Kodiak Maritime Museum hosts the 7th Annual Kodiak Harbor Lights Festival on Saturday, December 21, 5-9 p.m. at St. Paul and St. Herman Harbors, and the Kodiak Convention Center. The event welcomes the community into the heart of Alaska’s largest fishing fleet and features vessels strung with holiday lights. Prizes will be awarded to the three best decorated boats.
The public is encouraged to walk the docks in the harbors to see the boats, and to cast ballots afterwards for “Best Decorated Boat” at the Harbor Convention Center. The event is held regardless of weather, so we encourage folks to dress appropriately. Kodiak Maritime Museum will also serve cookies and light refreshments from 5-9 and conduct Best Decorated Boat balloting at the Harbor Convention Center. Live holiday entertainment is also planned, including the Nutcracker Ballet dancers from Next Step Dance Studio, and the St. John's Academy Choir. A schedule of performers will be posted on Facebook closer to the date.
The event began as a successor to a long running, but sometimes cancelled, holiday boat parade featuring brightly decorated vessels steaming through the Near Island Channel. December darkness and Kodiak’s notoriously inclement winter weather often made it hard for skippers to safely operate their vessels however, and after the parade was called off one too many times and participation dwindled, the event was abandoned in the early 2000s.
In 2013, Kodiak Maritime Museum, with support from the City of Kodiak, revitalized the event as the Harbor Lights Festival, updated to encourage boat owners to keep their festively lit up boats moored safely in the harbor. Having the boat in their harbor stalls has made it easier and safer for skippers and crews to participate, and also allowed the community to get up close to the vessels, and to mingle on the harbor floats with fishermen and their friends and neighbors in a festive atmosphere.
The Festival is supported this year by a grant from the Kodiak Island Borough. Gift certificates for the top three decorated boats have been provided in previous years by Sutliff’s True Value Hardware and refreshments have been contributed by Costsavers. Every year, dozens of volunteers serve coffee, hot chocolate and cookies to large crowds of residents and visitors.
To help with Harbor Lights, or for more information, please contact Kodiak Maritime Museum at 486-0384, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Find updates on the event on our Facebook page and at our website, www.kodiakmaritimemuseum.org.