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The World Largest Salmon BBQ is held each year on the first Saturday in July. This year it is July 4th. 

All proceeds are used to improve salmon populations on the Northern California coast, see projects.

BBQ Tickets are $30 at the door or $23 at Harvest Market before 5pm Friday. Admission is free. Come and listen to the music and enjoy the afternoon in Noyo Harbor.

BBQ Starts at 11am and goes to 6 pm. No dogs allowed in the dinning area.

See You There!!


Live Music


Food and Friends


BBQ Salmon

                                      BBQ Sponsors

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North Coast Brewery

Barefoot Winery

Caito Fisheries

Thanksgiving Coffee

Pizza Factory

Nor Cal Produce

Ft Bragg Bakery

Sean Leland Insurance


Waste Management



Knight of Columbus



                                     BBQ People and Stories

On Saturday, Bill Townsend was getting ready to celebrate his 95th birthday in August while he was enjoying another very longstanding tradition for him- the 43th Annual World’s Largest Salmon Barbecue.

Since 1971, Townsend has been coming from Ukiah to Fort Bragg as a volunteer cook for the annual Salmon Restoration Association fundraiser, which happens every year on the first Saturday in July in South Noyo Harbor.

He has flipped fish for free in 39 summers now.  As with most sportsmen he is dedicated both to restoration and fun.

“Helping the fish is more important now than ever.  This event is always great.  I see people here I don’t get to spend enough time with the rest of the year,” Townsend said.  Townsend comes with a group from the Ukiah Rod and Gun Club, one of many civic organizations that provide groups of volunteers to the fundraiser.


2011 attendance was 2284 paid adults and 148 children’s tickets,  up about $6,000 in ticket sales from last year and way up over a very chilly 2009. The event benefits salmon restoration causes, from reviving spawning grounds in the Noyo River to counting salmon in the Usal Forest to giving Fort Bragg Middle School students the chance to do riparian restoration in Otis Johnson Wilderness Park.

This year, the SRA also sponsored an educational film festival at Town Hall on Friday and Saturday.

About 3000 people use the South Noyo Harbor District barbecue grounds throughout the day every year,  with some passing up the ticket booth just for the beer, wine and music from the likes of the Earl Oliver and the Groovinators, the Sea Okies and Steven Bates and Friends.

As both a reporter for this newspaper and a board member of the Salmon Restoration Association, I’ve taken surveys every year on where people come from for this event.  Every year the majority come from inland areas beyond the county borders. But the faces of these inland eaters have started to become familiar.   Over the years it’s been surprising how many of these visitors are back for their 10th or 20th or even 30th time.

This year my mom found another dedicated  new source for me to share dinner with, Victoria Bigelow of Santa Rosa.

Bigelow and her husband Paul have been coming for 15 year. Their 8-year-old son Cooper has obviously worked into the tradition, which includes fireworks and lots of fun on the beach.

“I never get around to make advance reservations and we just drive up.  So far we have been lucky and found a place to stay,” Victoria Bigelow said.

Last year that meant pitching a tent out front at a local campground.   Despite the lack of privacy, others were jealous of the family’s nearly beachfront spot.

“Somebody walked by and said ‘how come they get to be there,” she said.

Bigelow likes the unqiue educational opportunities, such as the Department of Homeland Security’s Coast Guard base open house held during the barbecue every year.

A hands on painting booth operated by Americorps volunteers was a favorite of Cooper.

Cooper has a t-shirt collection from every year he has been, although he gets the previous year each time, as those are marked down.


June 16, 2010
- Want to have eat some great food and have a lot of fun while supporting fishery restoration in Mendocino County?

Make sure that you attend the 39th annual World's Largest Salmon Barbecue," to be held in
South Noyo Harbor in Fort Bragg, on Saturday, July 3. The event will be dedicated to restoration efforts in the Big River Watershed this year.

The Salmon Restoration Association (
SRA's) annual fundraiser funds many key educational efforts and watershed work in the campaign to save flagging king and silver salmon populations, according to SRA President Joe Janisch.

"Between 3,000 and 4,000 people show up every year for the event," said Janisch. "Surveys have shown that the majority of the crowd comes from the
Sacramento Valley and Santa Rosa area. People escape July heat and make a weekend of it, providing significant income to the Mendocino Coast economy, creating a festive atmosphere in Fort Bragg and Mendocino."

