Fun Friday: Rondy, Jr. Iditarod, and More!

Party on, kids, the weekend's here!

It’s an active weekend, AKontheGO’ers, with wintertime fun busting out all over. Beginning today, events center around a last hurrah to cold and dark, as the days begin to edge ever-closer to spring. We’re not quite there, not yet, but at least we can see signs of its impending arrival.

One such event is the annual Iditarod Sled Dog Race, starting next weekend in downtown Anchorage. The Alaska Travelgram Show went to the dogs this week with our guest, Erin McLarnon from Idit HQ, who gave us an inside scoop on the race and her perspective as a musher. If you enjoy dog mushing, you won’t want to miss the podcast, found HERE. We also posted the podcast on the brand new Alaska Travelgram Radio Show Facebook page, shined up and ready to further assist our vast pool of listeners with everything travel, all the time. Oh, and you can meet Riley, the Show’s Wonder Dawg, too. He’s sorta cute, we think.

Let the weekend commence! Thanks as always to our sponsors, Alaska Center for Pediatrics in Anchorage, caring for your kiddos and mine since 1982.

Chug, chug on downtown to the Rondy Carnival

FRIDAY: Fur Rendezvous, of course! This event has rocked Anchorage’s world since the 1930’s, and wohoo, do the organizers have some cool activities for the whole family. Fun starts today with the World Championship Sled Dog races on 4th Avenue and the general Anchorage area, perfect for getting the kids outside for a bit of fresh air. The fabulous Carnival kicks off tonight, too, down on 3rd Avenue (just above the Alaska Railroad Depot). Bundle up and try the ferris wheel view!

Rondy continues through next Sunday, and one can find the complete, unedited, and always interesting Schedule of Events right HERE. You might want to wander up to Hilltop Ski Area on Saturday for the Yukigassen snowball battle, or a mattress race, or to see some ski jumping. Hilltop is a new venue this year, and organizers hope it will become a destination for Rondy-goers in the future. Do consider the BP Shuttle, also, since parking downtown is a hassle, and the shuttle is warm and cozy and completely available for your transportation pleasure. Rondy events are suitable for all ages.

Dallas Seavey leaves the Iditarod start line. Seavey was a former Jr. Iditarod racer.

SATURDAY: Not just for adults, the Iditarod has its own Junior race, and that Jr. Iditarod starts Saturday morning at 10 a.m. on Knik Lake, Mile 13 of the Knik-Goose Bay Road. These kids, age 17 and younger, will race their dogs a total of 150 miles before finishing up at Willow Lake, and the winner receives the coveted honor of Bib #1 for the Iditarod Ceremonial Start on March 3. Now that’s an accomplishment every kid should see, and I highly encourage your family, if at all interested in mushing, to check out the Jr. Idit. These kids work incredibly hard, and are subsequently rewarded. Viewing suitable for all ages.

The Frostbite Footrace is tomorrow morning at 9 a.m. on 6th Avenue in downtown Anchorage. Fur Rondy’s kick-off event, Frostbite offers a 2.5k costumed fun run, and a 5k for all you real athletes. We’re going dressed as something very Alaskan, so you’ll want to hurry down and see if you can spot AK Fam in all their blue and gold glory. Want to run? It’ll cost you $30/adults, $15/kids, but your “donation” goes to support Rondy and all that is good about winter festivals in Alaska. What the heck, right? For all ages.

Tweens and Teens might enjoy the awesomeness of the All-City Sledding Competition Saturday night from 6:30-9 p.m. at Kincaid Park. Two-person sleds, made only with duct tape and cardboard, will try their best to make it down the hill without upending the occupants. Prizes, music, and lots of fun. Call 382-1972 for info. For kids in middle and high school.

Eagle River Nature Center teaches kids K-6 all about Flying Squirrels on Saturday from 2-4 p.m. ERNC is a great place to mold your Junior Naturalists, with great instructors and staff who are wonderful ambassadors for our natural world. Free, $5 parking for non-members.

Winter means all sorts of fun near Denali National Park

SATURDAY/SUNDAY: Denali National Park’s Winterfest celebration is here! A wonderful party atmosphere in the communities of McKinley Park and Denali NP, this party is an undiscovered whirlwind of outdoor activity for all ages. Take a snowshoe hike, ride a dogsled, hear some music, and, most important, learn about the beautiful world of Denali during the winter months. Call 683-9531 for info, or visit DNP’s website HERE. 9 a.m.-4 p.m., both Sat/Sun. Suitable for all ages. Most activities free.

Our friends in Fairbanks tell us Ice Alaska and the World Ice Art Championships are ready for the 2012 event! Haven’t been, yet? Oh my, find a deal on Alaska Airlines or through the Alaska Railroad (hey, the Alaska TourSaver has a great 2-for-1 deal on a trip to Fairbanks, btw, along with a Pike’s Lodge deal) and get yourselves up to the Golden Heart City for a fantastic weekend of incredible ice. A children’s park, sculpture contests, skating, ice-slides, and an atmosphere of community, right there. Heads Up: DO dress the kids in their best winter gear. Add face warmers, hand warmers, and extra long underwear. Plan on drinking hot cocoa and bring a few blankets for stroller-bound kids. It’s cold, cold, cold. DO go at night to see the sculptures all lit up; it’s really something.

Ice slides gleam at night at Ice Alaska. Photo courtesy of Ice Alaska

Welcome to a frosty, fun, 49th-state family weekend!


Posted in Alaskan Winter Fun, Festivals and Events, Miscellaneous and tagged , , , .