The world’s richest waters converge at Cordova and produce an abundance of natural life unlike anywhere else on Earth. In the front yard of this breathtaking wilderness sits a spirited, authentic community of nature’s best stewards, artists, foragers and fisherfolk. Opportunities to experience and support this wild yet delicate ecosystem and culture abound in Cordova, especially during these seasonal celebrations. Scan this QR code or go to visitcordova.com to learn more.
SPRING – Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival
Every May, millions of travelers flock to Cordova, Alaska for the Earth’s most spectacular natural phenomena. The humans among the travelers are photographers, families, nature lovers, and adventurers hailing from Alaska and around the world. They assemble in Cordova to welcome and celebrate the brief visit of far more distant travelers: the shorebirds. Millions of these small migrants make the long journey from the southern hemisphere to their breeding grounds in northern Alaska every year, and the Copper River Delta is one of their most important stopovers to rest and refuel — so much so that it has been designated as a site “of hemispheric importance”, the highest ranking in the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network. Encompassing over 700,000 acres, it is the largest contiguous wetland on the Pacific Coast of North America. Opportunities for excursions to view the birds and contribute to protecting this natural wonder abound during the days of Cordova’s annual Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival. Contribute to worldwide shorebird conservation efforts as you witness flocks of up to 50,000 birds at a time flying in unison over the mudflats. Like schools of fish flashing through the air, they take off with stunning agility, as if rejoicing in the gift of flight. Locals have dubbed this the “Avian Aurora”, and it is something that can only be truly experienced in person. With world-renown experts, speakers, and artists leading festival activities; the Copper River Delta Shorebird Festival is something you do not want to miss in your lifetime. To experience this spectacle for yourself, plan your trip to Cordova for May 9-12, 2024 — visit www.coppershorebird.com or call the Cordova Chamber of Commerce at (907) 424-7260 for more info.
SUMMER – Copper River Salmon Jam
There is one magical weekend each summer in the small fishing town of Cordova when fireweed is blooming, berries are ripening, salmon are running hard; and the whole town is dancing, racing, learning, and creating. For over 20 years, this fish-forward community has invited locals and visitors to join them at Copper River Salmon Jam, two days celebrating what sustains them year-round: Salmon and Art! During the day, enjoy family fun at running events (from 1-mile to marathon) and free kids’ activities. In the evenings, indulge in some delicious Copper River Salmon and live music. Joining in the fun also means you’re supporting a good cause. Ticket sales benefit the Cordova Arts Council and fund year-round cultural activities in this remote, coastal community. This year’s event is scheduled for July 19-20, 2024. For more info, visit salmonjam.org.
FALL – Cordova Fungus Festival
While Cordova’s fishing fleet is out gathering nets full of Copper River & Prince William Sound salmon, its land-based foragers are hunting wild berries, yellow-footed chanterelles, and king boletes! Those swift salmon that make it past Cordova’s keen fishermen will head upstream, spawn, and leave abundant nutrients on the creek shores. These nutrients are then picked up and transported by fungi to nourish the entire forest. At this time every fall, the community of Cordova welcomes fungus-pluckers, lichen-lovers, and friends of the forest & sea to the Cordova Fungus Festival. Fungus is one of the most interesting and understudied kingdoms of life on earth. Add to worldwide knowledge banks for mushrooms and lichens while you experience and celebrate their interconnections with fish and forest during guided forays, culinary events, speakers, art classes, kids’ activities, and more. Find more info at cordovafungusfest.com.
WINTER – Cordova Iceworm Festival
Since 1961, Cordova Iceworm Festival has been a cure for the winter blues in this small coastal town. Local community groups and businesses come together along with an all-volunteer board to provide zany events and activities that simultaneously lift spirits and support their organizations. Some highlights include a parade, a beard growing contest, the crowing of Miss Iceworm, Variety Show, Survival Suit Race in the freezing Cordova harbor, a beer mile race, and a host of tournaments from basketball and ping pong to cribbage and cookoffs. Join in the fun and hyper-local support on the first weekend of February every year. Learn more at icewormfestival.com.