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!
Fairs & Festivals
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.
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.
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).