For over 75 years, the Alaska State Fair has been a gathering place for all Alaskans, and a “last hurrah” before summer gives way to the long Alaska winter.What started as a celebration for the Mat-Su colonists in 1936 has grown into the state’s largest annual event. Each year, hundreds of thousands of fairgoers enjoyed nightly concerts featuring headline More...
Founded in 2001, the Anchorage International Film Festival will be hosting its 16th annual celebration of independent film in Anchorage this December. Attended by filmmakers and cinema-lovers from all over the US and the world, the festival seeks to support new media and independent filmmaking in Alaska and beyond. Festival-goers are treated to the opportunity to watch films not-yet-released or that won't be released in Alaskan theaters, plus engaging Q & A sessions after the films with attending filmmakers, plus numerous other events.
On the Fourth of July, the population of Seward swells from around 2,500 to a reported 40,000. Main Street is completely blocked off to traffic and the streets fill with people. Many come to run in or watch the Mt. Marathon Race, while others come to enjoy some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and take part in the festivities.
Seward’s annual July 4th celebration More...
First Friday of each month
On these special Fridays, art galleries celebrate new works by local artists, and it’s great entertainment for art lovers. You may find galleries hosting receptions with hors d’oeuvres, offering a chance to meet local artists while enjoying a stroll through downtown. Look for a map of participating galleries in the Anchorage Press or the Anchorage Daily News the day before.
First Saturday in March
The world’s most famous sled dog race begins in downtown Anchorage on the first Saturday in March, in a spectator-friendly ceremony. The first mile and a half of this leg is on city streets lined with thousands of spectators. The next six miles run east and south through the city greenbelts and parks on the extensive system of bike and ski paths.
For 75 years, the Fur Rondy has been celebrating the joys of an Alaskan winter. And because of the time of year, this is hardly your typical festival! So bundle up and check out the outhouse races, native arts market, snowshoe softball, a snow sculpture contest, a sled-dog race, and the uniquely Alaskan “running of the reindeer.” To get the most out of this Alaskan More...
Interested in learning how to smoke fish, make rugs, or carve spoons—from a teacher who’s a local Alaskan? At the Homer Folk School, those locals pass along their unique skills, which come from a variety of traditions. Topics vary, but every class allows travelers and locals to get a deeper understanding of Alaska.
If you’re visiting Girdwood the first weekend in July, you’ll feel a palpable energy in the air—a little extra jolt of excitement. It’s because of the Forest Fair—a huge festival celebrating Alaskan music, arts, and crafts. Artists and visitors pour in from all over Alaska to perform or just have fun, and the entire community comes together to make it happen. It’s the kind of event that visitors may stumble across, then return the following year just to experience it again.
According to folklore, the tradition of the Mt. Marathon Race began when two sourdoughs argued about the possibility of climbing and descending the mountain in less than an hour. “Impossible” one said. To settle the argument, and the resulting wager, a race was held, with the loser to furnish drinks for the crowd. At the same time, enterprising merchants put up a suit of More...
Seward’s halibut are a local surprise for those who typically think only of our Silver Salmon runs. Seward’s Halibut Tournament highlights this fishery, attracting early season visitors and anglers from throughout Alaska.
Because the tournament takes place early in the season, anglers will find it is easier to reserve a seat on one of the many charter vessels. In More...
Summer is not the only time to embrace Sitka’s connection to our vast oceans and the inhabitants. November’s annual Sitka WhaleFest, hosted by the Sitka Sound Science Center, celebrates marine life through a science symposium, art, wildlife cruises and so much more!
The Seward Silver Salmon Derby® is one of the oldest and largest fishing derbies in the State. Seward’s Derby is equally popular with locals, other Alaska residents, and visiting anglers from around the nation and world. Anglers vie for the largest Coho (Silver) Salmon and try to catch tagged fish worth prizes. Anglers turn their fish in daily, which are sold to raise funds More...
Certified by the U.S. Track and Field Association, this annual marathon is run against the gorgeous backdrop of the Alaskan wilderness. People come from far and wide to participate: all 50 states and some 15 countries. And if you’re not up for the full 26.2, you can still be a part of it by running the half-marathon, the 4- mile race, the 1.6-mile youth race, or the marathon relay.
