Alaska Fairs & Festivals

If you’re visiting Alaska between May and August, you're pretty much guaranteed to stumble across a celebration. Fairs, of course, offer an all-ages crowd-pleaser, with good food, entertainment, and no doubt some quirky Alaskan tradition that started it all. The Alaska State Fair (in the Mat-Su Valley, about an hour north of Anchorage) is the biggest festival of the summer, taking place from the end of August through early September. While the celebrations slow down during the colder months, they certainly don’t stop. One of the most beloved festivals of the year—and the largest one during winter—is the Fur Rendezvous (also called Fur Rondy), which turns Anchorage into a big snowy party every February.

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Fairs & Festivals

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. 

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 clothes and oth­er attrac­tions for the win­ner and pro­posed the race take…  ...more

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.

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 for fish enhance­ment efforts. Der­by tick­ets go on sale Fri­day night…  ...more

Sum­mer Wednes­day evenings in Sol­dot­na are times that every­one looks for­ward to. That’s when the famous — and free! — Levitt AMP Sol­dot­na Music Series takes place in the beau­ti­ful Sol­dot­na Creek Park. It hap­pens week­ly from June through August, and on top of catch­ing some great music, it’s a fan­tas­tic chance to meet locals.

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  ...more

Season: Aug 19 to Sep 05

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 enter­tain­ers in the AT&T Con­cert Series, car­ni­val rides and games, hun­dreds of…  ...more

Season: May 14 to Sep 11 Free Admission

Every Fri­day, Sat­ur­day and Sun­day in sum­mer, more than 100 ven­dors sell a wide vari­ety of Alaskan-made goods and food from all over the world. Whether you’re in the mar­ket for a valu­able keep­sake or a last-minute sou­venir, you’ll like­ly find what you want here. You’ll find sou­venir T‑shirts, furs, painters and pho­tog­ra­phers sell­ing their work, hand­made jew­el­ry, and more. Music and dance per­for­mances keep the mar­ket lively.

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 fea­tures a packed hol­i­day sched­ule of spe­cial events, presentations,…  ...more

Season: Nov 03 to Nov 06

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!

Season: Jul 15 to Jul 16

It’s only fit­ting that an Alas­ka fish­ing vil­lage throws a great salmon fes­ti­val. Every year in July, the town of Cor­do­va takes a break from fish­ing to turn out for the Cop­per Riv­er Salmon Jam. This fes­ti­val aims to cel­e­brate salmon and pro­mote the health and sus­tain­abil­i­ty of local salmon runs.

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  ...more

Seward’s Hal­ibut Tour­na­ment, in June, offers an ear­ly-sea­son focus on this famous fish, attract­ing anglers from all over Alas­ka and beyond

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. 

One week after the town of Wil­low hosts the Idi­tar­od Sled Dog Restart, locals take advan­tage of the groomed trail by play­ing golf on it! Start­ed by the Cham­ber of Com­merce, this icy links tour­na­ment draws some 100 foul-weath­er golfers for a 9‑hole tour­ney. Accord­ing to par­tic­i­pants, the ball bounces on groomed snow just like on real grass. There’s a lim­it of two clubs per per­son, but teams can share their clubs (a put­ter and sev­en iron are…  ...more

Locat­ed on the shores of Kachemak Bay, Homer is one of the most acces­si­ble and beau­ti­ful places for shore­bird view­ing in Alas­ka. Many vis­i­tors fly in (with the birds) while oth­ers dri­ve the scenic road, about four hours south from Anchor­age. Over 100,000 shore­birds migrate through this area, some stay­ing to make their homes here. Many trav­el thou­sands of miles rest­ing and feed­ing at a few crit­i­cal stop-over points such as the base of the Homer  ...more

Come to Pel­i­can the first week­end in June to try your luck at the King Salmon Der­by. June is the best time to catch a fat, sweet King, espe­cial­ly along the coastal waters of near­by Yako­bi Island.

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. 

