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

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

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

Since 1935, 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, the Open World Cham­pi­onship Sled Dog Race, and the unique­ly Alaskan run­ning of the reindeer.”

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.

Season: Jul 14 to Jul 15

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.

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.

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

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

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

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. 

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.

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.

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!

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. 

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

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