The Alaskan blueberry: plump, delicious, and so popular that every year Girdwood puts on a big celebration in honor of blueberry season. As many as 4,000 people have been flocking to Girdwood one weekend every August for the past 7 years, and the festival gets larger and more exciting each year, with people coming from all over Alaska. The two-day family-friendly event makes for a great excuse to visit this gorgeous area.
Third weekend of April
Love skiing and wacky costumes? The Slush Cup is the perfect opportunity to see both. Competitors dress up and try to skim across a 90-foot-long pool of freezing water on skis—and not many make it! There are lots of other activities as well, including a swim across the freezing pool, face painting for kids, food booths, and more.
Anchorage RunFest is a collection of running events that celebrate runners of all abilities from the elite runners to the back of the packers. This late season Boston Marathon qualifier boasts ideal running weather, mild temperatures and a fast course with very little elevation gain. The out and back route takes runners through downtown Anchorage before heading out along the scenic coastline and through the city’s wooded greenbelt. In keeping with the event’s ‘wild’ reputation, Anchorage’s thriving urban wildlife is often spotted along the race-course.
March madness descends on Nome for two weeks, with a huge basketball tourney, a snowmachine race, local competitions, arts events – and the ultimate excitement, as thousands cheer Iditarod mushers and their dogs on to the finish line. Plan to stay awhile for this crazy arctic party, known here as “The Mardi Gras of the North”!
Unalaskans turn out for an active running/racing schedule most of the year no matter the weather. In fact, the season officially gets started with the 5K Polar Bear Run in late February, when the average temp is still hovering around 32 degrees. Events range from mild to technically challenging, and most also offer shorter versions for the kids. Come to Unalaska, and join a race February - November!
Musicians don’t even have to audition to perform at this “come-one, come-all” festival, and not knowing quite what you’ll get makes the event even more spontaneous and fun. It’s also free, which means it’s a great opportunity to bring the whole family to enjoy the music.
Each February a select group of hardy souls sets out from Knik Lake to test themselves against Alaska’s harsh winter elements. Their mission? To traverse the famed Iditarod trail, by mountain bike, ski, or on foot – with little to no trail support. Crazy? Maybe. Inspiring? Definitely.
An annual New Year's Eve tradition, the Luminary Ski is a free community event on the Divide Ski Trails (at Mile 12 of the Seward Highway). The trails are lit by candlelight, and you can walk, snowshoe, or ski, depending on your preference. Hot cocoa, cider, and a campfire are provided.
The World Eskimo-Indian Olympics (WEIO) were formed over fifty years ago to spread knowledge and awareness of traditional skills and games to visitors and residents of Alaska. Each summer, the top athletes from the circumpolar north (including teams from Greenland and Russia) gather in Fairbanks to compete in tests of strength, endurance, balance, and tolerance for pain. World Eskimo-Indian Olympics usually runs from July 16th-19th at the Carlson Center.
The Nome Community Thanksgiving Dinner, made possible by donations and lots of volunteer help, is open to all community members and visitors. Stop by for a meal, pitch in to help with the turkey, and enjoy the company of friendly Nome-ites, who warm up even the coldest of November days.
Tee off in the ice and snow of the frozen Bering Sea in this 6-hole charity golf classic that includes a mandatory stop-off at a local bar after the first three holes. Parka, fur hat, and heavy boats are advisable for one of the most unique golf outings you’ll ever experience.
With almost 30 years under its belt, the Ketchikan Wearable Arts Show is an event you don’t want to miss. Described as the “original runway performance,” this show has inspired imitations in neighboring communities and around the world. If you’d like to see a show that most clearly represents pure artistic talent, this is it.
Robbers with guns drawn stride down Nome’s Front Street each solstice with one goal: to rob the bank and get away with bags of loot. The plan is somehow always foiled, but that doesn’t matter. Those robbers keep trying, year after year! Watch for the bad guys to come calling at high noon just after the Midnight Sun parade.
Experience Nome’s collective creative spirit at the Nome Arts Council Open Mic events, held in mid-November and in March during Iditarod Week. They are always well-attended, so arrive early to enjoy some of Nome’s best music, dance, poetry and story-tellers.
For an authentic Alaskan celebration, head to Fairbanks in the third week of July. That’s when residents cut loose in honor of their Gold Rush history, during a five-day festival they call Golden Days. Bank managers dress up as sourdough miners, waitress don “fluzie” outfits, and most of the city turns out for races, parades, and great food. It’s a great time to meet locals—who are in a festive, social mood—and to be swept up in a big Alaskan event.