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 thanks to com­mu­ni­ty sup­port, it was time to give Rondy back to the…  ...more

Every Fri­day from late May through August, vis­it the pop­u­lar open-air mar­ket in down­town Palmer. Start­ed in 2002, this sum­mer-long fes­ti­val cel­e­brates down­town Palmer and the peo­ple and busi­ness­es that make the town great.

Every town has their 4th of July tra­di­tions, and while small, Whittier’s is lots of fun. And, it’s the main com­mu­ni­ty event of the year. It also doesn’t take itself too seri­ous­ly! There’s a tiny parade through the down­town tri­an­gle” (blink and you might miss it!).

Billed as the World’s Longest, Tough­est Snow­ma­chine Race,” the Iron Dog course totals 2,274 long win­ter miles. Begin­ning at Big Lake (north of Anchor­age), the race course leads to Nome, and then ends in Fair­banks. Rac­ers and the Nome com­mu­ni­ty enjoy a fes­tive ban­quet halfway through the race. 

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.

Youth tal­ent is on dis­play at Nome’s Sum­mer­fest, an end-of-July cel­e­bra­tion held in Anvil City Square. Face-paint­ing, a tal­ent show, bounce-house and com­mu­ni­ty booths are all part of the fun in this annu­al event that hon­ors youth, the arts, and healthy choices. 

If you’re look­ing for a tra­di­tion­al 4th of July, you’ll get that and more in Glac­i­er View. Vis­it this small town with superb views where you can take part in a com­mu­ni­ty get-togeth­er that fea­tures a fly­over of King­dom Air Corps planes, a parade, com­mu­ni­ty bbq (bring your own meat to grill on pro­vid­ed grills), fire­works, and the launch­ing of a vehi­cle off a 300 foot cliff.

March is the month to get out­side. The days are longer and the weath­er is start­ing to warm, but win­ter still has its icy grip. To avoid going stir crazy or for some good, clean Alaskan win­ter fun, head north to Trap­per Creek for the Cab­in Fever Reliev­er. Held the sec­ond Sat­ur­day in March in this pic­turesque small town (there are great views of Denali), the cel­e­bra­tion includes a pan­cake break­fast, a raf­fle, cross-coun­try ski races, games,  ...more

The 200-mile Nome-Golovin Race is held on the sec­ond Sat­ur­day in March. Rac­ers begin and end in Nome after fol­low­ing 100 miles of the Idi­tar­od trail down the coast to Golovin and back. It takes just a few hours, so you can catch both the start and fin­ish – and maybe even catch the Award Cer­e­monies, held a few days later. 

Com­ing to Kake in the sum­mer? Time your vis­it to late July/​early August so you can par­tic­i­pate in the Dog Salmon Fes­ti­val, a com­mu­ni­ty cel­e­bra­tion with great food, crazy games, music, and danc­ing. It’s the biggest event of the year, and a time when the entire com­mu­ni­ty comes togeth­er to cel­e­brate the boun­ty of the land and sea. 

Snow­ma­chines are part of dai­ly life around Nome, but you usu­al­ly have to mind the speed lim­it. Not so in the Can­non­ball Snow­ma­chine Race each April, when rac­ers tear up the trail in mul­ti­ple laps around Nome. 

Min­ers took a lot of gold out of Dex­ter Creek, just north­east of Nome, and the Wyatt Earp Dex­ter Chal­lenge takes par­tic­i­pants through this back­coun­try on the Dex­ter Bypass Road. Walk­ers, run­ners and bik­ers com­plete dif­fer­ent course lengths, but all cov­er some of this ridge-lined ter­ri­to­ry on the back­side of Anvil Mountain. 

Reach­ing deep into a sleeve of hot ket­tle corn for the ker­nels at the bot­tom amid a pop-up city of white tent tops is an easy recipe for a clas­sic after­noon in Fair­banks. Farm­ers mar­kets dou­ble as open-air social halls to run into friends and neigh­bors while shop­ping, and also play host to cook­ing demon­stra­tions, com­pe­ti­tions (like the pur­ple veg­etable con­test), and live music. 

