In our own Backyard

Story last updated at 5:38 PM on Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Memorial day activities: summer kicks off with plenty to do

In our own backyard

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer


Homer News file photo

An afternoon breeze unfurls flags held by representatives of American Legion Posts 16 and 18 and VFW Post 10221 during 2010 Memorial Day ceremonies at Ninilchik.

Memorial weekend on the southern Kenai Peninsula is full of things to do.

Rivers are open for fishing, launch ramps are operating and charter captains are eager to share their expertise. The Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby, sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, got underway earlier this month with new rules and thousands of ways to win. The first annual Scott Harding Fish For Cancer Cure Tournament, a fundraiser benefiting the American Cancer Society's Relay For Life, happens Saturday (see related story, page 3).

Seldovia is home of the annual Human-Powered Fishing Derby, sponsored by the Seldovia Chamber of Commerce. Past entries included rowboats, kayaks, paddleboats, an old Bristol Bay sailboat and SCUBA divers, said coordinator Tim Dillon. Prizes are given for salmon, halibut, gray cod and most unusual fish; the grand prize is a 15-foot wooden sprit-rigged sailboat/rowboat.

City and state campgrounds are open. Homer's campground spaces are $8 a night for tents, $15 a night for RVs and discounts are available for longer stays if paid in advance, said Angie Otteson of the city's Parks and Recreation Department. Reservations are not taken; campers use self-pay stations or pay a park employee who makes regular rounds.

State campsites are $10 a night, except along the Anchor River. Those campgrounds are managed for the state by Alaska Recreation Management and are $12 a night.

"We still don't do reservations. It's all first-come-first-served," said Jack Sinclair, superintendent for the Alaska Division of Parks and Outdoor Recreation in Soldotna.

If campers arrive at destinations and discover them full, Sinclair urged checking with camp hosts or park rangers.

"Often times, we have information to steer you to a place where there's room," he said. "We try to find some place for everyone to go to."

Travelers can make it easier on themselves by scheduling plenty of time, and, if tired, pulling over to rest.

"Safety is the big thing," said Sinclair.

Ferries, water taxis and planes offer transportation to Seldovia for those wanting to witness the Chainsaw Carving Exhibition. Featured are carvers Jimmy Kitchens of Soldotna, Rob Younkins of Anchorage and Ben Firth of Anchor Point. Carvers begin work Thursday evening. Woodchips finally quit flying at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Memorial weekend has become a three-day vacation for many, but its roots are more serious. It began as Decoration Day, a day to remember those who died in service to the nation. It was officially proclaimed Memorial Day on May 5, 1868, and first observed May 30, 1868. The public is invited to Memorial Day services organized by members of American Legion and Veterans of Foreign War posts in Ninilchik, Anchor Point and Homer on Monday.


All-you-can-eat pancake breakfast

Saturday and Sunday, 7 a.m.-2 p.m.; Monday, 7 a.m.-noon

Sponsored by and benefiting Ninilchik Emergency Services

Carol Bock Hall, Ninilchik fairgrounds

$10 adults, $5 kids, free kids under 5

Menu includes blueberry and buttermilk pancakes, bacon and sausage, eggs scrambled with cheese, hot applesauce, coffee, tea, orange and grape juice. Also available: tickets for king-size quilt raffle, $1 each, drawing on Monday; NES cookbooks, $10 each.

Memorial Day service

Monday, 2 p.m., American Legion cemetery

Organized by American Legion Posts 16 and 18, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10221


All-you-can-eat breakfast

Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 9 -11 a.m., Anchor Point Senior Center

Requested donation $8 adults, $4 kids

Menu on Saturday and Monday is pancakes, scrambled eggs, sausage and bacon, juice and coffee. Menu on Sunday is biscuits and gravy.

Burgers and fries

Friday, 5-7 p.m., VFW Post 10221

$5 donation; $6 with bacon

Horseshoe tournament

Saturday, VFW Post 10221, 1 p.m.

Community picnic, VFW honor guard, guest speaker

Saturday, Snoon-3 p.m., Slidehole Campground

Free hot dogs, hamburgers and chips

Memorial Day services

Monday, Anchor Point Cemetery, noon

Organized by American Legion Posts 16 and 18, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10221

Pool tournament

Sunday, 7 p.m., VFW Post 10221


Homer Kitesurf Festival


Mariner Park, base of the Homer Spit

Includes free clinics with trainer kites, clinics on gear purchasing and safety, gear auction, private lessons. Recommended for ages 14 and older; no experience or wetsuit necessary to fly trainer kites or take clinics. For information, call George Overpeck, 399-6255 or email

Memorial Day service

Monday, 10 a.m., Hickerson Memorial Cemetery

Organized by American Legion Posts 16 and 18, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 10221

Coffee and donuts at the post beginning at 9 a.m.


See a schedule of Seldovia activities at

Chainsaw Carving Exhibition


Sponsored by the Seldovia Chamber of Commerce

Community potluck

Friday, 6 p.m., Outside beach

Sponsored by Seldovia Village Tribe

Fourth annual Human-powered Fishing Derby

From 8 a.m. Saturday-4 p.m. Sunday; check in at Seldovia Harbormaster's Office

Entry fee $35; anglers under 16 years old need to be accompanied by an adult; prizes awarded at community fish fry. For information, contact Tim Dillon, 299-3710.

Community Fish Fry

Sunday, 5 p.m., Seldovia Harbor

Sponsored by Seldovia Chamber of Commerce

Celebrates completion of Human-powered Fishing Derby and Chainsaw Carving Exhibition.

Memorial Day Concert

Monday, 7:30 p.m., Susan B. English School

Sponsored by Seldovia Arts Council

Features Stephanie Bettman and Luke Halpin, www.stephaniebettman,com

$15 adults, $8 youth, $35 family, preschool and younger free