Industry Appreciation Day, a Kenai tradition, to include nonprofit ‘industry’ for first time next year

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Saturday was Industry Appreciation Day in Kenai, a tradition that started as a way to highlight the private sector oil and gas industry, and which has grown to include commercial fishing and the tourism industries.

Last year, health care was added to the list of industries on the Kenai Peninsula. The event, which has been going on for 30 years, will include the non-profit “industry” for the first time next year.

Industry Appreciation Day has evolved into what is essentially a community picnic. This year, the rain stopped and sun broke through the clouds at the Kenai Park Strip, where a pig roast, salmon filets, hamburgers and hot dogs were on the.

Businesses typically set up booths and give away swag and prizes, and it’s a place for candidates to shake hands and meet their future constituents. Attendees are told to leave their wallets at home — nothing is for sale at this event.

Industry Days was well attended this year, but it had competition from the grand opening of Three Bears in Sterling, which had a packed parking lot and was serving free hot dogs and hamburgers to a line that never seemed to drop under 75 people.