It’s worth noting that one year ago, we wrote an editorial about the future of the Salmon Festival in Port Alberni. It ended with this line: “There is one certainty for the 2022 Salmon Festival: it cannot happen without volunteers.”
This year, the volunteers came through, and the community of Port Alberni has barely managed to avoid the cancellation of the Labour Day weekend Salmon Festival.
This year’s festival was a little smaller than previous years, but volunteers and sponsors still organized a well-attended fishing derby, a fireworks show, a salmon barbecue and even a lineup of entertainment. Everyone involved in the weekend’s events deserves kudos for putting this together on such short notice and offering the community something to do over Labour Day weekend.
Some people took to social media over the weekend to reminisce about “the good old days” of the salmon derby, when it took place at Clutesi Haven Marina under the previous Salmon Fest committee. While these volunteers should be recognized for everything they did to keep the festival running for nearly five decades, times have changed, and many of the service clubs involved in the festival have seen declining membership and people retiring.
The Salmon Festival may have looked different this year, but we live in a different world today. From the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, to the rising costs of living, Port Alberni looks different than it did just 10 years ago. Any event must change and adapt with the times to keep running.
Every single one of these community events in the Alberni Valley—from Salmon Fest to the Canada Day parade to the upcoming Fall Fair—relies on volunteers. If you want to be a part of the future of the Alberni Valley, consider becoming one of those volunteers yourself.
We hope to see the Salmon Festival continue in Port Alberni for years to come.
— Alberni Valley News