What’s our Story?

Celebrating the Return of the Salmon

The Wenatchee River Salmon Festival is held each year to celebrate the return of the salmon to our northwest rivers.  The rivers that are home to the salmon also provide sustenance for birds, frogs, salamanders, foxes, deer, bugs, bears and countless trees, bushes, and flowers.

We depend on these same waters to provide electricity for our homes, irrigation for our crops, livelihoods for our fishermen, and a place for our families to play, picnic, camp and hike.

A Multi-Day Natural Resource Education Extravaganza

An exciting menu of hands-on activities and “edutainment” gives students from throughout North Central Washington and the public a unique opportunity to discover and appreciate the complexities of the natural world and the significance of salmon to people of the northwest.  The Festival is typically held on the grounds of the Leavenworth National Fish Hatchery, located at the mouth of the scenic Icicle Canyon near Leavenworth, Washington. This year in 2022, the festival is moving to the Rocky Reach Discovery Center due to continued construction. This year’s Salmon Festival will only be hosting School Days (just for students) on September 15th & 16th.

People, Natural Resources, Education, Entertainment and Science

Since its 1991 inception, the Festival has remained true to its natural resource education mission while updating and augmenting activities to keep the messages fresh, timely and engaging.  In response, the event has become nationally recognized for its educational excellence. 

2022 Event Theme: "Celebrate the Return" at Rocky Reach Dam Discovery Center!

poster art winner for 2022 event
This year's winner is Charlotte Kincaid from Mrs. Ochoa's class at Sage Point Elementary!

Every year, Salmon Fest gets a fresh new theme that is conveyed through festival activities and artwork.

2019 Activities & Exhibits

  • Salmon Maze
  • Native American Village
  • Giant Fish Aquarium
  • Hatchery History
  • Pollinator Garden
  • Sardis Raptor Center
  • Wheel of Fish
  • Community Chalk Art Project
  • Gyotaku
  • Web of Life
  • Salmon Storytelling Tent
  • Rolling Rivers

2019 Outdoor Recreation

  • Archery
  • Disc Golf
  • Climbing Wall
  • Fly Fishing
  • Atlatl Throw
  • Scavenger Hunt

Chelan PUD Native American Village

Thanks to the Chelan County PUD for bringing their one-of-a-kind Native American Village event to Salmon Fest to greatly expand and enhance the event’s offerings. The Native American Village provides an education experience for visitors to learn about some of our Northwest Native American cultures. It also provides a valuable opportunity for natives of all ages to come together to share their traditions and experiences.

Watch a Video from Salmon Fest Community Day!

Nationally Recognized & Awarded

National Association for Interpretation Media Award
“Kids in the Creek”

Gold Summit Award
Environmental Program

Silver Summit Award
Children’s Program

Bronze Summit Award
Newspaper Insert

Washington Festivals and Events Association

National Environmental Leadership Award
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

“Sense of Wonder Award”
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
…connecting kids with nature

Best Children’s Program
Best Environmental Program

Washington Festivals and Events Association

“Women in Natural Resources”
Feature story in national magazine, highlighting Salmon Fest organizers

Pinnacle Award – International award for “Best Environmental Education”
International Festivals and Events Association

Carl L. Sullivan Award – “Most Outstanding Conservation Education Event in the United States”
American Fisheries Society International Convention, Hartford, Connecticut

Summit Award for Best Environmental Education
Washington Festivals and Events Association

Caring for the Land – “Excellence in Team Collaboration and a Standard of Education Unmatched in the Region”
Pacific Northwest Region 6, USDA Forest Service

Summit Award for Environmental Education
Washington Festivals and Events Association

Conservationist of the Year
Trout Unlimited

Summit Award for Environmental Education
Washington Festivals and Events Association

Academic Excellence Award
Leavenworth Kiwanis Club

Volunteer Organization of the Year
American Fisheries Society

Outstanding Conservation Education
Environmental Education Association of Washington (EEAW)

2019 Festival Hosts, Partners, Sponsors and Supporters

The success of Salmon Festival is due in large part to enthusiastic participation and cooperation from both the public and private sectors. The partnerships below are the key ingredient to our Festival’s creativity and vitality. Learn about Sponsorship Opportunities.  


Agency & Business Partners


Booster Club


Cashmere Valley Bank
Chiwawa River Lodging
Das Copy Shop
Plain Automotive


Cashmere Valley Bank
Mountain Home Lodge
Nature Calls
Uncle Uli’s Pub

Community Contributors

  • All Festival Volunteers
  • Candice Dillhoff, Artist
  • Carol Dreis Flowers
  • Cascade Discovery School
  • Cascade High School Volunteers
  • Cascade Quality Water
  • Cashmere High School
  • Cherry Creek Radio – KPQ
  • Christie Pease and Chalk Artists
  • Columbia Breaks Interpretive Center
  • Colville Confederated Tribes-Wenatchi’s
  • Eastmont High School Volunteers
  • Exhibitors 
  • Food Vendors
  • KOHO 101.1FM Radio/Icicle Broadcasting
  • Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce
  • Leavenworth Summer Theater
  • Native American Inter-tribal Members
  • NCRL- Book Mobile and Salmon Bots
  • NCW Life/LocalTel
  • North Central Washington Schools
  • Outdoor Recreation Exhibitors
  • Sunny FM Radio
  • Team Naturaleza!
  • TOGETHER! for Youth
  • Upper Valley Museum
  • Wenatchee High School Volunteers
  • Wenatchee Tech-Law Enforcement Academy
  • Yakama Nation

Want to support Salmon Fest?