After heavy rains throughout the Central Peninsula soaked many events last Friday night, the storm clouds parted Saturday over Kenai for the 12th Annual Industry Appreciation Days.
According to Jack Brown, one of the original creators of the event, some 6,000 people came out to the park strip in Kenai to express their appreciation of our local industries, and to enjoy the free barbeque that featured Kenai Wild Salmon, 4-H Junior Market Livestock pork, hamburgers, hotdogs, and watermelon plus numerous other free treats.
Award winners at the 12th Annual Industry Appreciation Day.
"Back then there were a few us that were tired of the way environmental groups and outside media were hammering the industries that were the backbone of our economy, so we wanted to do something to let the oil & gas industry know that we respect them and were thankful to the contribution they make to our economy and standard of living here on the Peninsula, and it kind of took off from there," said Brown. Brown added that now he has heard from other states in the Northwestern U.S. and Canada inquiring about the event and how to organize similar events.
Kids of all ages competed in the frozen salmon toss.
Each year a selection committee singles out individuals who have made significant contributions to various industries and presents them with a plaque of recognition. This year's recipients from the Oil and Gas Industry in the category of support industry was Atigun, business, Agrium Kenai Nitrogen Operations, and Peter Micciche, of ConocoPhillips was selected as the outstanding individual. In the Tourism Industry, Alaska Communications Systems was recognized for support industry, business, Hanson's Creative Carving of Sterling and individual contribution to John Faulkner of the new Kenai Landing. For the Commercial Fishing Industry, support industry recognition went to Integrity Seafood Inspection Services (ISIS), business, Pacific Star Seafoods, and outstanding individual Dr. Roland Maw, PhD.
Carrol Martin, Diamond M Ranch, serves up 4-H pork at Industry Appreciation Days.
A special recognition award went to retiring Kenai Mayor John Williams for his continuing support of industry over the last 18 years. Several public officials including U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski and Lt. Governor Loren Leman were on hand to support the communities special recognition day. In addition to the awards, live music, drawings for free bikes for kids and a trip to Las Vegas, hundreds of kids and adults of all ages participated in the frozen pink salmon toss, frozen T-shirt contest, and round haul fish net competition. Statistics show that Mother Nature has cooperated with dry weather for 12 straight summers, and Jack Brown says he is already praying for clear skies next year when the event will celebrate its lucky 13th anniversary.
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