Alaskans love win­ter recre­ation, and this race is a tes­ta­ment to the cold-weath­er fanat­ics of the far north. Fol­low­ing por­tions of the orig­i­nal Idi­tar­od trail and the frozen Susit­na Riv­er, this 100-mile race is open to bik­ers, run­ners, and cross-coun­try skiers. Set in Feb­ru­ary on President’s Day week­end, the rac­ers deal with 13 hours of dark­ness and what­ev­er the win­ter ele­ments might be that week: minus-20 degree temps, snow, wind, or maybe…  ...more

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.

Come try your luck at ice fish­ing dur­ing the month-long Mat-Su Val­ley Pike Der­by. Drill a hole and start jig­ging for pike, a large inva­sive species with a vora­cious appetite that grows to impres­sive lengths (win­ning fish are close to four feet long). Host­ed by orga­ni­za­tions from the town of Hous­ton, the der­by fea­tures prizes for the most fish caught, as well as the longest, heav­i­est, short­est, and light­est pike. The fish are cooked at the…  ...more

A beau­ti­ful 100k race on remote pis­ton bul­ly snow trails in the spec­tac­u­lar Cari­bou hills out­side of Homer. Rac­ers pick one mode: FAT­BIKE, SKI, or RUN and must fin­ish in one day or less. Start­ing point is McNeil Canyon Ele­men­tary School. 

The first Sun­day of August brings a spe­cial event to Homer: the oppor­tu­ni­ty to step into pri­vate gar­dens that show­case the unique­ness of Alaskan gar­den­ing and get some real insight into what it’s like to work the land in a place where the grow­ing sea­son is short and the days long. Some 400 peo­ple come to Homer from all over, some of them gar­den­ers from oth­er parts of Alas­ka, and oth­ers from out­side the state who sim­ply have an inter­est in  ...more

In ear­ly sum­mer, Peters­burg folks let their hair down — or bun­dle it up under a horned hel­met — dur­ing a three-day par­ty to toast their Viking her­itage. This fes­ti­val warm­ly wel­comes vis­i­tors. The town’s main drag is bar­ri­cad­ed off as fear­some marchers in horned hel­mets and furs parade a drag­on-bowed Viking ship down Nordic Avenue.

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!

Nome res­i­dents have cel­e­brat­ed the Fourth of July since before the town was even incor­po­rat­ed. A fes­tive parade and range of games is always on the agen­da, from the high kick, to gun­ny sack and bicy­cle races. And in Nome, the fun isn’t just for kids. There are race cat­e­gories for all ages!

There’s no place like Nome at sol­stice time. The com­mu­ni­ty gath­ers for a cel­e­bra­tion like no oth­er: the Mid­night Sun Fes­ti­val. Spir­its are high, as locals take advan­tage of more than 21 hours of direct sun­light. Events include a parade down Front Street, a mock bank rob­bery, and an icy plunge in the Bering Sea. 

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.

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  ...more

This unique fes­ti­val in Homer, Alas­ka is an art-lovers dream.

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. 

Look­ing for a music fes­ti­val dur­ing your vis­it to the far North? There’s one held every year the sec­ond week­end of June in the town of Chick­en, Alas­ka. 2016 will be the 10th annu­al. Like any good music fes­ti­val, it promis­es good music, plen­ty of beer, and lots of fun. 

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  ...more

If you like small-town Inde­pen­dence Day cel­e­bra­tions, you’ll love this one. It’s an all-day cel­e­bra­tion of tasty food and quirky games, fea­tur­ing kids, dogs, floats, flags…and slugs. It begins with a parade of peo­ple walk­ing and rid­ing bikes and four-wheel­ers along Tena­kee Avenue, begin­ning at the fire hall.

Get a real taste of native Alas­ka. This fes­ti­val — called Nalukataq — is a tra­di­tion of the Inu­pi­aq Eski­mos of north­ern Alas­ka, held after the spring whale-hunt­ing sea­son to give the locals a chance to say thanks for a suc­cess­ful hunt­ing sea­son. There are tra­di­tion­al songs and dances, includ­ing a blan­ket toss, where a dancer is tossed high in the air from a blan­ket made of seal skins. You’ll find the most events in Bar­row, though oth­er towns in the  ...more

Plants, organ­ic flours, hand­made prod­ucts (like pot­tery, bead­work, knit­ted goods, art­work, lip balms and salves), and his­tor­i­cal books about the area. Food stands, mean­while, brim with mar­ket favorites like soft pret­zels, hot dogs and fries.

