Smoking Its Way Through the Smoke: Fourth Annual Southern Oregon Smoked Salmon Festival
Whether it’s cooking, barbecuing, or smoking meat, there are better, worse, and more preferred ways to do it. Smoked salmon to Oregon is like barbecued pork to the South, an age-old method of preparing delicious, savory meat.
Saturday, September 23 the Maslow Project is hosting the Fourth Annual Southern Oregon Smoked Salmon Festival. From 1 to 5 pm, anyone can enjoy and judge the various smoked salmon available at the festival. Also present will be live music, games for the kids, and beer and wine. All of the proceeds to the festival will go straight to the Maslow Project, which helps homeless youth and families.
Community Outreach Coordinator Serina Quast says the festival and fundraiser was created four years ago by a volunteer at the Maslow Project who also has a deep love for smoked salmon. “The event has since become Maslow Project’s only annual in-house fundraiser,” she explains. “The volunteer is an avid smoked salmon enthusiast and he built the event around that enthusiasm with the hope that it would not only engage the community but also increase awareness around Maslow Project’s work in Southern Oregon with homeless youth and families.”
The organization’s sponsors makes it possible to let the Maslow Project receive 100 percent of the money made at the festival. Last year 2,500 homeless families and youth were benefited by the organization, especially thanks to the Smoked Salmon Festival, which was its most successful run last year. “We had over 600 people attend and we were able to raise over $28,000 for Maslow Project’s work with homeless youth and families,” says Quast. This year they expect an even bigger turnout.
Though applications are accepted until September 16, 13 vendors have already signed up to participate. Besides those there just for the salmon, other vendors like Caba Authentic Argentine Empanadas, SnoBall Shaved Ice, Rogue Creamery Blue Cheese, Boulevard Coffee, and several other types of food and drink will be available during the day. Growler King will be serving 10 different types of beer, cider, and wine on tap for five dollars a person.
“We have a judging panel consisting of local community leaders and culinary experts who will have a blind taste test of the competitor’s smoked salmon,” says Quast. “They will vote for the top three salmon competitors who will then win a cash prize: 1st place – $1000, 2nd place – $500, and 3rd place – $250. We will also be featuring a People’s Choice winner who will be determined by the event attendees. General admission includes three voting tickets which are placed in cardboard voting boxes. For the People’s Choice competition, competitors will have an opportunity to interact with the crowd, explaining their process and why their smoked salmon is the best in Southern Oregon! The People’s Choice winner will receive a trophy and prize package.”
While it will be a day of outrageous and different types of smoked salmon, it will also be a day benefitting those most in need in Southern Oregon. Quast, and others, are most excited for the festival to learn how much the Maslow Project will be able to help the surrounding community. “We hope that they will enjoy a family friendly event and learn more about Maslow Project’s work with homeless youth and families in Southern Oregon and how they can help!” she exclaims.
Fourth Annual Southern Oregon Smoked Salmon Festival
1 – 5 pm, Saturday, September 23
Pear Blossom Park, 312 E 4th St., Medford
Ages 21 and up $25, ages 17–20 $10, children 16 and under free