For 151 years, the city of Sitka has celebrated Independence Day with a festival that starts with a parade at 2 p.m. It kicks off on Lake Street and winds down to City Hall. Awards for Best of Parade, Best of Theme, and Most Enthusiastic have all participants in a patriotic spirit. However, the weekend preceding July 4th is also full of family-friendly events to keep spirits high for the holidays.

On Saturday, don’t miss the Sitka Farmers Market, located at 235 Katlian Street from 10–1. Music, arts and crafts stations, and food vendors are on site. Naa Kahidi dancers also perform, and game booths at the Elks Lodge are set up at 11 a.m. Special food vendors, including the Sheet’ka Kwaan fry bread booth, pop up at the Betty Eliason Child Care Center lot and the Visit Sitka Visitor Center throughout the day. The Betty Eliason Center also hosts a carnival from 11–3.

A Weekend of Happenings

Don’t miss the artist-in-resident at the Sheldon Jackson Museum showcasing works at 2 p.m., followed by Jazz on the Waterfront at Odess Theater in the evening starting at 7 p.m. Tickets start at $65 and include dinner and live entertainment. On Sunday, the farmers market is open again, and the Sitka Summer Musical Festival kicks off at 11 a.m. with a brunch waterfront concert. Call 907-747-6774 for more information on this intimate event.

Food vendors continue to show off their best goods on both Sunday and Monday at the Elks Lodge, the Sizzling Chow Cuisine lot, Visit Sitka Visitor Center, and Betty Eliason Center. On July 4th, don’t miss the community barn dance at the Crescent Harbor Shelter at noon or the special concert at the St. Peter’s By-the-Sea Episcopal Church also at noon. You can also find a BBQ at the St. Gregory Catholic Church at 1 p.m. From duck races to water fights hosted by the fire department, the buildup to the fireworks display makes this a Fourth to be reckoned with.