It’s a won­der that it took until recent­ly to launch this cel­e­bra­tion in the town long-billed as Sit­ka-by-the-Sea.” Who doesn’t want to be a mer­maid? Held over five days in late August, this cel­e­bra­tion of the sea includes a Mer­maid Parade, seafood tast­ings and a two-day pub­lic market.

You know you’re in Nome when the raf­fle prizes at the annu­al Fireman’s Car­ni­val are snow­ma­chines, gold nuggets, air­line tick­ets and heat­ing fuel! Join in the fun at this com­mu­ni­ty event, filled with bin­go, food…and excit­ed raf­fle winners. 

The Homer High­land Games are ded­i­cat­ed to the edu­ca­tion of the gen­er­al pub­lic about the Celtic Cul­ture through ath­let­ics, music and infor­ma­tion about one of the most ancient ath­let­ic events in his­to­ry start­ing back in 1057 A.D. when King Mal­colm Can­more, who called upon the Clans to send their best run­ners, for he need­ed mes­sen­gers, send their best fight­ers, for he need­ed a pri­vate army, and send the strongest, for he need­ed per­son­al guards.  ...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 hawks and rare species, bird­ers are drawn by the good light, with…  ...more

The Kachemak Bay Wood­en Boat Soci­ety holds an annu­al fes­ti­val in Sep­tem­ber. Fea­tures include a tour of the waters includes a WWII era wood­en tug con­vert­ed for char­ter use, kids boat build­ing, marine demon­stra­tions (includ­ing knot tying, net mend­ing, and bronze cast­ing. For enter­tain­ment, lis­ten to tall tales and poets. 

Kick up your heels dur­ing Nome’s Salmonber­ry Jam, a three-day music fes­ti­val with work­shops, guest artists, local musi­cians, danc­ing, hand-made crafts, and a com­mu­ni­ty cook­out and jam. 

Kake’s res­i­dents were the first Alas­ka Natives to become U.S. cit­i­zens, when the com­mu­ni­ty incor­po­rat­ed under Fed­er­al law in 1912. Cel­e­brat­ing Inde­pen­dence Day is a big deal in Kake, with plen­ty of fire­works, kids dressed in red, white and blue, a parade, games and races. 

From Nome to your home: You can cap­ture the spir­it of the Idi­tar­od Trail Sled Dog Race and stay active dur­ing win­ter no mat­ter where you live through Nome-based char­i­ty fundrais­ers: Idi­ta-splash and Idita-walk. 

Very few art fes­ti­vals in the coun­try are as bold­ly mul­ti-dis­ci­pli­nary as the Fair­banks Sum­mer Arts Fes­ti­val with class­es in music, dance, the­atre, visu­al arts, lit­er­ary arts, culi­nary arts, and heal­ing arts. Fair­banks Sum­mer Arts Fes­ti­val hosts a thou­sand peo­ple, from begin­ners to advanced prac­ti­tion­ers, reg­is­ter each year to explore their inner artist. 

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.

An annu­al, must attend event with fab­u­lous art, live music and dance per­for­mances. Local Alaskan arti­sans and food ven­dors are fea­tured. The Seward Art’s Coun­cil pro­motes this ever grow­ing event, with a com­mit­ment to youth involve­ment, edu­ca­tion, and cre­ative inspi­ra­tion; as well as a phi­los­o­phy of low envi­ron­men­tal impact. It is a fam­i­ly-ori­ent­ed fes­ti­val with chil­dren’s activ­i­ties and artist’s projects through­out the week­end; includ­ing the  ...more

The tiny town of Hous­ton triples its pop­u­la­tion (all the way up to 6,000!) dur­ing this one-day fam­i­ly-friend­ly blowout on the third Sat­ur­day in August. And the best part is that everything’s free! Kids’ games and boun­cy rooms, dunk tanks, fish­ing ponds, slides, and a BBQ…it’s all cov­ered by the folks of Hous­ton. The block par­ty-style fes­ti­val, which has been going on for at least 30 years, was start­ed for kids, and they’ve kept the focus on…  ...more

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. 

