The Port of Bellingham and the Alaska Marine Highway System are celebrating the Alaska Marine Highway’s 50th Anniversary with a major event at the Bellingham Cruise Terminal on Sept. 14 from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
The 50th Anniversary celebration will include a public open house aboard the MV Kennicott, a travel and trade show featuring Alaska communities, kids’ activities, cake and live music.
“This is a great way to explore the ferry and learn more about visiting Alaska,” said Port of Bellingham Commission President Jim Jorgensen. “The Alaska ferry is an important part of our community and we are so pleased that Bellingham serves as their lower mainland port.”
The M/V Kennicott will be in port for an open house where visitors may tour the bridge, dine onboard, and visit the gift shop to purchase 50th Anniversary memorabilia. Representatives of communities visited by the ferry will be in the terminal for an Alaska Travel & Trade Show to share with guests all there is to do in Alaska.
The Travel & Trade Show will include visiting tourism representatives from Dutch Harbor, Haines, Homer, Juneau, Ketchikan, Kodiak, Sitka, Unalaska, and Wrangell. There also will be tourism representatives from the Alaska Marine Highway System, Un-Cruise Adventures, Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism, and the McDowell Group.
Originally the Alaska Marine Highway System had its southern port in Seattle, not Bellingham. But a countywide multi-year lobbying effort successfully attracted the ferry service to Bellingham. On October 3, 1989, more than 1,000 people welcomed the arrival of the Alaska Ferry to the Port of Bellingham’s newly constructed Bellingham Cruise Terminal in Fairhaven.
At noon during the Sept. 14 anniversary celebration, a group photo of all in attendance will recreate the original photo taken during the opening of the Bellingham Cruise Terminal in 1989.
Also, at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 13, the Port of Bellingham invites people to enjoy a free showing of KTOO’s one-hour documentary “Alaska’s Marine Highway” at the Pickford Film Center, 1318 Bay Street. Some of the filming for this documentary was done in Bellingham and includes interviews with some familiar faces. People are encouraged to call the Pickford in advance to reserve their free tickets (360) 738-0735.