Both days were perfect for the Horsefly River Roundtable’s annual salmon festival Sept. 3-4 to celebrate the annual sockeye salmon spawning season.
Frosty nights followed by clear sunny days ensured a high attendance by both local and out of town spectators.
Although the salmon were not present in large numbers, they were present, and folks got to see a few and learn a little about their four-year life cycle.
From 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days, Fisheries and Oceans biologist Judy Hillaby conducted dissection and learning sessions at a table on the beach, and was always surrounded by a crowd of people learning the biology of salmon.
Real knowledge was shared, and folks walked away with new understanding of another one of natures’ miracles.
Brandi Ranger, festival co-ordinator, conducted Gyotaku lessons at another location on both Saturday and Sunday. This was highly entertaining, with a huge audience participation, and some real masterpieces were produced.
Once the salmon (dead sockeye) is prepared (slime completely removed, gills and other parts prevented from leaking, completely dry), water-based paint is applied, with the colours at the artist’s whim, and paper pressed down evenly, (not an easy task), and then carefully removed to produce an exact replica of the salmon form (with a few variations).
Everyone took their Gyotakus home with them, as well as a new found knowledge of a Japanese art form that began in 1862.
Charmaine Slaven gave flat-footing dance lessons on Saturday at 2 p.m. and called for a square dance in the evening.
All events were free through the support from the Cariboo Arts and Culture Society.
Volunteers were present from the Williams Lake Rotary on Saturday to help where needed, and the Prospector Car Club from Quesnel and the Vintage Car Club from Williams Lake brought 13 or so vintage cars from yesteryear.
When they were all parked in a row by Clarke’s store, with the exception that all the cars were spotless and gleaming, it could have been a ball game in 1950s Horsefly, and these the spectators’ vehicles.
The Bun Wagon (our local hamburger stand) moved to a location by our community hall, and more than doubled her best days this year on the weekend; Clarke’s did a good volume, and the Anvil Pub was run ragged, so the salmon festival is a small economic boom as well for Horsefly.
On Sunday we had First Nations’ sales tables on the beach, and I had some excellent bannock. As well there was some beautiful art work for sale.
The Land Conservancy had a booth on Saturday, with Barry Booth sharing information.
This was well attended by the visitors.
And the Square Dance on Saturday night: “Wow” is all I can say.
Fantastic music by Jason and Pharis Romero’s Old Time Band, and dance teacher/caller Charmaine Slaven had the crowd trained in the most intricate moves in hardly any time at all.
The getting to that point provided much hilarity and enjoyment for all, especially the spectators.
This is a non alcoholic event, so the young people were part of the dancers, and this was truly another reminder of bygone days at the “old community hall.”
Special thanks to all of the volunteers and visitors for making this another truly memorable celebration of the salmon.