This annu­al three-day event cel­e­brates the Cor­do­va region’s abun­dant crop of wild mush­rooms with class­es, art and hand­craft ses­sions, expert talks, kid’s activ­i­ties and dai­ly-guid­ed trips into the rain for­est foothills and the Cop­per Riv­er Delta.

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. 

The first few weeks of each year are a time of renew­al. In Kake each Jan­u­ary 8, res­i­dents and guests gath­er at the Com­mu­ni­ty Hall to com­mem­o­rate the anniver­sary of the city’s 1912 incor­po­ra­tion (it was the first Native vil­lage to do so). Kake Day cel­e­brates the city’s self-gov­er­nance, as well as its Tlin­git roots. 

Win­ter fes­ti­val fea­tur­ing live music, food, and a beer gar­den held each Feb­ru­ary in Sol­dot­na Creek Park.

Jazz in Alas­ka? In the win­ter? You bet. In fact, this three-day fes­ti­val, which takes place over the first week­end in Feb­ru­ary, has been going on for 17 years. And it con­tin­ues to draw musi­cians from New Orleans, Detroit, San Fran­cis­co, and New York. The festival’s mis­sion is to bring jazz to Sit­ka. Pro­fes­sion­al musi­cians head­line evening per­for­mances, but music stu­dents also per­form at the 650-seat Per­form­ing Arts Cen­ter. In fact, near­ly 200…  ...more

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.

Join this annu­al com­pe­ti­tion host­ed in Down­town Anchor­age at Ship Creek where anglers cast their line for a prize-win­ning King Salmon. It’s one of Anchorage’s most excit­ing events — come and watch, or cast your own line. Vis­i­tors and locals can par­tic­i­pate! Rent all the equip­ment you need and pur­chase a license from The Bait Shack.

4th of July is Elfin Cove’s biggest com­mu­ni­ty event, with every­one turn­ing out for some patri­ot­ic fun that includes a pan­cake break­fast, games and even a banana slug race! 

The Offi­cial Race Start begins in the town of Wil­low on the first Sun­day in March. Come see the mush­ers head out on The Last Great Race” and get a feel for a small-town Alaskan win­ter. The race begins at 2 p.m., with mush­ers leav­ing the gate every two min­utes. Sev­er­al thou­sand fans show up to cheer on the 60 to 70 dog teams; ven­dors sell­ing food and sou­venirs set up at the Wil­low Com­mu­ni­ty Cen­ter. There’s usu­al­ly a shut­tle from Wasil­la, and…  ...more

Vis­it local gal­leries and shops in down­town Seward to see fea­tured local artists and enjoy local Alaskan hos­pi­tal­i­ty. See hand­made jew­el­ry, pot­tery, pho­tog­ra­phy, paint­ings, met­al work, carv­ings, cloth­ing and more. Occa­sion­al­ly the event includes local musi­cians, dancers or drummers.

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. 

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. 

The Tal­keet­na Trio is made up of two dis­tances of 20 and 60 miles, FAT BIKES only. Beau­ti­ful rolling ter­rain with nar­row trails, with some riv­er run­ning and each lap takes you through down­town Tal­keet­na. Start­ing point is at the Denali Brew­ing Company. 

