Salmon in the Columbia: Festival Creates Awareness

High opes for big success in sophomore staging of salmon event

Festival goes Sept. 28-30

Festival goes Sept. 28-30

The second annual Columbia Salmon Festival will be held September 28th to September 30th at various locations throughout the Columbia Valley. The festival’s mission is to help build public understanding of the history and demise of the Salmon, as well as showcase the prospects and challenges with restoring Salmon to the Columbia Valley.

Prior to the construction of the Grand Coulee Dam in 1942 (and other dams downstream) thousands of salmon returned each year to Lake Windermere and Columbia Lake. Records indicate that many salmon in the Columbia River weighed over 40 lbs.

Today numerous people in the valley are unaware of the significant role salmon played in the history and development of this area. For centuries salmon were an integral part of tribal religion, culture, and physical sustenance for Ktunaxa Nation and Shuswap (Kinbasket) community members. The first European settlers also benefitted from the abundance of this native species.

The three-day Columbia Salmon Festival is packed with events and activities that celebrate and honour the salmon – both ocean-going and resident land-locked Kokanee. The festival is open to the public and includes many family friendly activities and events.

Some of the activities include participating in interpretive tours, guided field trips, canoe rides and ethno botanical tours while other activities include cultural performances and events such as dancing, drumming, traditional stories and spiritual ceremonies.

Tickets are also available for two Gala Salmon Dinners featuring renown guest speakers Ben Gadd, John Shurts, and Howie Wright; as well as live performances by local Kootenay musicians Red Girl and Heather Gemmell.

Attendees can sample local cuisine on Saturday afternoon’s “Taste of the Columbia” or try free samples of salmon on Friday and Sunday, prepared with traditional pit cooking or smoking methods.

Last year’s event drew a wonderful diversity of people and provided many learning opportunities. Although the big salmon are gone, smaller Kokanee salmon still reside in the waters; the public is invited to help celebrate the rich history of salmon in our region.

To find out more about the festival or purchase tickets to a dinner, please visit on your desktop or smartphone. You can also “like” the Festival’s page on Facebook at to receive ongoing updates about this year’s event.

To contact the organizers directly, or to see how you or your company can support the festival please contact Danielle Paulson @ 250-427-7010 or All proceeds from the event will be put towards ecological and restoration projects along the Columbia River and in the surrounding area.