Monday, July 5, 2010

Petersburg Celebration



July 2-4     


Provisioning is so easy in Petersburg. The closest grocery store is a short half block away from the Harbor Office, but I usually opt for the luxury of van pickup and delivery from the big Hamar & Wikan grocery uphill near the airport. It's a lovely mile-plus walk up to the store in good weather, but not so much fun lugging bags and boxes back to the boat... in the rain, with soggy groceries, and besides, Joe the van driver is entertaining to visit with enroute.









Following a grocery visit we always spend a few hours online at the library, check out their giveaway bookcase, and then head down Sing Lee Alley to buy too many books at one of my favorite independent SE bookstores (the other one is in Sitka).This year's recommendation was Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese. Last year it was A Short History of Tractors in Ukranian. I'm always surprised yet delighted at the suggested titles.

    
We had barely arrived in Petersburg when we received the gift of six Dungeness crab. Woohoo! They were even delivered to the boat, cracked, cleaned and ready to cook. (thank you Norm) I quickly got on that job, and then spent a lot longer picking the body and leg meat out. That’s not a complaint… I’ll welcome fresh crab any time, but it is a lot more fun to share the picking task with someone else.We enjoyed Crab Louis the first night, crabby enchiladas (link) the next, and countless snacks and stolen tastes just because it was available. How much do I love crab? check out last year's love note to crabby cooking (link)



Fourth of July Fun



The harbor emptied out during our stay, with the small gillnetters and big purse seiners away on various fishing openings. One of the local canneries has not opened this season, due to projected light salmon returns, but everyone is hopeful. Even without the fishing fleet at home there was still a terrific crowd in town for the 4th of July parade and street party… and on a gray, dreary drizzle of a day. Petersburg floats were decorated with colorful plastic ribbons rather than the flowers or crepe paper streamers seen in the lower 48: a good choice considering the typically unpredictable weather. Some of the participants wore clear plastic bags (fish sacks?) over their costumes, others braved the rain, and everyone sported a big smile… both times around the route. Petersburg is a small enough town that parades make two loops of the downtown main street to guarantee full enjoyment for everyone involved.



 Following a fine chicken and ribs barbecue at the Moose Lodge’s party tent we wandered down to the harbor to watch the log rolling competition. Guy vs guy, gal vs gal, and the grand champion roll-off guy vs gal. Susan, a local multi-year winner, won again! Can you imagine tumbling into 45 degree water, and coming up with a grin?! 




I heard one of the young and shivering quarter-finalists mutter "If I'd known I had to do it again I wouldn't have won the first round." His buddies laughed and no one believed him. After the final roll-off the crowd was surprised to see another young couple step on the log... what gives? They both had planned to enter the contest, but the Alaska State Ferry delivered them an hour too late to make the start. So they competed against each other, just for the fun of it. Fun of it?????

The skies cleared enough to have the fireworks as scheduled, unlike Juneau and Sitka who chose to postpone theirs due to very low cloud cover. It was tempting to go to bed before an 11:00 pm fireworks start, but friends dropped by late and stayed to watch the display with us. We just love small town celebrations in SE.

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