Kodiak’s Harbor Lights is back again this year. Toby Sullivan of the Kodiak Maritime History Museum is the annual event’s main organizer.
“The Harbor Lights Festival is a reincarnation of a former event which was the harbor the Kodiak boat parade, which went on for a number of years sporadically very weather dependent in the 1990s into the early 2000s. And because of weather, sometimes the boat parade didn’t happen as we all know in December the weather can be pretty sketchy,” Sullivan said.
The Harbor Lights festival combines an indoor reception with what is- hopefully- a fishing boat parade, with light displays rigged up onboard.
This year, the Kodiak Convention center will open at 5 p.m. December 18. There will be hot chocolate for spectators with the boat parade getting underway at 6 p.m. Sullivan joined KMXT’s Talk of the Rock to discuss some of the more memorable displays in years past.
“Well, we’ve had we’ve had the Sea Strike which is a pretty big boat I mean it’s well over 150 feet and we’ve had a single person kayak in the harbor with lights that they ran with batteries or something, and they paddled around between the floats,” Sullivan said.
Sullivan says the commercial fishermen – known for their fierce independence – are actually very easy to work with.
“Fishermen here are pretty good at maneuvering boats and coordinating with each other. I mean, most boats fish in a fleet of some sort for crab or herring or halibut or salmon where they have to coordinate with other boats. Sometimes in close quarters, certainly the herring fishery and salmon fishery, those boats are working in close quarters and oftentimes at night. And so they know how to do that. And we’re just going to leave them to do what they know best,” Sullivan said.
Organizers are recommending, but not requiring, people to wear masks. There will also be a Christmas bazaar for local artists from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Kodiak Harbor Convention Center.
You can listen to the full Talk of The Rock episode here;