A friend and I explored downtown Anchorage today, and fished for Salmon. We didn't fish with poles (although, I did pick up two complete fishing pole packages for next weekend's camping trip to Montana Creek Campgrounds). No, we fished for the Wild Salmon on Parade with our cameras.
One thing I regret I never did in Virginia when I lived there was searching for the elusive Mermaids on Parade in Norfolk. Every year since 2000, Norfolk has hosted a Mermaids on Parade event. Local artists create mermaids that are placed all over the city, and later auctioned off for charities.
I read, before I moved here, in the Anchorage Daily News in 2005 about a man taking a baseball bat to a salmon in downtown Anchorage. Reading further, I realized that it was not a live salmon (although, we have those in downtown Anchorage also), but a fiberglass salmon, much like the mermaids in Norfolk, Virginia. When I began to see them swimming their way through the Anchorage streets in June, I knew I had to get the salmon in Anchorage on film before they swam to other "waters" and out of my camera's view. Today was that picture taking day! I acted like a total tourist, map of the salmon locations in hand, and hunted down all that we could locate in downtown. Some had been taken down for repair, some were locked inside buildings (like the ones in the Federal Building and City Hall), and some were too far out to walk to (so, I'll get them tomorrow when I have my vehicle downtown).
All of them were very creative, but my favorite was definitely the Salmonopoly salmon. The game board surrounding the salmon was completely based on all things Alaska. On the back side of the salmon was a game board similar to the game Scrabble (named Snaggle, since it's about salmon) with the words being uniquely Alaskan and based on fishing.
We discovered some other things downtown that will have to be explored further. We wandered into the old Federal Building and found a wonderful free museum and watched a great movie about the McNeil River Grizzly Bears. The Holland America/Gray Line office had some great brochures for travelers, and a fun and cheerful lady behind the desk. I'm going to check out my Alaska travel guide for some more Anchorage and surrounding area freebies and tour those locations too in the coming weeks.
We ended the day in true tourist style with reindeer sausage dogs and ice cream (fireweed and honey, and black walnut and birch syrup). Acting like a tourist in my own back yard has been a lot of fun these past few weeks! I could do this for a few more years (or decades)!