Best Bets: Weekend brings Solivan, salmon festival

Posted: Thursday, July 18, 2002

While the upcoming weekend is a quiet one, it still offers a concert by a respected artist and several opportunities to get out of the house and experience Alaska.

Musician Frank Solivan II will play at Northern Light United Church on Saturday, July 20. Solivan, who plays acoustic music ranging from bluegrass and country to jazz and swing, was here earlier this year for a solo show. This time he'll be joined by his 16-year-old cousin, Megan McCormick, a prodigy guitar player, and his father, Frank Solivan Sr., who plays guitar and banjo.

"It's going to be a little bit more high energy," Solivan said. "We have some more people to bounce off of, a little different vibe in the music."

Many of the pieces come from Solivan's new CD, "I Am A Rambler." Recorded in December, it features appearances by "a lot of the hotshots in Nashville," Solivan said.

"I've played with all my heroes," he added. "I've played all over the U.S., played with different groups, toured with a number of different groups, and now I'm just trying to do my own thing."

Solivan's won raves for his previous performances in Juneau, including a plug from Riley Woodford, Empire entertainment reporter and king of Best Bets, who described him as "quite accomplished" and "a soulful singer." Though I haven't heard his music, I've spoken to Solivan and found him enthusiastic and energetic. He can't wait to play, and if the show reflects that even in part, it should be great.

Tickets are $8 in advance and $10 at the door. They're on sale at Rock Paper Scissors and Rainy Day Books.

On Saturday, July 20, Juneau runners will gather at Perseverance Trail for the Ben Blackgoat Memorial Perseverance Trail Run. The race is perfect for runners of all skill levels, with courses of two, four and seven miles, and right now the trail is absolutely at its most beautiful state. The race honors the memory of Ben Blackgoat, a Juneau-Douglas High School runner who died from a fall on a training run in 1996. The event also supports a good cause - a scholarship fund for other JDHS runners. It's the best way to get moving. Runners meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Perseverance Trailhead parking lot at the end of Basin Road for a 9 a.m. race start. For more information, call Stan and Marge Ridgeway, 789-1937, or e-mail them at

Also taking place this Saturday is the Eighth Annual Dog Salmon Festival in Kake. The festival usually draws about 250 people from Juneau, in addition to visitors from Angoon, Hoonah and the rest of Southeast, said Janet Sheldon, administrative assistant to the Kake Tribal Corp. president.

Juneau residents can take the ferry or purchase a ticket on the Four Seasons Catamaran, which leaves Juneau at 5 a.m. and arrives in Kake at 10:30 a.m. Events include races for all ages, food and dessert contests, a fish fillet and chum toss and what Sheldon called the highlight of the festival, The Great Tlingit Canoe Races.

"That's the biggest event," Sheldon said. "It is very competitive. ... It's a 13-man canoe. The turning is very challenging. They've got to have a good rudder man or they don't finish the race."

The catamaran heads home for Juneau at 8 p.m., with an arrival time of 11 p.m., but Sheldon said a community dance at 10:30 p.m. might make it worth staying until Monday, when another ferry leaves Kake for Juneau. Early this week, lodgings were still available.

Festivals in Southeast are often a blast, with good food, unique crafts and fun company making for truly memorable experiences. According to Sheldon, 99 percent of Kake turns out for the festival, encouraged by the fact that for seven out of eight years, they've been blessed with sunshine. If you wanted to race on Juneau's Fourth of July, but were discouraged by the rain, this might be a good chance to try again. And who doesn't want to say they raced in a fish or banana tote?

There's also a poignant air to this year's events; they're dedicated to the memory of Brittany Mills, the 10-year-old girl who died in Juneau last month in an accidental fall into Ebner Falls. Both her parents are employed by Kake Tribal, Sheldon said, and Brittany was a fixture at previous years' festivals.

"Brittany was always there from 8 in the morning to 8 p.m. to help with everything," Sheldon said. "She's going to be really missed by everyone."

Catamaran tickets are $90, and can be purchased by calling Donald Gregory at 723-KAKE. Lodging information can be arranged by calling Sheldon at (907) 785-3221.

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