Family-friendly festivals celebrate fishing

“The thing it’s really geared toward is being a very family friendly day. It’s not expensive; the salmon barbecue, the other food we offer, it’s just a tremendous value,” says Steve Funk, president of the Fishermen’s Terminal Tenant’s Association, which coordinates the Seattle Fishermen’s Fall Festival each year.

Funk, the regional manager for Anthony’s Restaurants, has been involved with the festival for all of its 22 years. He says the festival is an inexpensive way for families to have fun and get to know their local fishing industry.

For example, the Seattle festival offers children an opportunity to build their own foot-long fishing boats. “We had 1,200 wooden boat hulls that John Bruce makes every year. The kids add sails, corks, nails, and decorate these little 12-inch boats,” Funk says. “We had 60 linear feet of tables with hammers and glue guns going all day.

“To be here as long as I have, to see families building wooden boats and hearing young 32-year-old parents telling their kids how they built wooden boats, it becomes multi-generational,” Funk adds. “It’s really fun.”

The food, music, salmon filleting, oyster shuck and shoot, lutefisk eating and survival suit race contests the fair offers are all part of a larger mission. Waterfront festivals are valued as a way to raise the fishing industry’s profile within a community and educate local residents about commercial fishing.

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