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You’d be surprised at the variety of festivals Alaska has to offer. These are just a few we thought you’d be interested in checking out…
Anchorage July 4th Festival: Celebrate America’s birthday on July 4th in true Alaska style. This old-fashioned, patriotic celebration is complete with family-oriented events such as the pancake breakfast, downtown parade, picnic and other activities. Anchorage’s Delaney Park Strip is host to the annual Anchorage July 4th Celebration; rise and shine and hit the pancake breakfast, at 8 a.m. Then head from pancakes to procession; the Anchorage 4th of July Parade begins at 11 a.m. with a festival following. The event is open from noon to 6 p.m. and includes music, games, vendors and food. The Harvard Club reads the Declaration of Independence at 1 p.m. Enjoy period costumes from the Revolution. If you’re hungry, grab a bite to eat before the annual fireworks show. Anchorage dining includes some of the freshest seafood in the world, which Alaska chefs offer up in a variety of mouth-watering creations in Anchorage restaurants. The annual Alaska Baseball League doubleheader between crosstown rivals the Anchorage Glacier Pilots and the Anchorage Bucs takes place at Mulcahy Stadium, with the games starting at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. Fireworks put an exclamation point on the conclusion of the second game. The best spot to see the fireworks is right near the action. Grab a blanket or folding chair and stake out a place on Kosinski Fields next to Mulcahy Stadium.
Eagle River Bear Paw Festival: The Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce presents the annual Bear Paw Festival. The festival runs July 10-14, 2019. The whole town turns out for a weekend filled with fun for all ages. Sometimes unexpected but always a good time, events run the gamut. The Slippery Salmon Olympics are perhaps the best-known event. Teams of two race against the clock and each other with a real salmon as the critical item to take along while tackling all the obstacles. The Running of the Bears, a 300-yard fun run, races alongside costumed animal mascots from many local businesses and community organizations. Human foosball takes the popular rec room game and replaces the plastic men with real life players. Other popular events include the Teddy Bear Picnic, a classic car show, parade, carnival rides, and the I-Did-A-Duck Race, a rubber duck regatta.
Copper River Wild! Salmon Festival: The Taste of Cordova, arts and crafts, music and children’s activities are offered. Such running races as the Alaska Salmon Runs, the King Salmon Marathon, the Coho 10K and the Humpy 5K also are featured. July 14, 2019
Downtown Summer Solstice Festival: Each June, Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Ltd. hosts the annual Downtown Summer Solstice Festival. Usually falling on the weekend of the summer solstice, this festival is guaranteed fun for all ages! It’s FREE to attend and is a great opportunity to have some fun in the sun with family and friends. Come and enjoy live music, food trucks and vendors, a basketball tournament, chalk art gallery, petting zoo, bouncy houses, hip hop dance performance, DJs, the Hero Games, and a couple beer gardens, all scattered throughout one big downtown party!
The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival is broadening its reach into more trad music with a first week of an American Roots Series and more. There is quite a diversity of music and arts at this event. The Summer Arts Festival will be held on July 14-28, 2019. It’ll feature 200 workshops and more than 100 events. There will be music, dance, visual arts, healing arts, culinary arts, creative writing, theatre, and much more.
Other Festivals Include:
Alaska State Fair is a 4-star event that is held in Palmer Alaska during the last part of Aug. and the first week in Sept.
By the Sea Art and Seafood Festival in Coffman in mid- August.
Eagle River Nature Center Seymour Challenge: held in May where you get the freshest seafood done in the Alaskan way.
PLACE OF INTEREST
Arctic Circle Day Trip from Fairbanks: Bundle up and embark on this small-group tour from Fairbanks — limited to just eight people — that takes you to the Arctic Circle, 200 miles away. Earth’s northernmost circle of latitude, where the sky is completely dark or light all day. Aboard a climate-controlled van, cruise along the Dalton Highway, cross the Yukon River and then enjoy lunch in the arctic landscape. Listen to informative commentary from your guide and enjoy beverages and snacks during the drive. When you traverse the Yukon River, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife. You’ll also set eyes on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline System (TAPS), one of the world’s largest pipeline systems that carries oil hundreds of miles across Alaska. Arrive at the Arctic Circle, where most of the region is always blanketed with ice. Hear more about this major circle of latitude that is one of five making up the map of Earth. The sun never rises here in the winter, and in the summer, sunlight around the clock melts the icy waters. Spend about an hour at the Arctic Circle. Take memorable shots of this special place and settle in for lunch in this remote landscape. Your guide provides facts about the local geology, as well as the indigenous Eskimo culture with roots in the region for thousands of years. With an official Arctic Circle certificate and plenty of photos as souvenirs of this unique day, board your van for transport back to Fairbanks.
