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Salmon Festival This Weekend
OHS junior Ashly Junqueiro paints different color stripes on a large, wooden salmon cutout in Nancy Kerns advanced art class. A few more steps will make it complete. - photo by Dawn M. Henley/The Leader


The Salmon Festival is a go,” said Krista Smith, 2013 Stanislaus River Salmon Festival co-organizer.

Smith reported that the Salmon Festival organizing committee decided on Sept. 30 that if the federal government was still closed on Oct 21, then the festival would be cancelled. However, with federal employees now “back to work,” the Fifth Annual Stanislaus River Salmon Festival will go ahead as planned on Saturday, Oct. 26 from 10a.m. to 3p.m. in Knights Ferry at the Knight Ferry Recreation Area.

Held at the height of the salmon migration on the Stanislaus River, this family event is free. Hands-on, kid-friendly booths at the festival will include fly casting, a salmon barbeque, live music, interactive exhibits, and more. Visitors can also see the historic covered bridge and the historic town of Knights Ferry.

In preparing for the festival over the past couple of weeks, Nancy Kern’s advanced art students at Oakdale High School worked on decorating six life-size and three jumbo wooden salmon cut-outs for the Salmon Festival.

Kern explained the process for achieving the colors and textures on the wooden salmon cutouts. White glue dots gave texture to the bodies and glue lines gave texture to the fins and gills. Then the fish were painted with an undercoat color such as orange to bleed through the upper layers of different color paints. Various colors were applied over the top and then the upper layer colors were gently wiped with a damp sponge, blending all the colors and allowing the lower layer colors to also show through. A dusting of metallic powder for iridescence and a special sealing glue was applied when they were finished.

“The work the students have done is absolutely beautiful,” Smith said.

She added that the student artwork is a fantastic addition to the festival and noted that Kern had a lot of enthusiasm about the project.

“I was originally tasked by the organizing committee to paint the salmon a blue color; but knew if I offered the project to Nancy, her students would do something much better than I was capable,” Smith said.

She noted that as fourth graders in Oakdale, the students would have also been involved in the school district Salmon Day field trips; so having Oakdale students work on this project “seemed a perfect match.”

Smith said one of the larger salmon “signs” will hang from the main banner across the road going into the festival. The other two large ones will likely be attached to posts around the festival. The six smaller salmon will be mounted on standing A-frames throughout the festival near signs directing visitors to events, parking, and so on.

The East Stanislaus Resource Conservation District (ESRCD), along with other organizations, is organizing this year’s Stanislaus River Salmon Festival.

Visit the Salmon Festival Facebook page at for more information or contact J.D. Wikert at 403-1046.