The community of Sointula and Malcolm Island guests fell hook, line and sinker for a revitalized Salmon Days, a festival that had been belly up for nearly 30 years.
Folks pointed to longtime resident Myrna Williams as the driving force behind the move to resurrect Salmon Days.
Williams, who is extraordinarily reluctant to take all the credit, said the town had been hosting a fall fair the last couple of years. “It was small but successful,” she said.
From that, the idea of a reinvigorated Salmon Days was born, she said.
“But it wasn’t just me, there were so many wonderful people involved,” said Williams, who noted Malcolm Island residents Alden Barnett and Kathy Hamilton were instrumental in the planning and execution of the festival.
However, there was also a core group of a dozen volunteers who pulled together to make sure the event went off without a hitch.
“When you say Salmon Days to anybody they say, ‘I’m there,'” Williams said. “It means home.”
Wanda Laughlin said she believes Salmon Days died when it became too large to handle.
“The last Salmon Days was in 1983,” she said.
“It got bigger but it didn’t have the number of (volunteers) it needed, and fishing changed to the point it was hard to get fish.”
In fact, Williams said she was unsure until the last minute if the community wanted to embrace the new festival.
“I nearly cried when I saw all the people at the parade because I was really worried only two or three might show up.”
Her fears were unfounded when the festivities began Saturday with a colourful parade that started along the town’s people-lined main drag before it wound up at the ball fields where hundreds enjoyed everything from live entertainment, booths loaded with North Island wares and food and a dinner where traditionall cooked sockeye salmon was the main attraction.
Williams said organizers are looking forward to 2012 Salmon Days.
“Everything is in place for next year,” she said.