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City set for its second Salmon Festival

Plans are coming together for Enumclaw's second Salmon Festival, which will bring live entertainment, workshops and family fun to downtown on Oct. 16.

More than 1,200 people attended last year's inaugural festival, which celebrates the return of coho, chinook and other salmonid species to Newaukum Creek.

Organizers anticipate this year's event will be bigger and better than the debut festival, and all are invited to check out the fun at the parking lot at the corner of Cole Street and Initial Avenue. The festival is scheduled from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and features free educational workshops, site tours, live music, a native dance performance, a fishing derby and other fun activities for the kids, arts and crafts booths and food.

Enumclaw is known primarily for farmland and timber, but fish play a role. Adult salmon, returning from their long journey to the Pacific Ocean, make every effort to travel up into the smallest creeks of their birth to spawn and to renew the life cycle. Many of these creeks are more than 50 miles away from the coastline and some are no more than 2 feet wide. Newaukum Creek, which winds through Enumclaw, is among those creeks hosting returning salmon.

For more than 13 years, the Mid Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group, the main organizer of the Enumclaw festival, has been working with local landowners and volunteers to restore salmon and salmon habitat in the area. Scout packs and school classes, as well as many individual volunteers, sign up regularly to participate in planting events, carcass distribution, weed removal and site maintenance.

The festival will feature activities for kids and adults alike. The Muckleshoot Canoe Club will host a cultural booth, showing their authentic canoes, and "Of Cedar and Salmon" will present a native arts and crafts exhibit in its lodge. Environmental and other community groups will staff educational booths to inform about Pacific Northwest ecology.

In addition, hourly van tours to Mid Sound restoration sites will be offered, starting at 11 a.m.

Kids can try their luck at fishing and, for a flat fee of $5, go after the longest trout in the fishing derby pond. Throughout the day, three winners will be awarded prizes. Equipment and bait, as well as assistance and fish-cleaning services, will be provided thanks to the support of Trout Unlimited and the help of Boy Scout packs 500 and 520.

Other activities include:

€ a salmon-themed coloring contest; watch for the coloring contest page in The Courier-Herald, or visit the newspaper's booth at the festival. All colorings must be handed in at the booth by 1:30 p.m. on the 16th.

€ face painting at Boy Scout Pack 520's booth; windsocks with Jennifer Fink's Girl Scouts; take a ride on the Kids' Railroad; or climb into the belly of FIN, The Migrating Salmon. FIN is a handmade, interactive 25-foot sculpture, featuring educational murals on the life and habitat of salmon in the Pacific Northwest.

Early birds are invited to take part in one of the two "Tour de Salmon" bike tours, organized by the Backcountry Bicycle Trails Club, the Middle Green River Coalition, the Cascades Bicycle Club and Black Diamond Bike and Backcountry. Enjoy the scenic country roads of the Enumclaw Plateau on a leisurely-paced 30-mile road tour, or climb the Foothills Trail to the Green River Gorge on an intermediate-level mountain bike tour. For more information and sign up, visit www.bbtc.org.

Partners and sponsors of the event include the Mid Puget Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group, the Enumclaw Area Chamber of Commerce, the city of Enumclaw, The Courier-Herald, the Middle Green River Coalition, Trout Unlimited, Boy Scout packs 500 and 520, Hancock Forest Management, Puget Sound Energy, Summit Central Construction, Gray Lumber, Auburn Sports and Marine and The Grocery Outlet.

All festival proceeds will benefit salmon restoration projects on Newaukum Creek. For more information about the Festival, contact the Enumclaw Area Chamber of Commerce at 360-825-7666 or the Mid Puget Sound Fisheries Enhancement Group at 206-529-9467.

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