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With Salmon Bake, St. John Vianney Church carries on a tradition that has lasted more than half a century

Follow the crowd to take part in an island tradition — the 54nd Annual Salmon Bake of St. John Vianney Church will be held from 1:15 to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 27, on the church grounds.

As always, the Salmon Bake is being held to raise money for the parish, but it is also a chance for Islanders, regardless of their affiliation with the church, to come together for an old-fashioned afternoon of fun, fellowship and tasty food.

“It’s a great place and time to have a wonderful picnic, and it’s affordable to take the whole family,” said Leslie Carda, who is one of the event’s organizers.

It’s a opportunity, she added, to join friends and neighbors on what is almost certainly going to be a sunny, perfect summer afternoon on Vashon. According to many old-timers in the church, it has only rained once in the half-century-long tradition of the event.

The meal will feature salmon prepared over an outdoor alder fire by the men of the church, plus heaping helpings of side dishes including coleslaw, baked beans, garlic bread, Caesar salad, and for dessert, ice cream. To wash it all down, there will plenty of lemonade and ice tea on tap. There will also be a beer garden for the grown-ups.

The event will also boast live music by the Vashon band Loose Change — feel free to get up and dance off your dinner — and fun games and activities for kids and families, including volleyball and basketball games played on the church’s outdoor court.

A few attendees will come home with more than a full belly. Salmon Bake will also feature a 50/50 raffle that day — the winner will receive half the proceeds collected, and the other half will go to the church. Another raffle will be held for an “Patio Party” package donated by Vashon True Value — an assortment of outdoor games, cooler, folding table and chairs, tiki torches, etc. — valued at $250.

The most delicious baked goods ever to come out of Island kitchens will also be on sale at the event, and a giant rummage sale will also happen from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the day of the Salmon Bake, as well as the day before, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, July 26.

Tickets to the Salmon Bake are $15 for teens and adults, and $5 for kids ages 5 to 12. It’s free for anyone younger than 5. Tickets are available after all St. John Vianney Church masses during July and at the Vashon Pharmacy and the Vashon Bookshop.