By Jim Lavrakas
On Saturday, the Chamber hosted the 21st-annual Winter King Tournament, and it was one for the books. As far as angler numbers (906) and boats (270), it was the second-best turnout ever. The 202 fish caught ranks as the third-best catch. We couldn’t have had better weather for March, and participants showed up at Coal Point headquarters with smiles on their faces. I am very grateful for a great staff, dedicated volunteers, help from the Port and Harbor and outstanding sponsors.
GCI has stepped up their sponsorship for the chamber this year, underwriting TV advertising on KTVA 11 (the CBS affiliate in Anchorage which they recently bought) and their 59 cable networks. Did you see our great TV ads? GCI wanted to make a bigger commitment to the chamber and our town, and is giving us more than $100,000 in advertising to spread across our “Big Three” events: the Winter King Salmon Tournament, the Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, and the Jackpot Halibut Derby. Almost $40,000 in TV ads went toward the Winter King Tournament alone. GCI is a great supporter of our town.
I can’t say enough about Nancy Hillstrand and her crew at Coal Point. Having that great facility for tournament headquarters just makes this event one of professional caliber. Scott Ulmer and his crew pitched in, finding the wide range of prizes for our 11-20 place winners, as well as the “bellringer” prizes. The Mitchells came through for us by producing the first NOMAR’s Champion’s Vest. We’ll continue to give the vest away to the winner of the tournament as a piece of gear they can brag about all year long. Ben Mitchell, who normally fishes in the tournament, was in Anchorage for some planned surgery, and we missed his presence in our official start of the fishing season.
This year’s winner did not have any Boat Side Bets, so the $47,500 in winnings was more spread out among boats than in other years, which made the event exciting.
Registration for this year’s Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival opened online last Wednesday. The 22nd-annual event runs from May 8-11. Please note that we’ve gone to a ticketing solution for all festival events. To attend the 2014 festival, participants pay an initial $19.50 festival fee that gives them access to their registration profile. After receiving an email confirmation of the registration purchase, registrants receive a second email with a unique username and password that is then used to login into the menu of events and buy tickets.
Having a username/password also allows registrants to return to add more, or cancel, events. The option to add family members for $5 each is also available during event signup. A one-time ticketing surcharge of $4.50 is included in the festival fee. These fees help cover general operating and ticketing expenses of the Shorebird Festival, and allow us to continue to offer events and activities at low, or no, fee. Formerly “free” presentations and walks are included in the registration fee, unless otherwise noted.
The registration fees also ensure that the number of seats for an event is updated so participants know what is available to take part in. Many “free” events have a seat maximum, and this ensures that the event is fair to the event leader and the participants.
Participants will be asked to show a confirmation of their registration to an event coordinator at the door. You can pick up your finalized tickets and festival badge at the Chamber Visitor Center, which is the Shorebird Festival headquarters.
Note that several events have already sold out, so if you want to sign up for land or water tours, get online! Thanks for your support in helping the festival remain a self-sustainable event, year after year.
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