On Saturday, the biggest proof of the success of Kodiak’s new artificial turf sports field might have been on the jerseys of the city’s high school football players.

In past years, the mud of Joe Floyd Track and Field caked players even on sunny days. Though the wind blew 30 mph and rain fell in sheets on Saturday, Kodiak High School football teams played with clean jerseys.

Saturday’s homecoming games against Soldotna didn’t end with wins on the scoreboard, but for Kodiak, the games represented a victory as the culmination of years of effort to build an artificial turf field.

The field will not be officially turned over to the city for another month, but Saturday marked its grand opening.

Despite the poor weather, about 200 Kodiak residents sat in the stands as for a ceremony that included a blessing, parade of Kodiak football teams and the singing of the national anthem by the Kodiak High School choir.

As the anthem concluded, an Air Station Kodiak MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter flew low over the field in a ceremonial flyby.

Kodiak High School’s junior varsity football team enjoyed the field first, then the varsity team took to the unruffled turf.

On the track that circles the field, Kodiak High School runners ran a ceremonial mile race with Grace Christian, marking the first event on that surface as well.

Both the track and the field are now open to the public, though metal cleats are forbidden to protect the surface.

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