Celebration of the watershed includes music, activities, demonstrations — and salmon
The Bear Creek Salmon Festival returns to North Mountain Park from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1.
Ashland Parks and Recreation Commission (APRC) hosted the first Bear Creek Festival in 2004. From the outset, this event was intended to be a celebration of the watershed community and the festival became a Rogue Valley tradition.
This year the tradition returns, reuniting old friends and showcasing new participants.
The Salmon Festival has invited one of its favorite local teachers to join in in a different capacity. Bekkah McAlvage, elementary school teacher, musician and longtime friend of the North Mountain Park Nature Center, will perform with her country-folk group, Bekkah and the Dusty Rubies.
McAlvage has been bringing her first-grade class to North Mountain Park for the last seven years, and says: “North Mountain Park has provided my students with rich and invaluable place-based, hands-on learning experiences through the years … I am so happy that I get to participate in the Salmon Festival again this year. It means a lot to me to see these invaluable learning events return and bring people together again!”
It wouldn’t be the Bear Creek Salmon Festival without the help of Tom Smith, a respected Cherokee elder, cultural interpreter and traditional craft artisan. Smith always takes charge of the salmon cooking. This year, he’s happy to be back and mentoring his grandson in traditional cooking methods.
Smith taught visitors how to twist cordage at the first festival in 2004, and here he is in 2019 making that salmon festival-goers love so much.
In addition to community members who have been part of the Nature Center Family for years, new partners and performers will be at this year’s event.
Three musicians are joining the Salmon Festival for the first time. The day will open with the smooth vocals of performer Greta Gardiner, and visitors will end the day dancing and grooving with the Frankie Hernandez Band.In between sets at the pavilion, visitors can head down to the salmon cooking area to listen to the graceful guitar and flute of Tommy Graven. The park will be filled with music from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The new food vendor will be Fatso’s Cheketos, serving keto-friendly food, gluten-free and vegetarian options. They will also have a kid-friendly plate and something cold and refreshing to drink.
Everyone is invited to gather with friends old and new for a day of learning, music, crafts and culture. Local experts will be on hand with outdoor activities for all ages. Together, they have the chance to honor salmon, local watersheds and all ways we are intertwined. Attendees can help make it a zero-waste event by bringing a reusable water bottle or cup.
Admission is free. The festival is at North Mountain Park, 620 N. Mountain Ave. in Ashland. To learn more, visit BearCreekSalmonFestival.net.