As Seldovia recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, a sign that the small town has returned to normal comes with a harbinger of summer: the Fourth of July festival. On a visit to Seldovia last Thursday, business owners and tribal officials talked about how the city pulled through the pandemic.
Locals and tourists are invited to celebrate the Fourth of July in the waterfront town of Seldovia with a day full of events for all ages and interests, including a 5K race, parade, kayak racing and live music. Seldovia is a 15-mile boat or plane ride across Kashmir Bay and into lower Cook Inlet from Homer.
Seldovia opened and invited all locals and visitors to participate in this year’s Independence Day festival, themed “Celebrate Freedom !,” on Sunday, July 4th.
The schedule of events is as follows: 7-10 am: Breakfast pancakes in the Fire Room
7: 30-8: 30 am: Registration for Salmon Shuffle 5K in port parking
9 am: Salmon Shuffle 5K starts on Main Street
10 am: Beer Garden opens outside at Linwood Bar & Grill; Selling Books at Seldovia Public Library; Patriotic Service at Seldovia Bible Chapel
Noon: Fourth of July Parade begins on Main Street
1 pm: Kenai Peninsula Brass Band at Seldovia Gateway Pavilion; Children play on the lawn next to Linwood Bar & Grill
2 pm: Tire Ducky Race at the Seldovia Slough Bridge
3 pm: Egg Launch and Salmon Launch for teens and adults
3:30 pm: Chum Run Foot Race for Adults in Eternal Buzz
4 pm: Kayak race for teens and adults at the boat launch
Later this summer, Seldovia will also host the Alaska Tugnuts Rendezvous July 15-17, Seldovia Fly-In July 16-17 and Jakolof Bay 10-Miler 24. July. Higgy’s Outdoors 3-4 September.
According to Laurel Hilts, director of marketing and public relations for the Seldovia Village branch, Seldovia prospered during the COVID-19 pandemic because of its reclusive location, and is happy to see more people visiting again. It is estimated that about 50% of the population received the vaccines.
“For Seldovia, very few houses that had COVID. When they identified that they had COVID, really those houses kept everything there, so there wasn’t a spread in the community,” Hilts explains. “It was only travel-based that anyone got COVID.”
“In the Seldovia Village branch, our leadership was ‘Live well. Live wisely. Embrace life and don’t live in fear.’ So we didn’t close,” Hilts said. “We’ve had restrictions on our services, health care in particular, but we’re just adapting, adjusting and regrouping.”
Hilts said local businesses, including restaurants, travel services, shops and more, come together to continue to serve the community while also strengthening health and safety guidelines. Since tourist season was limited last summer, local people have also helped support business held.
“We’ve had local businesses working really hard to ensure that services have always been available for those of us who have always been here and those of us who want to come together to support them,” Hilts said.
Asta Gallery and Gifts, a local store, actually closed during the pandemic, but Sandy Bridge owners said the excitement they saw in tourists visiting Seldovia now that the pandemic is diminishing gives it hope for next season. He said seeing people visit again is interesting.
“It is fun to have people back,” Bridge said. “Seldovia is a great place to come for a few days.”
In Seldovia, tourists can enjoy food, hiking, fishing, camping, kayaking, exploring the city and learn more about the historic boardwalk and the Seldovia Village branch. In addition, the town of Seldovia hosts live music and a farmers market every weekend during the summer.
Ultimately, Hilts says Seldovia is a destination for everyone to visit, and if any of the city’s activities are known to be of no interest, it encourages visitors to sit down and listen to the stories of the locals.
Hilts said: “We have a pretty thriving small group of people here who are raising families, working their businesses, so it’s a nice mix of things,” Hilts said. “It’s really clean because we bring our own influence, our own vibe, our own culture together here. … It’s a mixed salad. Everyone’s uniqueness stays the same, but it contributes to the experience. Maybe The salad dressing is the place. The sharing thing is the essence of place here. ”
For more information about Seldovia, visit www.svt.org or www.seldoviachamber.com.
Editor’s Note: If you lose your wallet, the whole city will stop what they are doing to help you get it. Thanks.
Reach out to Sarah Knapp at [email protected]