The annu­al four-day Bear Paw Fes­ti­val brings fun events like live music and danc­ing, races, a car show, car­ni­val rides, food and drink, and all kinds of ven­dors every mid-July to down­town Eagle Riv­er. Don’t miss the only-in-Alas­ka events like the Slip­pery Salmon Olympics

Every Sep­tem­ber since 2004, an inter­est­ing tra­di­tion has tak­en place: locals cre­ate a giant woven bas­ket with birch, fire­weed, and grass, set it out on the beach, dec­o­rate it, throw notes into it, and then, at sun­down, burn it up in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion. Artist Mavis Muller began this unique event, and today, it makes for a vibrant evening, filled with music and danc­ing, that show­cas­es a strong com­mu­ni­ty spir­it and respect for the local  ...more

Sum­mers are busy in Ketchikan, with up to five cruise ships mak­ing port every day, but the locals also know how to play hard — espe­cial­ly at the huge Blue­ber­ry Arts Fes­ti­val, host­ed every August by the Ketchikan Arts and Human­i­ties Coun­cil. In a town of 14,000, you’re like­ly to see as many as 8,000 peo­ple come out to this fam­i­ly-friend­ly event that cel­e­brates the South­east Alaskan blueberry. 

Held the sec­ond week­end in June, the town of Palmer com­mem­o­rates the area’s orig­i­nal farm­ers, and Palmer’s colony history. 

Con­sid­ered one of Alaska’s top bird­ing events, this annu­al fes­ti­val dur­ing ear­ly May cel­e­brates the arrival of more than 5 mil­lion migra­to­ry birds on the Cop­per Riv­er Delta east of Cordova.

The sum­mer out­door Farmer’s Mar­ket, on the right side of Ocean Dri­ve en route to the Spit, offers not only fresh pro­duce and art, but also per­form­ing artists on stage. It’s a very pleas­ant aspect of Homer life. The enter­tain­ment ranges from singer/​songwriter gui­tarists, quar­tets, elab­o­rate dance per­for­mances to marim­ba bands to men­tion a few. In a town so full of tal­ent, one can always expect an added treat at the Farmer’s Mar­ket, not only in  ...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.

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

This ambi­tious event spot­light­ing over­looked choral and clas­si­cal music and incor­po­rat­ing nat­ur­al ele­ments from Sitka’s sur­round­ings, speaks to the town’s artis­tic lega­cy and its ambi­tions. This annu­al, week-long cham­ber music fes­ti­val pro­motes an inclu­sive, acces­si­ble vision of clas­si­cal music, with free events, work­shops and performances.

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. 

Run­ning the Gold Dust Dash in Nome offers a beau­ti­ful view along the 5K race course up and back along the shore­line of the Bering Sea. A gold nugget is on the line for first place fin­ish­ers, so most run­ners enjoy the view at top speed. The Gold Dust Dash is the first of many events cel­e­brat­ing sum­mer sol­stice in Nome. 

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 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. 

Can your home­made raft sur­vive a race down a five-mile stretch of the Nome Riv­er? How about when water bal­loons and squirt guns are in play between race par­tic­i­pants and even spec­ta­tors? The Nome Riv­er Raft Race, held each June as part of the Mid­night Sun Fes­ti­val, is one event where get­ting wet is not only part of the fun – it’s a requirement! 

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  ...more

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. 

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! 

Some­thing mag­i­cal hap­pens in Sol­dot­na every year dur­ing the fourth week of July. That’s when the town comes alive with Sol­dot­na Progress Days — an annu­al com­mu­ni­ty cel­e­bra­tion worth plan­ning your vis­it around.

An annu­al event with local Alaskan artists, fea­tur­ing beau­ti­ful work for your hol­i­day shop­ping plea­sure. Don’t for­get to check out the food ven­dors, live enter­tain­ment, hol­i­day music and San­ta! Gen­er­al­ly the first week in Decem­ber at the Dale R. Lind­sey Alas­ka Rail­road Inter­modal Facility.

Tal­keet­na cel­e­brates the dark month of Decem­ber with its annu­al Tal­keet­na Win­ter­fest. This pop­u­lar fes­ti­val attracts folks from Anchor­age and Fair­banks with its famed Bach­e­lor Soci­ety Ball and Auc­tion. Come watch the bid­ding as Tal­keet­na Bach­e­lors fetch as much as $1,000 for a drink and dance at the ball. The auc­tion and ball, held the first Sat­ur­day of the month, are the high­lights. But don’t miss the Parade of Lights, held on the festival’s…  ...more

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  ...more

Cordova’s old­est fes­ti­val — which start­ed back in 1961 — is about offer­ing a cure for the win­ter blues. This week­long fes­ti­val hap­pens dur­ing the hope­ful time of year when the days are start­ing to get longer!

