I think today’s post might just as well be titled “Festival Friday” for all the parties going on in celebration of one Alaskan tradition or another. That’s the great thing about summer in the 49th state; our window for festivities is so narrow, we know we’d better cram them in while we can. In fact, I believe one could visit Alaska through festivals and fairs alone and still come away knowing just as much about Alaska as one who spent a month cruising the state in a motor coach. But that’s just me.
We’re ready this morning, a healthy crew thanks to Alaska Center for Pediatrics in Anchorage; and we’re not stinking of DEET thanks to my new AKontheGO friend Monica Mazakis from Fairbanks. Monica is the owner of Alaskan Earth Mamas and makes natural body care products/herbal remedies, and was kind enough to send me a few bottles of her DEET-free insect repellent. TaDa!! AKontheGO’ers are taking a hike today near Thunderbird Falls, and let me tell you, if ever there was a place well-suited for a little bug spray testing, it would be there. I’ll let you know how things turn out.
Let’s talk WEEKEND!
FRIDAY: This morning from 10 a.m.- Noon the popular Moms, Pops, and Tots class kicks off the summer of exploration for little ones at Campbell Creek Science Center. Play outside with a mommy or daddy, learning about the world we live with a minimum of structure but a maximum of fun. Suitable for infant-age 4, MP&T will be staffed by the wonderful CCSC outdoor educators and feature flexible time for snack breaks and potty stops. FREE. Do call 267-1241 to register; it makes things so much easier.
Music in the Park starts at Noon and continues to 1 p.m. at Peratrovich Park on 4th Avenue in downtown Anchorage. Sponsored by the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, this is a great way to get kids of all ages movin’ and groovin’ to Alaskan artists. FREE.
More music can be found at Town Square Park downtown for the Live After Five concert series from 5-8 p.m. Tonight the band Under Cover plays and kids and grownups can enjoy the beautiful flowers while dancing the night away. FREE.
AK Kid and I are headed to Palmer today for the beginning of Colony Days, a celebration dating back to the arrival of colonists during then-President Roosevelt’s New Deal. It’s a great weekend, full of such things as bed racing, parading, and barbeque. This is our first year attending, and I’m sure it’ll be a blast! Head to downtown Palmer out the Glenn Highway Friday-Sunday.
SATURDAY: Up in Fairbanks? Stop by the Fairbanks Folk Fest at Pioneer Park for a day of sunshine, music, and family-friendly fun. Good heavens, the whole thing is FREE, too. Music starts at the Moose Creek Main Stage at noon, but you can always wander the Pioneer Park fun all morning beforehand.
Back in Anchorage, it’s also National Get Outdoors Day! The Anchorage Museum, Anchorage Parks Foundation, and AKontheGO are hosting a super fun afternoon of connecting to nature through art at their backyard garden area. Or, at least, it will be a garden area after the kids get through planting seeds, making art for the walls, and constructing kites to be flown at the Delaney Park Strip. Check it out from 1-4 p.m. FREE.
Saturday is also a day for exploring Potter Marsh for Discovery Days at the beautiful state game refuge just off the Seward Highway in south Anchorage. From 11 a.m.-4 p.m. the whole family can enjoy interpretive information, crafts, visiting animals from Bird TLC and the Alaska Zoo, and tons of incredible guidance from Alaska Department of Fish and Game, Get Outdoors Anchorage, and many other partnering agencies and organizations. A wildly popular day! FREE.
More outside fun can be found at the Alaska Botanical Garden near the Tudor/Muldoon curve in east-ish Anchorage. ABG hosts this incredible weekend event each year, and each year the artwork, crafts, music, and kid-friendly activities are better and better. Open from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. on Sunday, there is enough beauty and fun to keep everybody amused. Hint: Park at Chugach Square and either take the free shuttle or walk the 1/4 mile to the entrance. Parking up top is for workers and vendors only. Admission fees vary.
SUNDAY: Two important events at Eagle River Nature Center are just right for introducing kids to the backcountry of Alaska, and for visiting families to feel secure about venturing into the forests of the 49th state. First, at 11 a.m. a guided Family-Friendly Hike will leave from the Visitor Center and travel along the easy Albert Loop trail. Suitable for all ages and the jog strollers, this hike is limited to 16 people, so call today, 907-694-2108. Bring a snack and plenty of water. FREE, $5 parking for non-members.
After the hike, stick around for the 2 p.m. presentation by ERNC Naturalists about Hiking and Camping in Bear Country. Learn about the biology and behavior of Alaska’s black and brown bears and how people can camp and hike safely in bear country. This will be a step beyond the information taught at the AKontheGO/CCSC class a few weeks ago, so do stop by if you want to know more about overnighting in the Alaskan wild. FREE, $5 parking for non-members.
ERNC also hosts daily nature walks down the Rodak Nature Trail, a 3/4 mile trip to learn about flora and fauna of the Eagle River/Alaska area. Sign up at the front desk of the Center, and enjoy a personal tour of a popular walk. FREE, $5 parking for non-members. June 1-August 31. 2-3 p.m. Great for visitors!
OTHER NEWS: There is an AIR FARE WAR on right now, as we mentioned yesterday on our Facebook page. Round-Trip fares from ANC-LAX as low as $234 on Alaska Airlines, and from ANC-Long Beach (LBG) for the same, $234, via jetBlue. Visit my cohort in travel news at his website Alaska Travelgram for the latest, and obviously greatest air fares so far this summer!!!
Have a super-festive weekend, and don’t forget, enter all events and activities on our events page by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org, or entering them yourself at the EVENTS tab up top.