The title is long so everyone just called it "Salmon Jam."
That was the shorthand lingo Friday for the inaugural Annual Pioneer Park Wine — and Beer & Cocktails — Mixer and Salmon Jam, a libation sampling and mini music fest that packed the Alaska Salmon Bake. It was a hit event, one with so much response it surpassed what Beth Richards was expecting.
Richards is owner and general manager of the Alaska Salmon Bake in Pioneer Park. During the pandemic, she said, she and her husband decided they wanted to do some type of mixer at the Bake, something akin to the Catalina Wine Mixer from the movie "Step Brothers." The Salmon Bake has hosted beer mixers in the past, Richards said, but she wanted to expand it and come up with a new venture.
"We thought we should have a seafood jam, then thought, no it should be a salmon jam," she said. "We did a beer fest in 2019 with all local beers, and we wanted to keep doing it. So this year, we were like forget the beer fest, everyone does a beer fest. Let's do something more fun."
And with that, the Annual Pioneer Park Wine — and Beer & Cocktails — Mixer and Salmon Jam sprung forth.
"It's been in my head for a couple of months now, and you never know if it's going to turn out the way you envision it," Richards said. "But it did."
The night featured 27 vendors offering samples of beers, hard ciders, cocktails and wine from across Alaska as well as a few national brands such as Truly, Michael David and Freak Show wines, and Michelob Ultra and its seltzer line. Local providers included Hoodoo Brewing Company, Latitude 65 Brewing Co., Black Spruce Brewing, Goldie's AK and Ursa Major Distilling. Musicians played the entirety of the evening, from 4-10 p.m., and included Carey Seward, Clarence Pate Jazz, Dilemma, Kinky Slinky, Once & Future, and Marc Brown & the Blues Crew. The $45 ticket included 10 ticket tasting stubs and a swag bag of goodies like stickers, music CDs and Alaska-themed items.
"I really wanted to sell at least 300 tickets," Richards said. "We sold 350 online before we cut it off, and we sold a ton at the door. I haven't even had a chance to check the numbers, so I think we probably doubled that. I'm very, very happy and excited."
As of now, Richards said she expects to see the event return next year.
Contact Gary Black at 459-7504.