Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

King salmon feed expands for bicyclists


The 9th Annual Fishermen’s Community King Salmon Barbecue this year will feature four food-serving serving stations and three musical bands performing on two stages.

The seafood promotion event is ramped up to accommodate riders in the Kluane-Chilkat International Bike Relay, which for the first time has included the meal as part of participation in the ride.

Jessica Edwards, who manages the event as executive director of the Southeast Alaska State Fair, said workers will prepare barbecued kings and side dishes enough to feed 2,000 people. She’s not expecting to have leftovers.

“You have to believe they’ll come. People are biking. I don’t expect we’ll have food left over, but we plan to not run out,” Edwards said this week.

Besides doubling the number of food-serving stations, volunteers this year were building five additional baskets for holding fish over the barbecue pits. “They’ll be grilling more efficiently, so serving should go faster.”

Volunteers also will be throwing on the grill as many as 50 more king salmon, said Hugh Rietze, a career fish processor who leads up the dinner’s deep-fry crew.

Rietze said he’ll be adding three or four workers to his crew of about a dozen volunteers manning four deep-fry pots and preparing about a third of the fish served.

Deep-frying king salmon, already a rich-tasting fish, isn’t that common, but diners at the previous barbecues have become converts, Rietze said. “I’ve had dozens of people come up to me and say it’s the best fish they’ve ever had.”


“No. 1: King salmon is the best salmon there is. No. 2: I’m not overcooking it,” Rietze said. “If you think of the flavor of deep-fried halibut, it’s that times 10.”

The feed is intended to boost seafood sales by providing residents and visitors with a taste of premium fish, but determining if there’s an actual payoff is hard to say, Rietze said.

“Whether it is or not, it’s a nice donation to the community of Haines, I know that. And it’s a fun time. I’ve never heard anybody who hasn’t had a good time or a good meal,” he said.

The barbecue is from 4-9 p.m. and senior citizens are invited to get in early at 3:45 p.m. The barbecue is free. A suggested donation of $5 benefits the state fair. Beer and wine will be available for sale.


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