The Horsefly Salmon Festival takes place in Horsefly, B.C. this weekend Sept. 19 and 20. (Tribune file photo)

WEEKEND EVENT: Horsefly Salmon Festival takes place Sept. 19 and 20

An opportunity to celebrate and learn more about salmon

Everyone is invited to take in the Horsefly Salmon Festival taking place this Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 19 and 20, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Organizer Dinah Stephenson said it’s a ‘slow year’ as far as salmon showing up in the Horsefly River, but that won’t dampen the intent of the festival, which is mostly about education.

“Last year with the Big Bar Slide, we still had a few salmon show up — I think we will still see some,” she told the Tribune Friday.

Williams Lake First Nation will lead an opening ceremony at 10 a.m. on Saturday and a closing ceremony at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

“On Sunday at 1 p.m., an elder from Williams Lake First Nation will do a special ceremony and prayer for the salmon,” Stephenson said.

As in previous years, Fisheries and Oceans Canada will have an information booth doing fish dissection, there will be a booth for children to pick up a passport to take along with them when walking the salmon trail.

Later they can check in at the kiosk to answer some questions for the passport.

Read more: Every day is a prayer: Tsilhqot’in community prays for return of salmon

Horsefly artist Christina Mary will be doing basket weaving demonstrations and while there will be no vendors at the festival this year due to COVID precautions, the local cafe and pub will be open, and the farmers market runs on Saturday.

With COVID-19 protocols in place, the public is asked to bring and wear a mask when needed and use hand sanitizer and anyone planning to take a walk on the Salmon Trail will be required to keep a physical distance of two metres apart.

The mouth of the Horsefly River is 760 kilometres by water upstream from the mouth of the Fraser River at Steveston.

Averaging 27 km a day, sockeye that elude the nets of the fishermen make this trip in about 28 days. From Hell’s Gate the sockeye continue their journey up the Fraser River.

They swim past the mouths of both the Thompson and Chilko Rivers to the mouth of the Quesnel River at Quesnel.

They make their way up the Quesnel River to the mouth of the Horsefly River and continue up the Horsefly River to the spawning channel at Horsefly, which was built in 1989.

Read more: Record-low returns continue for Fraser sockeye despite success of Big Bar passage

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