For the second year in a row, a community fundraising event for the Garland Fire Department has been canceled, leaving the department looking for other ways to raise money for its all-volunteer operation.
After considering the various factors that go into it, the department decided to cancel its annual Salmon Fry, which has become a time-honored tradition in Garland since it was first held more than 40 years ago.
Like most events, the Salmon Fry was canceled last year due to safety concerns in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the pandemic weighed on the decision to cancel again this year, it wasn’t the only reason. Higher food prices and declining attendance in recent years also factored into the difficult choice.
“The Salmon Fry is a big contributing factor to the success of our department budget so we did not just look at the public health risk factors and interest, but also the financial impact to our department,” a recent post on the fire department’s Facebook page stated. “After careful consideration of all the risk factors involved, and the uncertainty that comes with it, we met together as a department and made the collective decision to cancel the 2021 Salmon Fry.”
Firefighter Lanette Sorensen told the Garland City Council earlier this month that after crunching the numbers it became apparent that the event would likely lose money, thus defeating its underlying purpose.
“There’s a threshold we have to meet in order for it to be successful with all the work that goes into it, and we don’t feel that we can meet it this year,” Sorensen said.
In past years, the department would have thousands of pounds of salmon flown in from Alaska. Ticket sales at the event became a dependable source of revenue to supplement the department’s annual budget, but attendance had been declining in recent years to the point that officials had discussed doing away with it even before the pandemic hit.
The department concluded its Facebook announcement by thanking the community for its continued support.
“Our primary concern is always the responsibility we feel towards those who attend our Annual Salmon Fry and we hope to resume our tradition next year.”