This weekend is Kodiak’s coming-out-from-hibernation party — coming out from a long slumber where we haven’t been able to see friends, support businesses or do many of the things that make the place we call home so special.
This weekend will get us back to feeling normal.
Crab Fest starts today and runs through Monday afternoon with a great lineup of events, entertainment and eats. In addition, Kodiak High School’s graduation is Sunday evening, when our island’s brightest and finest will receive diplomas and get ready for the next part of their journey — a journey that regardless of routes taken will be very important to Kodiak’s future. Last, and certainly not least, this is also Memorial Day weekend, when we will have the opportunity to honor the veterans who paid the ultimate sacrifice to preserve our freedom.
Even if the weather decides not to cooperate, it will not dampen the enthusiasm of those who see the next five days as Kodiak’s chance to start to live life again without thinking about the COVID-19 pandemic. It has felt like a tortuously long year of living behind masks. Since I moved here in the midst of all the pandemic fun, the only people I’ve seen without masks are family members and the closest of friends. I’ll get to start putting faces to the names of Kodiak’s friendly people when I’m out and about this weekend.
By the time Monday evening gets here, Kodiak will have given us the chance to honor our past, take pride in the present and be encouraged by the future.
I’m going to try to see, do and eat as much as I can. I want photos of the Pardoning of the Crab and with Patty the Crab. (What better ways to show my Facebook friends a unique slice of Kodiak?)
I plan to watch the Crab Festival Grand Parade, listen to some great music and see the Alutiiq Dancers of Kodiak. The Norm Holm Memorial Survival Suit Race, the Fishermen’s Memorial, the Veterans Memorial and the Blessing of the Fleet are also on my list.
In addition to taking in those things, I will be volunteering in the Chamber of Commerce’s Merchandise Booth on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Please stop by, get your merchandise and tell me about anything I might be missing. I’m also open to vendor recommendations.
On Sunday evening, I will watch some of the most resilient students I have not yet met receive their diplomas at this year’s high school graduation ceremony. I am eager to see the faces of the students whose decisions are largely going to determine Kodiak’s future. These same faces will be the ones to whom Kodiak owes the opportunity to earn a living and raise a family. Seeing those students, as a group — first as sober participants in a passing-of-the-baton ritual and then as joyful journeymen and women — will not only help me celebrate them but also remind me of my responsibility to them.
I owe them — we all owe them — a high-quality place to live, work and grow, opportunities to give back and participate in community life. We owe them leadership, partnership and an ear that’s always ready to listen. We owe them a solid tax base, government that is accountable and a vision for Kodiak’s future.
There could be no better weekend for the school district to host graduation festivities than during Crab Fest. This will be Kodiak at its best — what we’ve been and who we are mixed with who we aspire to be.
And then there will be the solemnity of Memorial Day. After we spend a weekend in celebration, it is perfectly fitting that we will have the Veterans Memorial Service and Blessing of the Fleet on Monday. We will be reminded of the high cost for many of those who have defended us, and also be able to come together as a community to pray for those whose job it is to provide for us.
It might take some adjustment to get out and about again after sheltering in place for more than a year and otherwise living behind our masks when we ventured out. This is the perfect weekend to get started.
The time to hibernate is over.
Kevin Bumgarner is publisher of the Kodiak Daily Mirror print edition and kodiakdailymirror.com. He and his wife, Melanie, have three grown kids and a beagle named Sadie. They moved from Florida to Kodiak during the summer of the 2020 COVID pandemic. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.