Return of the Salmon Celebration spawns new traditions

This year's Return of the Salmon Celebration was hailed as a success by event organizers.

The well-attended celebration was held on Saturday, Sept. 26, at Osprey Park in Sultan, 801 First St. It included native storytelling, a master gardener clinic, food from Big Bear's Indian Tacos, riverside fish viewing tours, a friendship dance and vendors. Numerous elected officials stopped by to enjoy the day, including Washington Sen. Kirk Pearson and Snohomish County Council Chairman Dave Somers.

The Return of the Salmon Celebration commemorates the salmon that return to the Sky Valley every year to spawn, and honors Chief T'seul-Ted, after whom the city of Sultan was named. Each year, T'seul-Ted's great-great-granddaughter Patricia Linn attends the event in his honor.-á

This year's celebration included a surprise unveiling, as Sultan Mayor Carolyn Eslick revealed Sultan's new Osprey Park interpretive signage. Based on art created by local watercolor painter Jacquie Miner, the colorful new signs have been installed at both Osprey Park trailheads.

The map will interface with a series of corresponding granite pavers to be installed along the trail system. The pavers are being created by D & J Industries Repurposed Stone, and will provide information about the park.-á

Each year, the Return of the Salmon Celebration Committee works to incorporate new elements to draw larger crowds and keep the event interesting.

New to the celebration this year was a live cedar-weaving demonstration by Tulalip Tribe member Lance Taylor. Taylor brought a selection of his handcrafted items, which included baskets, hats, totes, dolls, hair accessories and other decorative items, all made from natural resources. He harvests the materials himself and uses red cedar, cherry bark and rye grass to create his art.

During the event, he patiently wove cedar into a small basket while describing his process to passersby. As a child, Taylor watched his great grandmother weave baskets, which is one of the reasons he was inspired to learn the craft for himself; he wanted to preserve traditional ways and pass them along to his family. He finally enrolled in a basket weaving class at the Tulalip Tribal Cultural Center, at the urging of his wife, Linda.

Taylor and his wife have been weaving cedar for more than 20 years.

The event gave kids the opportunity to produce salmon-inspired art, by taking rubber salmon molds and using paint to transfer the form of the fish onto paper.

This year's 5-K Salmon Run was also a huge success. According to festival organizers, attendees of all ages participated in the run. For more information on the Return of the Salmon Celebration, visit

Photos by Chris Hendrickson Tulalip Tribe member Lance Taylor gives a cedar-weaving demonstration during the Return of the Salmon Celebration at Osprey Park in Sultan on Saturday, Sept. 26. Kaelan LaBrie shows off his salmon-themed artwork. LaBrie is a fourth-grade Sultan Elementary student.


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