Bearfest falls on Wrangell Wednesday and along with it bear enthusiasts, live music and new this year, an award-winning chef.

“One of the big things that’s happening is that we’ve been able to get Tamara Murphy who is a James Beard award-winning chef from Seattle,” said Bearfest founder Sylvia Ettefagh.

Ettefagh says Murphy, who’s been featured on Iron Chef and has owned several successful restaurants, will lead a demonstration on cooking salmon. The demonstration will be followed by a salmon feed in conjunction with the Stikine Inn.

“Friday at 5, Trident is donating fish and we’ll start by filleting the fish and then cooking it up on a big grill and talking about how that’s going to come together,” said Ettefagh. “Then having a feed in conjunction with the Stikine Inn who’s our major sponsor for this event. You’ll be able to eat here or order off the Stikine menu with the full bar and the whole thing. I encourage people to come because this is going to be good.”

There is a suggested donation for the salmon feed. Ettefagh says this year’s fest is shaping up to be larger than years past.

“My understanding is that things are full. People are coming here specifically for bear fest,” she said.

She says this year’s marathon is proof that people are taking notice.

“Just over the years, the number of people coming in to run the full marathon has increased and we have 22 people signed up this year. Which is big, considering we were hoping for 10 last year,” said Ettefagh.

Shannon Donahue and Mark Higley are the featured speakers for the bear symposium this year. Donahue, a former interpreter at Anan, will be speaking about polar bears. Higley will address trespass marijuana’s effect on bear populations.

“I’ve been asked what the heck does that mean? Both the legal and illegal marijuana growers treat their plants with neurotoxin that ends up killing animals around. It can be a fairly deadly thing. Mark will tell us all about that,” said Ettefagh.

The photography workshop will feature a virtual reality tour of Anan. The kid’s games have been moved to Saturday during the farmers market. This year’s live music act, The Accomplices, will be at the Totem Bar Friday and at the Nolan Center Saturday.

For a complete schedule, go to