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.
The festival provides something for everyone. Hundreds of local artists set up booths in the city parking lot next to Redman Hall on Main Street, providing them with a chance to showcase and sell their art. Food vendors offer delicious options, like the famous blueberry crepes, the elephant ears, or the spring roll-like lumpia. Then take your snacks to the nearby music stage, where local bands battle it out to win the title of Best Band. And there’s plenty more to do: submit your best blueberry-inspired dish to the Main Street Gallery; grow your facial hair for the Blueberry Beard & Mustache contest; study up for the Spelling Bee and Trivia Contest, or bring your best slug for the Slug Race!
If you’re not tired after all that, you can submit your best piece of blueberry art to the Main Street Gallery’s curated show, try your hand at poetry writing for the poetry slam, dress up and enter your favorite pet or doll into the Pet & Doll Parade, and expand your stomach in preparation for the blueberry pie–eating contest. Then join the 1-mile, 5K, or 10K Fun Run races, or take a 30-minute paddle up Ketchikan Creek to benefit the Performing Arts Center.
Still energized? Check out the local dance talent at the annual Gigglefeet Dance Festival, pop down to the Fish House for some fresh crab and the music of the Battle of the Bands winner, or grab a pint of beer at the Lumberjack Arena’s Summer Beer Festival.
But don’t wait until you get here to think about blueberries. Every year, one artist’s design is showcased on the official Blueberry Arts Festival T-shirt. So get cracking on your blueberry artwork and come to Ketchikan the first weekend in August prepared to celebrate!
August 2 - 4, 2013