive. The diehards are out weeks ahead of time to see where the Kings are. Volunteers help out at the weigh-in stations and give hourly updates to the radio station, which airs these along with fish-ladder reports.
The race course is an 8.2 mile circumnavigation of Pennock Island, making it one of the most unique – and one of the longest - open-water marathons. (Seasoned swimmers usually take between 3 and 4 hours to finish). Enter as a solo swimmer or as a 2- or 4-person relay, and there is a wetsuit category as well.