A ticket for $25 buys a giant plate of wild-caught salmon, salad, corn on the cob and garlic bread, along with live music and dancing. There will be an eggplant alternative for vegetarians.

There is award-winning microbrew from North Coast Brewing, fair trade coffee from Thanksgiving Coffee and wine from many local vintners. Cowlicks ice cream is served. Fireworks take place after dark following the event.

SRA provides shuttle service from College of the Redwoods parking lot to South Noyo Harbor from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. in South Noyo Harbor.

The always wild and wacky 4th of July parade will be held on Sunday this year.

The income from this year's barbecue will go towards restoring salmon passage and habitat on
Big River. Two years ago, the SRA put $30,000 in as seed money toward a habitat restoration and bridge replacement project on Kass Creek in the Noyo River Watershed.

SRA money was dedicated, state, federal and timber company funds were obtained for a project that will cost more than $150,000. That project got started this month.

SRA will dedicate the proceeds of the 2010 barbecue to getting the some of most troublesome problems on the Big River watershed fixed.

"The money will be dedicated this year and then with our partners from the Big River Coalition, we will decide which project are most worthy and then obtain additional matching funds to complete the work," said
SRA President Joe Janisch. "One possible project is a culvert removal on James Creek about a mile past where the creek crosses Highway 20."

The current culvert is preventing salmon from moving up stream to spawn. There is also a proposed project on the South Fork of Big River with State Park that will improve salmon spawning and rearing habitat.

Where else does the ticket money go? Projects funded by
SRA include:

* $6500 for hands on restoration of riparian and forest habitat by
Fort Bragg middle school students, working in Otis Johnson Wilderness Park. The effort is directed by Helene Chalfin of Jughandle Creek Farm and Nature Center and includes, SRA, the city and school district as partners.

SRA wants every student a chance to get dirty working in the forest, to see how history and biology of the area are intertwined with the health of the ecosystem and the area's economy," said Janisch. "We have found many young Fort Braggers have very little experience in the forest and streams. We hope that this program will help create a new generation of forest, river and salmon restorers."

* $5000 for a Salmon Survey on Anderson Creek, a tributary to the
Eel River. The project is being used by the Redwood Forest Foundation in the 50,000 acre Usal Forest in the northern Mendocino County area. Anderson Creek lost its large salmon population to severe erosion caused by legacy logging practices.

* $5000 to help locals understand Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's controversial Marine Life Protection Act (MLPA) Initiative, currently in the process of creating new marine protected areas (MPAs) off the entire Coast of California. The
SRA knows that people who fish are among the best friends of salmon restoration.

* $30,000 as part of a $150,000 Noyo Watershed Alliance effort to replace a bridge this summer that is blocking salmon passage from the Noyo River into Kass Creek. The money is being used to replace a failing and undersized long stringer bridge and improvements stream habitat for spawning and the rearing of salmon.

Hundreds of volunteers from the Fort Bragg Lions Club, the Fort Bragg Rotary Club, the Fort Bragg Soroptimist Club, the Fort Bragg Knights of Columbus, Fort Bragg Kiwanis Club along with Harvest Market, Fort Bragg Feed and Pet, North Coast Brewing, Thanksgiving Coffee and many others contribute.

The bulk of the 3000 plus people who attend the World's Largest Salmon Barbecue each year make a special trip to do so, most often from the
North Bay and Sacramento Valley areas. The event was started in 1973 by commercial fishermen, hoping to find ways to restore salmon populations, and has been a fixture in Fort Bragg ever since.

T- Shirt Sales

Art work is available in a t-shirt at BBQ and on this web site.



Art by Bob Rhoades

BBQ Salmon Recipe


  • 4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets
  • Basting sauce, recipe follows


Preheat an outdoor grill to medium heat.

Put salmon in a shallow baking dish and pour basting sauce over to coat the salmon, reserving 1/3 of the basting sauce for grilling. Marinate the salmon fillets for at least 30 minutes or refrigerate covered up to 4 hours. Place the fish on the grill skin side down. Grill until just cooked through, about 10 to 15 minutes. Brush with the reserved basting sauce throughout the grilling process. Serve immediately.

Basting Sauce:
1 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon basil

1/3 cup lemon juice

1 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce

1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves

1 teaspoon chopped fresh oregano leaves

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Combine ingredients in a bowl, mix well.



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