Although it’s a state hol­i­day, Alas­ka Day is owned by Sit­ka, which throws an annu­al, day-long par­ty to observe the anniver­sary of the trans­fer of the Alas­ka Ter­ri­to­ry to the Unit­ed States. There’s a parade led by the pipe and drum reg­i­ment of the Seat­tle Fire Depart­ment; a ball, his­tor­i­cal reen­act­ments, pan­el dis­cus­sions, and more.

This fes­ti­val brings togeth­er some of America’s most tal­ent­ed string musi­cians and has gar­nered nation­al acclaim. Cel­e­brat­ed for over 40 years, the fes­ti­val is the vision of Paul Rosen­thal, a vio­lin­ist from New York who vis­it­ed Alas­ka while on tour in 1972. It’s grown to include fall and win­ter per­for­mances in Anchor­age and oth­er parts of the state. The stringed per­for­mances are tru­ly impres­sive (they’ve been fea­tured in the New York Times…  ...more

Local bands, live paint­ings, cir­cus per­for­mances, local art ven­dors, and a pos­i­tive atmos­phere. Bring an instru­ment and join in the open jam ses­sions! Bring jug­gling equip­ment, fire spin­ning equip­ment, hoops, etc, and join in the live per­for­mance art. 

Learn about the far north through the eyes of cre­ative film-mak­ers (many of them local) in this 2‑day film fes­ti­val orga­nized by the Nome Arts Council. 

Each year, the streets of down­town Fair­banks burst with a 12-hour, fam­i­ly-friend­ly street fair packed with live music, per­for­mances and hun­dreds of booths sell­ing food, crafts, offi­cial fes­ti­val t‑shirts, and hand­made sou­venirs. Activ­i­ties include face paint­ing, gold pan­ning, an annu­al BBQ cook-off, sled dog pup­pies, and a skate park. This pop­u­lar block par­ty reflects the impor­tance of sum­mer sol­stice to Inte­ri­or Alaskans. 

If you love blue­grass and camp­ing in the Alaskan wilder­ness, this is the fes­ti­val for you. Bands play for 20 hours each day, and there are ven­dors sell­ing hand­made craft items and food of all kinds. The fes­ti­val is also focused around camp­ing, and the whole fam­i­ly is encour­aged to par­tic­i­pate: there’s even a des­ig­nat­ed fam­i­ly camp­ing area. 

This is the lot­tery, Alas­ka-style. To enter, just buy a tick­et and pick the date and time (down to the minute) in April or May when you think the win­ter ice on the Tanana Riv­er will break. Win­ning could mean a wind­fall: the pool has reached near­ly $300,000 in recent years. 

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

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. 

Plung­ing into the Bering Sea’s frigid waters takes a lot of nerve, but each year dozens of folks jump in with gus­to as part of the Nome Rotary Club’s Polar Bear Swim. Many get out as fast as they went in, with gasps, smiles and a rush to the near­by bon­fire. It’s all part of Nome’s wacky annu­al cel­e­bra­tion of sum­mer solstice. 

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.

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

Five days of fes­tiv­i­ties pep­pered with tra­di­tion­al and quirky tour­na­ments, games, races and com­pe­ti­tions. The fes­ti­val is held Thurs­day, Fri­day, Sat­ur­day, Sun­day, end­ing on Memo­r­i­al Day 

Come on out to watch some com­mu­ni­ty soft­ball, a pas­sion for many res­i­dents. Nome usu­al­ly fields near­ly a dozen teams, offer­ing pret­ty com­pet­i­tive soft­ball for a small town on the far reach­es of Alas­ka. With games through­out the sum­mer and a Mid­night Sun Fes­ti­val tour­na­ment, the ball is in play sev­er­al days a week, rain or shine. 

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 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. 