Northern Lights and Chena Hot Springs Tour from Fairbanks: Pair aurora borealis with spa treatments and you will have a northern lights experience like no other. This night trip from Fairbanks takes you to Chena Hot Springs Resort for an exciting but relaxing array of activities. Discover eye-popping sculptures at the on-site Aurora Ice Museum, and then unwind in the resort’s legendary mineral water baths. When the conditions are right, a guide takes your small group to the best locations to watch for the ethereal northern lights, with warm beverages in hand. First, tour of the one of most unique museums you’ll ever visit, the Aurora Ice Museum, constructed out of over 1,000 tons of ice and snow. Marvel at ice sculptures by world-renowned carvers Steve and Heather Brice, whose work includes life-size jousters on horses and a two-level tower with a circular staircase. Fancy a drink? Head over to the museum’s bar, settle in on a caribou fur–covered stool and purchase a cocktail poured into a martini glass carved out of ice. For food, check out the offerings at the Aurora Café or the Chena Hot Springs Resort Restaurant.
Or, put on your bathing suit and work on loosening those knots in your back. Slip into the resort’s hot springs, which swirl with lake water averaging 106 degrees Fahrenheit all year. Escape to an outdoor hot tub and unwind under the stars. A heated indoor pool is also available.Then, dress warmly and meet your guide for a small-group outing to watch for the northern lights. You’ll be taken to prime viewing locations at Chena Hot Springs, a great spot to witness the green and purple ribbons of light dazzling the sky. If you prefer to be indoors, you can see the action from inside the Aurora Café. Either way, you’ll be holding a warm drink as you gaze at the celestial wonder. Afterward, enjoy transport back to your hotel, with a commemorative certificate of your viewing experience at Chena Hot Springs Resort.
Fairbanks City Highlight Tour: Get to know Fairbanks, called the ‘Golden Heart City,’ on this 5-hour sightseeing tour. Visit the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center for an intro into the city’s history and culture, and admire the architecture at the University of Alaska’s Museum of the North. Feast your eyes on the Trans-Alaska Pipeline, the world’s largest pipeline, and wrap up your day at the Santa Claus House in the North Pole. Hotel transport included.
Running Reindeer Ranch: You learned so much about reindeer, and the tour is not only fun, but highly educational! These reindeer were so emotional, complex and interesting! Someone greets you in the parking lot waiting to show you where to park. Then we waited for the rest of the group for our tour, and petted the reindeer while waiting. The guides were SO helpful and reassured us on proper reindeer etiquette! You can be reassured that we would stop midway through the tour for a photo op to make sure that everyone had a chance to get some reindeer photos! They even had one specific reindeer designated as the “photo op reindeer”, and she (Buttercup) is lovely! The landscape was also spectacular and was a true winter wonderland! The aspen trees were SO gorgeous in the winter!
There are flights from Tampa, so Fairbanks is easy to get to and TravelKatz will put together a unique vacation that will long be remembered. Just give us a call at 352-277-7300.
Alaska State Capital: Juneau
Harrisburg. That was Juneau‘s name before Richard Harris fell out of favor with the locals, who turned their allegiance to his co-founder, Joe Juneau. In 1880, prospectors Harris and Juneau relied on a local Indian chief to guide them to the mouth of Gold Creek, where they discovered gold. The state’s first major gold strike was broadcast (starting the Alaska Gold Rush), and the timeline for modern Juneau history began. That was in the 1800’s!
A first rush of about 40 miners brought trading posts, saloons and missionaries. Within a year, the tent camp became a small town and was the first one founded here after Alaska’s purchase from Russia.
Today, Juneau is a thriving city offering a great blend of city amenities and small-town hospitality, all in the heart of Alaska’s majestic mountains, rivers, glaciers, and forests. Nearly 32,000 people call Juneau home – many of them working in government, tourism, mining, and fishing, and all of them instilled with a deep love for this place. Such a mix of personalities makes Juneau unique. There is no better way to see the city sights and the surrounding areas than by plane or helicopter.
