50 Years of Fishy Fun
In 2019, Issaquah commemorated 50 years of celebrating the salmon successfully returning to our streams. Here are some fun facts about the Salmon Days Festival and the fish we adore:
In 1970, the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce presented the first Salmon Days festival.
The event grew out of the desire to replace the once popular Labor Day celebration, as well as a need to celebrate one of Issaquah’s greatest treasures – the annual return of the salmon.
In the beginning, the festival attractions included the Kiwanis Salmon BBQ, salmon hatchery displays, an art show, children’s parade led by the late J.P. Patches, Little League football games at Veterans Memorial Field, fire crew competitions and more.
In 1980 the Salmon Days festival and Grande Parade underwent two major changes that have been credited with altering the course of the festival: Salmon Days became a Seafair-sanctioned event and a festival float was created again.
To aid the growth process, merchandise was introduced, the first paid festival director was hired and large ohfishal spawnsors came onboard in the 80’s
In 1990, the festival introduced the Salmon Days Limited Print, a signed and numbered run of 450 prints featuring original artwork. The festival retired the collection at the end of 2003 and the majority of the past prints have sold out.
Today, Salmon Days is still presented by the Greater Issaquah Chamber of Commerce with the goal of providing a community celebration focused on honoring the miraculous return of the salmon, almost two tons each year.
Robin Kelley, Executive Director of Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery (FISH), explains the importance of salmon to our ecosystem
Did you know that more than 137 species of fish and wildlife - from orcas, bears, river otters, to caddisflies – they all depend on the Northwest salmon for their survival? It is more important than ever to do what we can, to ensure that the salmon survive in our local lakes and streams and we can continue to celebrate their return!
We hope you will join us in 2020 as we keep the spirit of Salmon Days alive with physically-distanced contests, walking tours, and other fun activities. When it is safe & responsible to do so again, we look forward to seeing you in Issaquah to celebrate the return of the salmon together.