Friday, June 11, 1999 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Festival Courts Goodwill With The Salmon People

Seattle Times Staff Reporter

For hundreds of years the Tulalip Tribe has held a salmon ceremony annually to celebrate the fishing season. Tomorrow they will once again honor the first salmon caught this season and bless the fishermen. The ceremony will be coupled with the Marysville Strawberry Festival.

The salmon ceremony begins tomorrow at 1 p.m. at the Tulalip Indian Reservation in Marysville. During the ceremony, the tribe prays for a safe and prosperous fishing season.

Following tradition, 11 tribal members will begin the ceremony by arriving on the reservation in a cedar canoe. They present the tribe with the first salmon. The fish, called the "Big Chief King Salmon," is then carefully carried to the longhouse where stories, songs and dances about salmon will be performed.

After feasting, the salmon's remains will be returned to the waters and set adrift to the west, where the Salmon People live. According to legend, the spirit of the fish returns to the village of the Salmon People, where he tells them whether the Tulalips treated him properly. If the fish was treated well, the Salmon People provide the tribe with a bountiful season.

"Without the salmon, there would probably be no tribe," said Stan Jones, a Tulalip tribal member.

Besides the ceremony, the festival also includes a salmon bake and other food booths. For more information about the salmon ceremony, call 360-651-4000.

After dining on salmon, head over for dessert at The Market, an assemblage of vendors and booths located between Quinn and Alder avenues in the football field of Marysville Junior High School. A lot has changed since the Strawberry Festival started 67 years ago. Many of the strawberry fields that gave the festival its name are gone. And the festival's king and queen are no longer decided by who sells the most subscriptions to the local newspaper.

But don't worry. You can still enjoy strawberry shortcake when the Marysville Strawberry Festival begins full swing today and ends June 20. The festival's Grand Parade is next Saturday on Fourth Street and State Avenue.

The Market in Marysville will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. all week with arts and crafts vendors. If engines turn you on, check out the Emerald City Car Show at Asbery Field Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Antique, muscle and custom cars will be on display.

For more information, call 360-659-7664.

Copyright (c) 1999 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.


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