With a year-round population of fewer than 600 people, the Village of Sointula doesn’t host many big festivals. But one tradition that’s been revived in the past decade and that continues to draw hundreds of visitors each year is the annual Salmon Days festival.
This fun, colorful event celebrates old traditions with plenty of modern fun. It’s also a popular time to visit Malcolm Island, which can make it difficult to find a hotel room or vacation rental at the last minute. Want to learn more about this special event, or what you need to know to book a stay during the festival? Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about Sointula’s Salmon Days.
When Is It?
Every year, the Sointula Salmon Days festival falls sometime in mid-summer, typically during the first week of August. This year, it runs from July 29 to August 1, 2022.
What Is It?
The annual Salmon Days festival is perhaps Sointula’s biggest event of the entire year. For one weekend, this usually quiet, small-town comes alive, and visitors come from around the world to celebrate together in this special place. Hundred of people, including lots of former residents, descend on the Village of Sointula each year for this cherished event.
The Salmon Days festival was actually celebrated for decades during the 1900s but sadly came to an end in 1983. However, residents revived the traditional event in 2011, and have continued celebrating it ever since. Many people who once called Sointula home choose that weekend to return for a visit. Those whose families have called the community home for generations practice their family traditions and celebrate their continued love of this special place.
What Does the Festival Include?
During the weekend-long event, a variety of activities take place. Old traditions are celebrated, and new, modern ones are created as well. The weekend’s most colorful event is the Salmon Days parade. During this fun event, you can spot locals dressed in colorful homemade costumes, as well as decorated vehicles and floats.
The festival itself takes place in the middle of the community of Sointula. You can fill up on food from the many stands, listen to awesome live music by local artists as well as visiting artists, and dance the night away alongside plenty of locals and tourists. Many restaurants and other local businesses offer special during this time, making it a great time to shop and dine.
On Saturday, there’s a community market where you can shop locally made goods. Dine on a delicious salmon barbecue that day, too, cooked using Old Finnish traditions on an open put. On Sunday, you can wake up and fill up on a delicious pancake breakfast, followed by an artist’s studio tour. Also during the festival, you can learn about the history of Sointula through presentations.
Salmon Days and COVID-19
Right now, Salmon Days festivities for 2022 are still expected to take place. However, this could change if COVID-19 restrictions are back in place in Canada during the summer months.
In 2020, the first Salmon Days festival to be canceled as a result of the pandemic was devastating to the town’s residents and business owners, who rely on the added revenue from the busy weekend. If you’re looking to enjoy an exciting weekend on the island, and want to support the small business owners who call Sointula home, planning to visit during the 2022 Salmon Days festival is a great way to do so!
What to Know About Visiting
If you’re dreaming of visiting Sointula and Malcolm Island during the popular Salmon Days festival, you’ll want to start planning your trip early. The weekend is the busiest of the whole year for the town. And if tourism rebounds as hoped following two slow years as a result of COVID-19, the 2022 Salmon Days festival could prove to be the town’s busiest yet.
Expect hotels and vacation rentals to book up quickly for the dates of the festival. During your visit, restaurants and attractions may be busier than usual as well. Be patient, relax, and enjoy the slower pace of the island that the locals love!
Late July and early August are some of the best times of the whole year to visit Sointula! July is the driest and sunniest month of the year on Malcolm Island, with august following close behind. Daily high temperatures are typically in the 70s (Fahrenheit) with overnight temperatures staying in the 50s (Fahrenheit). It should come as no surprise that the Salmon Days festival is held this time of year; it’s an excellent time to cast a line and try your hand at catching your own fresh salmon!
Planning Your Visit to Sointula for the Salmon Days Festival
Whether you want to experience the rich history and cultural traditions still alive and well in Sointula or are just looking for a fun way to spend a weekend, planning a visit during the Salmon Days festival is a great choice. Consider booking your stay now to reserve your spot before rooms run out on the island!