ANCHORAGE -- This city is gearing up for its second summer of Wild Salmon on Parade, a uniquely Alaskan twist to the popular Cow Parade events that have captured visitors' attention in two dozen cities around the world. (The Pigs on Parade event in Seattle is another.)

Instead of offering local artists the chance to decorate life-size fiberglass cows and display them around the city, Anchorage commissions big salmon statues.

"Wild salmon are a unique resource and immediately identifiable with Anchorage and Alaska," said a spokeswoman for the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Visitors will be able to download a walking-tour map from the Anchorage CVB Web site, www.anchorage.net, or pick one up at its Log Cabin and Downtown Visitor Information Center to follow the "parade."

Fish statues were unveiled in early June and will be displayed throughout the summer.

The parade is bookended by the Ship Creek King Salmon Fishing Derby, which was held June 4 through 13, and the Silver Salmon Fishing Derby, Aug. 13 through 22 (see story below).

And the prominently displayed fish might raise clients' awareness of other "fishy" events in Anchorage.

Last year, for example, local restaurants featured special salmon dishes on their summer menus, and local artists displayed salmon-related artwork in their windows.

The event debuted last year with about 20 5-foot-high, brightly decorated fiberglass salmon, with names like King Salmon (carrying a scepter and wearing a robe) and Forget-Me-Not (displaying the Alaska state flower).

Salmon Lake, dressed in a tutu made from discarded carpet from the Alaska Performing Arts Center, was the favorite among voters in an online poll last year. A fish called Salmon Lake, which sported red lipstick and a tutu made from the Alaska Performing Arts Center's discarded carpet, was the favorite among voters in an online poll.

This year, there will be 30 artistically rendered fish on display throughout Anchorage.

A 12-member jury will pick this year's salmon statues. At the end of the season, the statues will be auctioned off. Visitors will have an opportunity to enter a drawing to win other themed art work, which also will be designed by a local artist.

For more information, contact the Anchorage Convention and Visitors Bureau at (907) 276-4118 or [email protected].

To contact reporter Rebecca Tobin, send e-mail to [email protected].

City cast reel to fishing enthusiasts

ANCHORAGE -- The sport of salmon fishing is a big deal in Alaska, and "combat fishing" Anchorage's Ship Creek is serious sport indeed.

Anchorage holds two major fishing derbies each summer, the King Salmon Derby and the Silver Derby (held June 4 to 13 and from Aug. 13 to 22, respectively).

If clients want to fish in a derby, there are a few things the novice angler needs to know.

First, you can't just come down to Ship Creek, which runs through the city, and start casting for fish. Fishermen must possess a derby ticket, which costs $10 a day and $30 for the full derby, according to the derby's official Web site, www.anchoragederbies.com. Entrants can be as young as 6 years old, but those over 16 must have a license.

Second, they must understand the fish. Both the king salmon and the silver salmon are fish that "just came out of salt water and are stronger than you can believe," according to the Web site. The site also helps fishermen line up the right type of tackle and equipment.

And then there's also the code of conduct for the derby. The main thrust is to be polite -- to your fishing neighbors, not necessarily to the fish.

"Successful fishing in Ship Creek means respecting the anglers around you," the derby site advises. "It's best to fish [using] the same techniques as those around you. If throwing spoons or spinners is the going way where you are, go with the flow. If bait fishing is the method of choice, use bait."

Meanwhile, if your neighbor has hooked a big one, give him some space.

"A 'fish-on' yell means that the angler has a priority in the area. You should reel in your line and let him play the fish. Don't be the reason the fish is lost." -- R.T.

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