Soldotna clones river festival

Posted: Monday, July 23, 2001

The Kenai River Festival is returning to its old stomping grounds -- the city of Soldotna.

Well, not really, but the new Soldotna Creek Celebration smells suspiciously like the fishy festivities in Kenai.

The Kenai Watershed Forum and city of Soldotna have joined together and transformed what was formerly known as the annual city of Soldotna picnic.

"The watershed forum has been doing the Kenai River Festival and Soldotna residents were interested in having an event like that come to Soldotna," said Robert Ruffner, director of the forum.

"This year that whole concept got jump-started because Phillips Alaska Petroleum gave a substantial sum of money."

Events planned for the day include live music, a barbecue, kids' activities and a few words from Rep. Ken Lancaster, R-Soldotna, and someone from the city.

Four or five large tents will be set up around the newly landscaped soon-to-be addition to Soldotna Creek Park. The new park land is along the Sterling Highway where the Alaska Department of Transportation and Public Facilities used to be.

"It is good to take advantage of the new space that is available," Ruffner said. "I think this a really good opportunity to show there is some desire on the part of Soldotna residents to use property on the river."

The whole shebang will take place from 1 to 7 p.m. Sunday. A free barbecue, sponsored by the city, starts at 2 p.m.

"It's going to be fun," Ruffner said. "The reason we're are able to do this is because there is now a space, a nice open space in town. We really want to see people use the open space in and around the river."

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