Photo Credit: Copper River Salmon Jam

Prince William Sound Fairs & Festivals

The communities of Valdez, Whittier, and Cordova all have something in common—they know how to throw a party that’s full of small-town charm. And these festivals in the Prince William Sound area aren’t only fun; they also give you a great glimpse into local life.

Hands down, the main event in Whittier is the Fourth of July—a celebration that doesn’t take itself too seriously. There’s a tiny parade through the downtown “triangle” (blink and you might miss it!) followed by a BBQ and games. The kids decorate their bikes and ride through the streets, and the locals dress up in goofy outfits.

In Cordova, many of the festivals celebrate events of nature. The Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival, for example, is a springtime tribute to the migration of millions of birds. Salmon Jam focuses on the area’s abundance of salmon—and the fish’s importance to locals’ livelihoods—while the autumn Fungus Festival is a tribute to the mighty mushroom. One festival, however, is just for fun: The Iceworm Festival, held each February, serves as a cabin-fever reliever, bringing everyone out of their homes to celebrate the days getting longer.

In Valdez, kick off summer with the Valdez Fly-In and Airshow, featuring the world-famous STOL (short takeoff and landing) competition, beach landing, balloon bust, flour bombing, and aerobatics show. You can also find several fish derbies to participate in over the summer. In August, come for Gold Rush Days, a festival celebrating the Gold Rush history of Valdez, complete with can-can girls, a parade, and a famous wine walk. The fun doesn’t stop with the warm weather: In winter, you’ll find a fat-tire bike bash and an ice climbing festival!

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Fairs & Festivals

Con­sid­ered one of Alaska’s top bird­ing events, this annu­al fes­ti­val dur­ing ear­ly May cel­e­brates the arrival of more than 5 mil­lion migra­to­ry birds on the Cop­per Riv­er Delta east of Cordova.

This annu­al three-day event cel­e­brates the Cor­do­va region’s abun­dant crop of wild mush­rooms with class­es, art and hand­craft ses­sions, expert talks, kid’s activ­i­ties and dai­ly-guid­ed trips into the rain for­est foothills and the Cop­per Riv­er Delta.

It’s only fit­ting that an Alas­ka fish­ing vil­lage throws a great salmon fes­ti­val. Every year in July, the town of Cor­do­va takes a break from fish­ing to turn out for the Cop­per Riv­er Salmon Jam. This fes­ti­val aims to cel­e­brate salmon and pro­mote the health and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of local salmon runs.

Cordova’s old­est fes­ti­val — which start­ed back in 1961 — is about offer­ing a cure for the win­ter blues. This week­long fes­ti­val hap­pens dur­ing the hope­ful time of year when the days are start­ing to get longer!

Every town has their 4th of July tra­di­tions, and while small, Whittier’s is lots of fun. And, it’s the main com­mu­ni­ty event of the year. It also doesn’t take itself too seri­ous­ly! There’s a tiny parade through the down­town tri­an­gle” (blink and you might miss it!).

Fly­ing, of course, is a way of life in Alas­ka, and this air show cel­e­brates the skilled pilots who tra­verse the state. They fly in from all over Alas­ka and line the tar­mac with their planes. Non­stop per­for­mances make for great fam­i­ly enter­tain­ment, like the short take-off and land­ing con­test and the flour-bomb­ing con­test (where planes drop bags of flour on a target).