Whether you land a record-breaker or not, the Halibut Derby in Unalaska is a full day’s worth of excitement. Held on a single day in late June or early July, you’ll have just ten hours to land the largest halibut you can – and a $1,000 cash prize is on the line.
In mid-February, the Mat-Su Valley hosts the beginning of the longest and toughest snowmobile race event in the world: the Iron Dog. In its 30th year in 2013, the race features teams of two snowmobile racers riding from Wasilla to Nome to Fairbanks, covering more than 2,000 miles of rugged Alaskan terrain. Sea ice crossings, the frozen Yukon River, and treacherous passes await these rugged snowmobilers, who don’t slow down for anything; some of them average 55 mph through the snowy terrain.
In Nome you can find truly unique, hand-made items during local arts and crafts fairs. The largest of these takes place during Iditarod Week in mid-March. Take advantage of the local flavor and pick up a hand-spun qiviut (muskox fibres) garment, ivory carvings or a sealskin hat.
“You too can clean up your act,” promise sponsors of Nome’s wacky Labor Day Bathtub Race. Whether a participant or a bystander, be prepared to get splashed as tubs full of water, bubbles – and a bather – are raced 100 yards down Front Street. For Nome, this is good, clean fun!
In the cold and dark heart of winter, in the slightly twisted, yet brilliant mind of a local DJ, an ember slowly burned. How long, how hot, who knows? What we do know is that the ember grew into a flame and once released, grew legs, antlers and much more...A legend was born.
In a small office, not far away, a community festival struggled. After staggering debt was paid off More...
Celebrating tasty, wild Alaskan seafood, this August festival is not only for foodies, but anyone interested in catching, preparing, and eating the bounty from Alaska’s waters. The opening night features a five-course seafood dinner prepared by local and visiting chefs, with dishes like Alaska spot prawns infused with alder wood aroma or Alaska salt cod over vegetables. The next More...
Many events are held here throughout the year, the largest being the Kenai Peninsula Fair held annually the 3rd weekend in August. Locals call this the biggest little fair in Alaska. The festivities include a rodeo, parade, livestock competition, horse show and exhibits ranging from arts and crafts to produce.
There are classical music festivals, jazz festivals, and rock festivals. And then there’s HomeSkillet—a fun, eclectic, varied, and unique festival that defies definition. The offspring of Home Skillet Records (a production company started by two Sitka High graduates), this music festival—held over two or three days in mid-summer—is in its 7th year and features More...
Mushing in Alaska is often a family activity, with entire households devoted to the feeding, training, and care of dog kennels that can house more than 100 canines! Teenagers from these families, plus other teens who have stumbled into the world of mushing, compete in a 160-mile race the weekend prior to the start of the Iditarod. It’s a small field, usually under 15 people, and More...
This big pullout doesn’t look like much, but each spring bird watchers from around the world gather here to look for elusive species of raptors and falcons. Migrating north for summer, red tail hawks, sharp-shinned hawks, gyre falcons and other birds of prey gather in large numbers here, playing on the uplifts along the windy cliffs. In addition to seeing impressive numbers of More...
Perfectly timed for the approaching holiday season, the Ketchikan Arts & Humanities Council’s Winter Arts Faire showcases the creations of local artists, which make for great gifts. More than 80 artists exhibit their work here, so you could easily fill all of your holiday wish lists with local, handmade gifts.
The Delta is for the birds, literally. Swans, geese, ducks, shorebirds, and bald eagle are all temporary or permanent inhabitants of the area. The Delta is an integral part of the Western Hemisphere Shorebird Reserve Network, which brings together organizations to recognize and protect critical shorebird habitat. Bird-lovers will have a hard time beating the spectacular gathering of hundreds of thousands of shorebirds during their annual migration.
One of the most unique golf outings you could ever experience takes place every August, on the Aleutian tundra thousands of miles from any established golf course. This is a place where you can (and perhaps should) wear knee high boots as you advance along a 9-hole course winding through the Pyramid Valley of Unalaska Island.
The view from Nome’s Anvil Mountain is worth the effort it takes to climb 1,100 feet to the summit. Two very different summer competitions feature a fast race to the top. How much time you spend up there enjoying the grand view of Nome and the Bering Sea is all up to you.