From National Geographic to the New York Times, everyone’s talking about Juneau. Between food trucks, art walks, open mic nights and beyond, the streets of Alaska’s capitol city are humming with activity. Find your next running challenge with one of our many summer races or get out and walk the hills with the locals on a berry walk. In the winter months, watch as fireworks light up the sky at Eaglecrest Ski Area or prepare to be dazzled by a swirl of costumes at Wearable Arts. No matter the season, Juneau is your Alaskan event.
Juneau’s “off season” – October through April – may be a sleepy time for the local bears, but we’re wide awake! Not ones to hibernate, and with hefty amounts of snow to enjoy, we love spending quality time in the mountains surrounding Juneau. Our breathtaking winter landscape is the backdrop for adventure, and we invite you to join in! Just a quick two-hour flight from Seattle lands you in the middle of some of the best skiing and snowboarding in the Northwest.
For the winter/snow enthusiasts…downhill, snowboarding, and heli-skiing options will test the mettle of the most experienced powder buffs. Cross-country ski in picturesque mountain meadows or skate ski on the lake in front of the majestic Mendenhall Glacier. Now that’s something you don’t do every day!
Most often time visited is May thru September.
However, if you want to go home with a cool story, be in Juneau on the longest day of the year, June 21, for the Midnight Sun. There are 18 hours and 18 minutes of daylight that day, and the sun never really “sets” — it just dips below the horizon, where its glow keeps illuminating the sky until it reappears the next morning just a few hours later. In the fall, we experience a rapid decrease in light. The shortest day, December 21, has just 6 hours and 21 minutes of daylight.
Glacier Sightseeing & Activities – Join us on hikes along Mendenhall Glacier, Juneau’s #1 choice for full-day cruises to Tracy Arm & Sawyer Glacier, View the majestic Glaciers by Helicopter, Floatplane, or Bus!
Wildlife Viewing – Bears, Whales, and Fishing, waterfalls, seals, & eagles
Outdoor Adventures & Activities – The USDA Forest Service Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center is in the Mendenhall Valley, 12 miles from downtown Juneau. Visitors may reach the visitor center by city bus, taxi, tour bus or rental car. The city bus drops visitors a mile and a half from the visitor center.
The Mendenhall Glacier Visitor Center provides a high-quality recreation experience with emphasis on glacial phenomena, ecosystems and protection of fish and wildlife. Staff at the visitor center are available to answer questions about the area. There is a $5 entrance fee for 16 & over
Sportfishing – fly fishing, salmon, & halibut among other types
Attractions & Tours – historic city/museum and gold panning, along with city sightseeing, Glacier Gardens Botanical Gardens Rainforest Adventure began as a stream restoration project and soon became a unique botanical garden.
Restaurants – The Gold Creek Salmon Bake is an event that’s been grilled to perfection for more than 30 years. Savor an all-you-can-eat adventure, in a unique outdoor environment you’ll find nowhere else. Arrive at a beautiful setting, in lush rain forest alongside a creek, under translucent domes that protect you from the elements, rain or shine. Savor the aroma of wild salmon, grilling slowly over fires of fragrant alder wood. And settle in for a feast for all your senses! The sumptuous spread has something for everyone. Pubs, breakfast bars, Thai cuisine, bake shoppes, etc.
Shopping – Fine Crafts from the locals, knife shops, fudge shops, salmon stores, leather and fur goods. Shipping them home would be suggested, especially the knives.
Flying to Juneau is as easy and affordable as flying to any popular vacation destination. Believe it or not, it’s only about two hours nonstop from Seattle.
Humpbacks breaching, Orcas jumping, porpoises playing, glaciers sliding down mountainsides to meet a never-ending coastline — these and other sights await the ocean-going voyager to Juneau.
Cruising is by far the most popular way to explore the Inside Passage — and for good reason (be sure to free-up plenty of space on your camera). With cruise ships docking right downtown, Juneau is a natural port of call for large and small lines alike. Large cruises offer entertainment, extensive dining options, and shopping; small cruise companies focus more on a more “boutique” wilderness experience. Either way, if you’re taking an Alaskan cruise, your itinerary will probably include Juneau.
Where to stay: Bed & Breakfast, major hotels, quaint owner motels downtown.
ALASKA VACATION PACKAGE MADE EASY
Another option for our Alaska Vacation Package is the Natural Wonder. See our selection of choice below to see if it fancies your style. Please don’t hesitate in contacting us with any questions or concerns.
ALASKA Natural Wonder: The Northern Lights
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