Story last updated at 3:50 p.m. Thursday, May 23, 2002

Kayaks, veterans mark holiday
As sure as the warm weather, king salmon and greening lawns mark the season, a host of local activities are on tap for area residents and visitors this Memorial Day weekend.

A new event this year is what's billed as the first annual Kachemak Bay Kayak Festival organized by the Homer Chamber of Commerce.

Kayaking opportunities for most ages and skill levels will be available for people interesting in taking advantage to the sea kayaking in the bay area.

Organizers have a coordinated a series of discount lodging, kayak tours and lessons and other events involving local businesses.

Among the activities are free tours by True North Kayak from 3-4 p.m. and 5-6 p.m. Saturday in the protected waters of the Homer Boat Harbor. Two free movies about kayaks and canoes are also planned at Alice's Champagne Palace at 7 p.m. Saturday.

Although chamber of commerce director Derotha Ferraro notes that Memorial Day is typically a low-key holiday in the area, with many families opting for fishing or barbecues, "we wanted to give people another opportunity to go kayaking."

For a full schedule of events and discount programs, people should call the Homer Chamber of Commerce at 235-7740 or stop by the Visitor Center in Homer.

While the holiday is a popular chance to relax, area veterans groups remind everyone of the true meaning of Memorial Day. Honor ceremonies at the graves of military veterans will be conducted on Monday at the Hickerson Memorial Cemetery in Homer at 10 a.m., then on to the Anchor Point Cemetery at noon and the Ninilchik cemetery at 2 p.m.

The ceremonies will be conducted by American Legion Posts 16 and 18 of Homer and Ninilchik and Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10221 in Anchor Point. The ceremonies, including a 21-gun salute and "Taps," are open to all.

On Monday, government offices, post offices and libraries in the area will be closed for the holiday.