Ensuring the public is aware of the issues facing wild salmon and orcas living in the waters surrounding Port Townsend is of utmost importance, said Danny Millholand, owner of Thunderbull Productions.
With that in mind, Thunderbull Productions is joining forces with North Olympic Salmon Coalition and several other organizations and schools to host the third-annual Salmon and Orca Festival at Fort Worden.
“Most importantly it is going to be a fun event, but there is also this component of raising awareness about our relationship to the ecosystem and our impacts on the other species that live here,” Millholand said. “We are very much interrelated with all species.”
The festival will be from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Fort Worden beaches and Marine Science Center.
This is the first year the festival includes salmon in the title, Millholand said.
“We decided to change the name in part due to the deeply connected relationship orcas and salmon have. They are both iconic species in the Salish Sea.”
Additionally, Port Townsend has a history of celebrating salmon, Millholand said.
“For many years, when I was a kid, we had a big salmon festival and some of the same groups and people that put that on are involved in this new festival. We decided to embrace the salmon.”
Hannah Seligmann of the North Olympic Salmon Coalition said creating awareness of the need to restore salmon habitat is one of the first steps to real change in the ecosystem as a whole.
“Salmonids play a critical role in our marine and freshwater ecosystems, our economy, recreation, culture and history,” she said. “Restored habitats also benefit countless other wildlife and provide recreation opportunities for people. Healthy habitat means healthy watersheds, cleaner water, and a stronger economy.”
Although dealing with serious environmental issues, the day will also be one giant beach party, Millholand said.
“There will be free entry into the Marine Science Center and Museum and a big fiberglass salmon you can climb inside of.”
Also, free ice cream sandwiches, Millholand said.
“It is a family-oriented event so there are going to be kids activities. The YMCA is going to be there. A number of our school programs will be there.”
The festival will also be just in time to celebrate the kick off of the summer season, Millholand said.
Entry to the event is free, although a Discovery Pass is required to park onsite. That won’t be a problem for those arriving on foot or bicycle, Millholand said.