Alaska and Independence Day: Great ways to celebrate with kids

Ready, set, AK Kid GOES to it for an Alaska Independence Day post!

Tomorrow is the first Thursday of July, which means it’s also time to wake up very, very early and join my friends James Gaddis and Megan Mazurek on the set of KTVA’s Daybreak. ‘Alaska Family Fun Expert’ is a title I am proud to own, and with a long holiday weekend ahead of us, I’m ready to shout out my favorite bets for kid-friendly Independence Day fun.

Join a parade in downtown Anchorage for Independence Day! (image

Anchorage is once again hosting a big Independence Day bash throughout the downtown core, beginning with a parade along the Delaney Park Strip at 11 a.m. on Friday, July 4. It’s a family favorite, this, with bands, fire trucks, community groups, and Star the Reindeer (we love her). After the parade, enjoy food booths, crafts, music, and a reading of the Declaration of Independence at 1 p.m. From 5-8 p.m., the Anchorage Downtown Partnership is sponsoring a special edition of “Live After Five” at Town Square Park, with free music and lots of room for boot scootin’.

(image courtesy

Want to get funky? The Girdwood Forest Fair is the perfect spot to dance among the forest fairies, eat some good food, and listen to some amazing music. From Friday, July 4 to Sunday, July 6, Girdwood will be overrun by colorful folks eager to take life down a few notches (or up, depending upon your level of excitement). The Forest Fair is a popular event; parents should know that parking, frankly, stinks to high heaven, so plan to carpool and/or walk a long way to the venue downtown. But who cares? The weather will be tops and the crafts, music, parade, and vendor booths will make up for any short-term discomfort.

Now THAT'S an Alaska Independence Day sort of mascot.

Longtime AKontheGO friends will remember when we hopped an Alaska Marine Highway ferry and sailed to the Prince William Sound community of Valdez for their 4th of July celebration. Rain? Yes, but we cared not a bit as we watched a parade, took hikes, saw some pretty amazing fireworks, and absorbed the hilarity of canoe jousting. Double your fun and take a Stan Stephens Glacier and Wildlife Cruise – the scenery is spectacular!

Hooray for bike parades!

Staying in Sitka? Our favorite Southeast Alaska town is putting on a big party for Independence Day, with fireworks taking place Thursday, July 3, and a big parade on Friday, July 4. There’s also a big old barn dance, kids’ races, FREE root beer floats, and a huge water fight between the Sitka Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard. Goodness, this sounds fun.

Happy Independence Day, all.

Everybody has their own special way of celebrating our nation’s independence; that’s the beauty of America, isn’t it? No matter what your family decides to do this weekend, remember the guys and gals who did it on your behalf, first.

Freedom is a cool thing.



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