Unalaska Fairs & Festivals

Small-town America is often plagued with complaints that “there’s nothing to do.” One might think that would hold even truer for a small town situated on an Aleutian island only accessible by boat or plane.

In fact, the town of Unalaska is hopping. In addition to popular outdoor activities such as fishing, berry-picking and hiking, Unalaskans look forward to community events, celebrations and athletic challenges year-round.

The city’s Parks, Culture and Recreation Department (known locally as “PCR”), leads the charge by offering regular programming for all ages, as well as many of the special events we’ve listed here.

Even if you’re just visiting for a day or two, there’s likely something going on to pique your interest as a participant or spectator. An athlete visiting town on business recently won the Summer Solstice race, so jump in and have some Unalaska-style fun.

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Fairs & Festivals

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.

Fall in Unalas­ka brings cool­er air, rich col­or to the tun­dra, and a pletho­ra of berries. While locals can be pret­ty secre­tive about their favorite pick­ing spots, they are gen­er­ous with the fruits of their labors – at the annu­al Blue­ber­ry Bash. Here you’ll find an amaz­ing array of blue­ber­ry dish­es – table after table loaded with vari­a­tions on tasty pies, cob­blers and tarts, along with jams, vine­gars, chut­neys, sal­sas and every­thing in between.   ...more

One of the best ways to view the true spir­it of a small com­mu­ni­ty is to take part in its annu­al Fourth of July parade. This is true for the City of Unalas­ka, where you’ll see a num­ber of unique floats put togeth­er by local busi­ness­es, com­mu­ni­ty groups and indi­vid­u­als. The spir­it of patri­o­tism runs high in this wind-swept Aleut­ian island, whose his­to­ry includes an attack by Japan­ese bombers dur­ing World War II.

Unalaskans are always ready” for music, a tra­di­tion that goes back to the 1920s. Back in those days, there was just one piano on the whole Aleut­ian Chain, and it was used by Bering Sea Patrol com­man­der Cap­tain Frances Van Bosker­ck (along with friends Alfred Nannes­tad and Joseph Fournier) to write a catchy tune that became Unit­ed States Coast Guard’s anthem Sem­per Para­tus” (“always ready”). Today, there are plen­ty more pianos, along with plenty  ...more

Framed by green moun­tains on three sides, Kel­ty field is the per­fect set­ting for an end-of-sum­mer par­ty – a cel­e­bra­tion of Aleut­ian life and the peo­ple who make Unalas­ka their home (whether year-round or just for the sum­mer). Coor­di­nat­ed by the city’s Parks, Cul­ture and Recre­ation Depart­ment, the Heart of the Aleu­tians Fes­ti­val is a fam­i­ly affair, where artists and their crafts, small busi­ness­es and non-prof­its fill the com­mu­ni­ty tent with  ...more

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.

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!

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