50th Annual Smelt Derby Festival – Feb 28th, 2015

la_conner_smelt_derby_logoCome join us in celebrating the La Conner Rotary Club’s 50th annual (almost) Smelt Derby Festival with a full day of activities for the whole family Feb. 28.  For kids, we’re offering a family day of fun with activities all day long.  For adults, we’ll have an evening of subs, sliders, spirits and dancing.

We say “almost” 50th consecutive festival, because sometime in the 1950’s, a large group of rowdy attendees took over the town and drank too much five-cent beer.  The police chief resigned in the midst of it all, town mayor Fred Martin closed down the event, and it was not held the following year. It was back the year after that – without five-cent beer!

For most years, the smelt were plentiful because of the fish processing plant on the channel.  Over the last three years, they have been scarce, and only a very small amount were caught and entered in the fishing contest.  Two years ago, we fed the smelt two times a week for about a month before the festival.  The result was still few but noticeably larger smelt.

la_conner_smelt_derby_fishBut that’s not stopping the Rotary Club.  We’re planning to make the 50th Smelt Derby Festival a memorable community event, even if the smelt don’t cooperate.  Our full day of events includes:

  • Pancake Breakfast benefiting the La Conner High School Senior Class, Maple Hall, 8-10 a.m
  • Skagit Symphony 5K & 10K Smelt Run and 2K walk, 10 a.m. plus Small Fry Kids Dash at 9:30 a.m. Information and registration at skagitsymphony.com.
  • Fishing Derby, Public Docks, 8 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • Fish printing and more for kids, Maple Hall, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m.
  • An array of kids activities arranged by the Boys and Girls Club
  • A new event for adults – Sliders, Suds & Spirits, Maple Hall, 5-7 p.m.
  • Dancing to the sounds of The Esquires, Maple Hall, 7-10 p.m.

la_conner_smelt_derby_fish_paintingRotarians are also selling raffle tickets for great prizes.  Watch for them around town throughout the event (and in advance).  The drawing will be held at 8 p.m. at Maple Hall (need not be present to win).

For more information, visit www.laconnerrotary.org. or call 466-4778 .Call or stop by the La Conner Visitor’s Center where you’ll find lots of information – including brochures and maps. 511-C Morris St. in La Conner; 360/466-4778.  E-Mail:info@laconnerchamber.com.  If you are visiting for the weekend, use our online reservations for quick & easy booking.

3 replies
  1. skagitmarketing says:

    Great feedback! The Rotary Club of La Conner puts on this event and I will share with them.
    It was so great to see so many people in town yesterday enjoying the Smelt Derby Festival activities and the “Sun”!

  2. Jerremy Davidson says:

    I hope this is not the last year for the Derby. As a child. I enjoyed participating. I shared the event with my children. When we would remember about it happening. The biggest problem I had. Was knowing when the Derby was happening. The only reason I found out about it this year. Is because of an article in the Everett Herald a coworker was reading. He asked me what I knew of Smelt. Please keep this event alive, Thank you.

  3. Linda Ryan says:

    The Rotary Club of La Conner is in the process of ordering long sleeved t-shirts for the Smelt Derby and are taking orders.

    This may be the last year for the derby – it’s the 50th Year. Shirts are selling for $25 each. If would like to order I need to know name of person ordering, how many and size (S-3XL) and then a check can be dropped off to Susan over at the library or mailed to the club in my care at PO Box 2111, La Conner. If you send an email to rotarycluboflaconner@gmail.com, we can also send an invoice to you via email to pay with a credit card (a convenience fee will be applied). Shirts can be shipped and shipping determined at time of sale.

    ​They can email me their order at my email address: claminator@gmail.com or call me (360) 870-9509.​

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