Hopefully you made it out to the recent second annual Stockton Steelhead Festival! If not – as always – please live the virtual experience here, find out what you missed and contain your anticipation for next year’s tribute to this very special trout.

This year’s event took place Sunday, Oct. 7 – a more fitting date, seasonally speaking, as early fall is typically when many Steelhead Trout make their way upstream through the Calaveras River.
New this year was an early morning fun run through Stockton’s University of the Pacific campus and along the Calaveras River. The weather was accommodating and the race’s top three finishers received gift cards, cash prizes and their very own hand-decorated steelhead replicas.

The top three finishers of the 2012 Steelhead Fun Run take a well deserved break as they pose with their winnings.

The rest of the day’s festivities kicked off at 11 a.m. in University of the Pacific’s expansive DeRosa Center. Various organizations came out to support the popular steelhead and promote awareness of many environmental issues relevant to life in the Central Valley – REI, New Hogan Army Corps, representatives from the Lodi Sandhill Crane Festival, California Native Plant Society, Fish and Wildlife Service, Restore Hetch Hetchy and Delta Fly Fishers among some.

Members of the Teen Impact Center decorate a pathway on the UOP campus with a large trout.

New to the 2012 Festival was an environmental art show featuring works by local artists and students. Guests could browse projects completed by Kohl students and chat with available artists.

2012 Steelhead Festival art show, pieces by Kohl students.

Another additional attraction was an environmental film festival, free to all attendees. Restore the Delta’s new documentary “Over Troubled Waters” was a centerpiece showing for the film show as well as the debuting of a teaser for a future Calaveras River documentary, currently being developed by Frankenmuffin Productions.

Decidedly the largest of the day’s activities and attractions was the centrally located arts and crafts tables. Empty chairs were a rare sight throughout the entire event as young and old alike took a seat to decorate and wear a popular steelhead hat. Kids could be seen bobbing throughout the crowd with brightly-colored fish adorning their heads.

A fish tank housing live steelhead provided guests with the opportunity to get up close and personal with the day’s guests of honor and understand that preserving a river is more than ensuring citizens have something aesthetically pleasing to view. The act of preservation ensures that those without a voice – be it steelhead trout, cranes, egrets or the river itself – have their needs advocated for.

See you next year!