(May 20, 2023) The pandemic was getting everyone down, isolation, masking, not seeing friends. In a rain forest, where there is less communal outdoor activity, it hit especially hard. In some ways we were fortunate. There are a lot of trails where we could walk in isolation, get out and see nature. And I would meet individuals on the trail, and we could chat at a good social distance. But I think everyone missed the big community events that Sitka does so well, music festivals, festive parades, zany events like the running of the boots or Guy Fawkes Day where the effigy of “The Guy” is filled with peanut butter and dog food and thrown into the bear habitat at Fortress of the Bear. So, someone came up with a pandemic alternative, Porch Fest, where musicians could perform on porches and people could enjoy the music or stories while social distancing on the street. Sitka Porch Fest is one COVID activity that has survived past the pandemic and continues. It is a great spring festival that gets us onto the street, outside, enjoying not only performance, but street food, street dancing, outdoor art classes and both performances by Sitka Cirque but the chance for public participation. It also allows crafts people to sell their wares and even one book author to set up a table to sell his books. There was even a helicopter flyover by the Coast Guard.