First ever Bristol Bay Fish Expo kicks off Friday

Jun 8, 2017

Modeled after Pacific Marine Expo, the new local hub for vendors, industry, and fishermen is also a fundraiser for the Little Angel’s Child Care Academy in the Bristol Bay Borough.

Set up at the Bristol Bay Fish Expo in Naknek.
Credit KDLG

Although school is out for the summer, the Bristol Bay Borough School gym is full of life.

There are a dozen people setting up for the upcoming Fish Expo.

“We are stringing up some buoys for a nautical effect, decorations, cutting some line here, cutting this cardboard,” Katie Copps-Wilson, co-founder of Little Angel’s Child Care Academy, said.

Wilson and Sharon Thompson, the board president, are in charge of the set-up.

They were inspired to start the academy after both leaving work due to having kids, as there was no child care program in the Bristol Bay Borough at the time.

“The void of child care facility here was just like a socioeconomic problem that has completely gone unaddressed,” Thompson said.

She added that the Little Angel’s board increased community interest by relating it to the fishing industry. Because ultimately it is all about the fish.

“This is just not about fundraising just about the industry, like we are here to celebrate the fish and that resource," Thompson said.

“Our greatest natural resource the salmon, the children,” Wilson said. “Combining them is heartwarming.”

This combination was visible even during the set-up, as the processing crew from ‘Nakeen Homepack’ was helping on their day off. Two of them were hanging nautical decorations using their fishing backgrounds as a reference.

“This is a buoy right here, we are just hanging it on this basketball net, you know just spicing things up a bit. Making things look nice,” one crew member said.

Another added, “The trickiest part is getting the knots right because it’s a fishing expo, you don’t want a bunch of fishermen here like, 'What’s going on up here? Who tied that knot?' so we’ve got to be real meticulous about this.”

The crew plans to attend the expo this weekend.

Thompson and Wilson said they are hoping to reach their goal of $13,000 for the Little Angel’s Child Care Academy by the end of the expo. The event begins at 9 a.m. Friday and Saturday.