Haines Fairs & Festivals

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Fairs & Festivals

This part of the state cen­ters around fish­ing, so it’s no sur­prise to find a twist on the tra­di­tion­al rodeo: the fishermen’s rodeo! And that’s just the begin­ning: the fair also hosts live­stock and agri­cul­tur­al exhibits, arts & crafts (includ­ing beau­ti­ful quilts), bands, a fid­dle con­test, a parade, and a children’s car­ni­val. And to eat? Fresh king salmon, of course. 

The Haines Beer­fest,” as its known by locals, is very pop­u­lar, and tick­ets sell out weeks in advance. It kicks off with a gourmet din­ner, paired with beer tast­ings. The fol­low­ing day, the crowd descends on the South­east Alas­ka State Fair­grounds, where craft beer and home­brew sam­ples abound. 

You prob­a­bly call them snow­mo­biles,” but Alaskans call them snow­ma­chines.” The Alcan 200 is billed as the fastest snow­ma­chine race on earth.” Machines have been clocked over 110 miles per hour as they zoom along the 154-mile course, from the Cana­di­an Bor­der to Dezadeash Lake, Yukon Ter­ri­to­ry. Por­tions of the Haines High­way are closed dur­ing the race, and plen­ty of par­ty­ing takes place in town before and after this Jan­u­ary event. 

The Klu­ane Chilkat Bike Relay takes place in June, right around the longest day of the year (the sum­mer sol­stice). The 8‑leg relay starts in Haines Junc­tion, Yukon, and ends in Ft. Seward in Haines, a dis­tance of 150 miles. It attracts a wide range of enthu­si­asts, from seri­ous bike rac­ers to local teams sim­ply out to have a good time. 

A rel­a­tive­ly new event, the Cel­e­bra­tion of Bears takes place in August, a time when the pink salmon run is peak­ing and bear view­ing along the Chilkoot Riv­er is most reli­able. Host­ed by the Alas­ka Chilkoot Bear Foun­da­tion, the free, two-day fes­ti­val pro­motes bear education. 

The annu­al Alas­ka Bald Eagle Fes­ti­val takes place in Haines dur­ing the sec­ond week of Novem­ber at the peak of the largest con­gre­ga­tion of eagles in the world. Drawn by a late run of chum and coho salmon, some 2,000 to 4,000 eagles con­verge on the Chilkat Riv­er Valley.