Skidegate band members donate 400 pounds of salmonberries

Billy Yovanovich, chief councillor for the Skidegate Band Council, is pictured along with Arrielle Yovanovich-Allick at the first-ever Salmonberry Picking Contest on Sunday, June 28, 2020. (Billy Yovanovich/Submitted photo)Billy Yovanovich, chief councillor for the Skidegate Band Council, is pictured along with Arrielle Yovanovich-Allick at the first-ever Salmonberry Picking Contest on Sunday, June 28, 2020. (Billy Yovanovich/Submitted photo)
Bev Yovanovich (left), Arrielle Yovanovich-Allick (centre) and Verica Yovanovich are pictured while participating in the first-ever Salmonberry Picking Contest on Sunday, June 28, 2020. (Billy Yovanovich/Submitted photo)Bev Yovanovich (left), Arrielle Yovanovich-Allick (centre) and Verica Yovanovich are pictured while participating in the first-ever Salmonberry Picking Contest on Sunday, June 28, 2020. (Billy Yovanovich/Submitted photo)

Food gathering festivities continued in Skidegate on June 28 with the first-ever Salmonberry Picking Contest for band members.

Billy Yovanovich, chief councillor for the Skidegate Band Council, told the Observer a total of 47 adult and youth pickers weighed more than 460 pounds of salmonberries at the George Brown Rec Centre before 8 p.m. on the Sunday.

Of those berries picked for the contest, Yovanovich said about 400 pounds were donated to the band council for distribution to different homes and programs, such as the Adult Day Program and Skidegate Haida Immersion Program.

“It was a fun event for everybody,” he said, adding that Lauren Brown, the director of the Skidegate Health Centre, stopped by with frozen berries from the 2019 season so that participants could taste the fruits of their labour. “The big punch bowl was scraped clean.”

VIDEO: Inaugural Skidegate Food Gathering Fest reels in 365 donated salmon

Cash prizes were awarded to the top adult and youth pickers, as well as a cash prize and Co-op gift cards for pickers who won a random draw for having donated their berries.

Of the adults, Chelsea Collinson won the first prize of $750 for picking 35.6 pounds of berries, Harold Williams won the second prize of $500 for picking 31.7 pounds of berries and Lynn Hughan won the third prize of $250 for picking 20.8 pounds of berries.

As for the youth, Arilyn May won the first prize of $500 for picking 10.96 pounds of berries, Cenita Sankey won the second prize of $300 for picking 10.6 pounds of berries and Emma May won the third prize of $200 for picking 9.5 pounds of berries.

Yovanovich said another event was in the works that will be geared toward elders, as well as another food fishing derby in August.

The band council had also held an inaugural Food Gathering Fest on June 13 and 365 spring salmon were donated during that derby.

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