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.
Fairs & Festivals
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!
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
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.
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.
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
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