When you see berry pick­ers dot­ting the tun­dra around Nome, you know the Blue­ber­ry Fes­ti­val is just around the cor­ner. Don’t miss this one-day gath­er­ing that cel­e­brates all-things blue­ber­ry: from music to arts and crafts, and so many blue­ber­ry-based food concoctions. 

The biggest com­mu­ni­ty par­ty of the year in Pel­i­can is the 4th of July cel­e­bra­tion, which starts a day ear­ly with a big fire­works dis­play late on July 3rd. Live music, quirky con­tests, a parade and a com­mu­ni­ty pic­nic round out the festivities.

All races are on cours­es that make them easy to watch from the end of the Spit. Fre­quent­ly they race around the green can’ mark­er on a shoal west of the Spit, and Gull Island, a few miles across Kachemak Bay from end of the Spit. Some­times there are only four boats rac­ing and oth­er times up to 20. They are very open-mind­ed sailors and whether or not you have had any sail­ing expe­ri­ence they wel­come new crew. Cap­tains and Crews meet on P…  ...more

The Homer Jack­pot Hal­ibut Der­by is the longest run­ning der­by in Alas­ka and boasts the largest jack­pot, too. 

Over 275, avi­a­tion only exhibitors fea­tur­ing the lat­est tech­nol­o­gy, state-of-the-art prod­ucts, new inno­va­tions and com­pre­hen­sive safe­ty con­fer­ence. Indoor & Out­door Sta­t­ic Dis­plays fea­tur­ing every type of air­craft – sport, gen­er­al avi­a­tion, vin­tage, exper­i­men­tal, com­mer­cial, cor­po­rate and mil­i­tary. The Alas­ka State Avi­a­tion Trade Show is about fly­ing in Alas­ka com­plete with a fron­tier flair. Dis­cov­er indus­try trends. Learn about new…  ...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 the race takes under 24 hours. You can catch the start of the…  ...more

The water’s cold, but there’s def­i­nite­ly gold to be found in the Poor Man’s Beach Gold Pan­ning Con­test,” held annu­al­ly in Nome’s Anvil City Square. Grab a pan and a bag of pay dirt and see if you can find the gold faster than any­body else. 

Nome is a star attrac­tion for bird­ers, who might be sur­prised by hun­dreds of yel­low ducks drift­ing down the Snake Riv­er on Labor Day. 

The Musk Ox Farm has host­ed the Run­ning with the Bulls” trail race on the first Sun­day in August since 2002. Don’t miss out on this unique­ly Alaskan one-of-a-kind race!

This annu­al win­ter fes­ti­val, in exis­tence for more than 50 years, is held on back-to-back week­ends at the end of Jan­u­ary and begin­ning of Feb­ru­ary. With the state’s biggest win­ter fire­works dis­play, $1,000 bin­go cash pots, sled dog races, tal­ent con­tests, foot races and fat-tire bike races, the fes­ti­val is a region­al draw and a fun place for trav­el­ers to see Alaskans cut loose.The car­ni­val kicks off with a din­ner at the com­mu­ni­ty cen­ter, where…  ...more

See what it’s like to be Nome for the Hol­i­days” at the much-antic­i­pat­ed Christ­mas Extrav­a­gan­za fills Old St. Joe’s Hall with music, San­ta and his elves, live rein­deer, and just about every­body in town. 

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. 

Come see the thrill of human inge­nu­ity sur­round­ed by the majesty of Moth­er Nature. At this drag rac­ing track in Palmer — the only Inter­na­tion­al Hot Rod Asso­ci­a­tion track in Alas­ka, and the only NASCAR sanc­tioned oval track in the state, you can have a relax­ing but thrilling day of enter­tain­ment, with races every week­end all sum­mer long. Plus, it’s def­i­nite­ly a must-stop for any hot rod lover or rac­ing fan: this is arguably the most picturesque…  ...more

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. 

Sep­a­rat­ed from the Alas­ka main­land by fjords and steep moun­tains, South­east Alas­ka devel­oped its own state fair” 50 years ago. In the words of one of its annu­al themes, the Haines-based fair real­ly does soak in Southeast.”

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