Enthusiastic send-offs of the fishing fleet and weekend fishermen’s dances were central features of life in Anacortes for decades.
The Anacortes Museum will celebrate this heritage with two events — the opening of a fishing photo exhibit followed by an old-fashioned Plaza Dance. Both events are free and take place during the Anacortes Waterfront Festival.
The Wallie Funk Fishing Photo Exhibit at the Anacortes Maritime Heritage Center officially opens at 5 p.m. June 6 with a reception hosted by the Anacortes Museum Foundation. The exhibit features Funk’s mid-century photos of the fishing fleet, with an emphasis on a 1958 trip in which he was “shanghaied” by a crew as a prank. Instead of leaving the boat after a few hours, Funk chose to stay aboard — with his camera — all the way to Alaska.
The photo above is of the 1955 send-off of the fleet.
Some of the fishermen photographed by Funk on this trip will participate in an informal discussion of their experiences and on the mid-century salmon industry in Puget Sound and Alaskan waters. The exhibit celebrates our maritime heritage and features some of the images and stories featured in Funk’s new book “Pictures of the Past,” which was produced by the Anacortes Museum.
After the reception, the action moves next door to the Depot, where the community is invited to an outdoor Plaza Dance. Thanks to the generous support of the Manieri Endowment of the Anacortes Public Library, the talented A’Town Big Band will perform at this free event.
The dance is a tribute to our community’s maritime heritage, and the location recalls Great Depression-era “pavement dances” that entertained locals and up to 1,000 visiting fishermen. Anacortes was a salmon-season haven of the fishing fleet for a century. Some local residents may have been unnerved when the weekend population swelled, but most joined the fun of the Fishermen’s Dances, and respected how the fleet contributed to the local economy.
A'Town Big Band, founded in 2013, is Skagit County's newest big band. Its energetic melodies and rhythms are as versatile as its members. A'Town Big Band performs the music of Stan Kenton, Count Basie, Maynard Ferguson, Bob Curnow, Buddy Rich and more.
Dance to swing classics and help renew the tradition of the dances that welcomed the crews for fun and music after a hard week’s work