ABOVE: Kids like Myra Reasoner and Ginger Oseki love the salmon and all the festivities. BELOW: Naturalist Ursula Lowrey conducts a channel tour of the spawning salmon.

Redfish Festival marks kokanee salmon’s return

It’s time to celebrate the annual return of the kokanee salmon at Kokanee Creek Park on Sunday, August 24.

Here they come again!

It’s time to celebrate the annual return of the kokanee salmon at Kokanee Creek Park on Sunday, August 24. Get ready for channel spawning tours, dance, food and fun along, with a local art exhibit  from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the visitors centre on Kootenay Lake.

This is the third annual Redfish Festival presented by the West Kootenay EcoSociety. Guided channel tours run hourly throughout the day. Residents and campers can learn more about these wonderful fish who return year after year, how they are the key to the  web of life, and what we can do to protect them.

A plant walk with Eileen Delahanty Pearkes is new this year.

And, rain or shine, it’s all free!

It wouldn’t be a festival without music, dance, bubbles, kids activities and good food. Local food vendors will be on hand all day for a meal or a treat.

“We were blown away by the response last year,” said the centre’s director Mel Reasoner. “We could see that many folks really want to learn more about these landlocked salmon as well as enjoy a Sunday in the park with family and friends.”

Reasoner says people and fish aren’t the only ones attending the event. The occasional bear shows up as well. “So please, leave the dogs at home,” he cautions.

The 2014 festival will feature a special art exhibit in the centre’s theatre presented by the Nelson and District Arts Council to benefit the Friends of West Kootenay Parks.

Entertainers Bessie Wapp and Friends join Slava Dorvall’s Fusion Dance and Bryce and the West Arm Bottom Bouncers throughout the day for a round of rousing dance and music.

The festival enjoys wide support from its sponsors, BC Parks, Friends of West Kootenay Parks, the Columbia Basin Trust, RDCK Areas E and F, Nelson Star, 103.5 Juice FM and Kootenay Co-op Radio.

For more details, as well as a schedule of weekly events at the center is available at ecosociety.ca or search Facebook for Kokanee Creek Visitors Centre.

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