For an extensive event listing, with something almost every day of the year, check www.anchorage.net.
The Anchorage Folk Festival (tel. 907/566-2334; www.anchoragefolkfestival.org), from January 19 through 29, 2006, imports musicians and shows off local talent in free concerts, workshops, and jam sessions, as well as four dances that raise money for the festival. They have other events through the year, including an August fiddle camp and a Novemberfest; check the website.
The Fur Rendezvous Winter Festival (tel. 907/274-1177; www.furrondy.net; Feb 17-Mar 5, 2006) is the city's big winter celebration, with many community events, a parade, fireworks, a carnival, craft fairs, snowshoe softball, dog sled rides, and other fun. The Rondy's traditional centerpiece is the World Champion Sled Dog Race, a 3-day sprint event of about 25 miles per heat. In addition, the last weekend of the festival coincides with the start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race (tel. 907/376-5155; www.iditarod.com). The Iditarod usually begins from Anchorage the first Saturday in March (in 2006, March 4) and then proceeds in trucks to the re-start the next day in Wasilla for the 1,000-mile run to Nome.
The Native Youth Olympics (tel. 907/297-1772), held in late April at the Sullivan Arena, is a tough competition in traditional Alaska Native sports such as the seal hop (done on the knuckles) and the spectacular high kick, which can reach more than 9 feet off the floor.
The Saturday Market and Sunday Market are big street fairs and farmer's markets held every weekend from mid-May through mid-September at 3rd Avenue and E Street (tel. 907/272-5634; www.anchoragemarkets.com).
The stocked salmon runs in Ship Creek, which runs right through downtown Anchorage, produce one of the town's most popular summer activities. The Slam'n Salm'n Derbies (tel. 907/646-4877) add the possibility of winning money and prizes for fishing. In 2006 the derby for kings is June 3 to 11, and another for silvers is August 4 to 13. One-day tickets are $10 and benefit charitable causes; they are available at the bait shack on the creek.
The Blues on the Green music festival, the second Saturday in June, takes place under the sky in the natural amphitheater at Kincaid Park. It is an all-day, all-evening blues concert. Headliners in the past have included Taj Mahal, Bo Diddley, and Buddy Guy. Tickets are sold through tickets.com or at Carrs grocery stores.
The Alaska State Fair (tel. 907/745-4827; www.alaskastatefair.org), which culminates a 12-day run on Labor Day each year, is the biggest event in the area. It takes place in Palmer, 40 miles north of Anchorage on the Glenn Highway. In most ways, it's a typical state fair, with rides, booths, exhibits, contests, fireworks, and live music. Not typical are the vegetables. The good soil and long days in the Matanuska Valley around Palmer boost their growth to massive size, the stuff of childhood nightmares. Cabbages are the size of bean-bag chairs. A mere beach-ball-size cabbage would be laughed off the stage. And it's not just the 100-pound cabbages. Imagine a 19-pound carrot, 35-pound broccoli, 42-pound beet, or 75-pound rutabaga (all world records from the fair, among others). The flower gardens are amazing too, although not in the same way.
The Carrs/Safeway Great Alaska Shootout basketball tournament (tel. 907/786-1250; www.goseawolves.com/shootout), hosted by the University of Alaska Anchorage, brings top-ranked college men's and women's teams to the Sullivan Arena over Thanksgiving weekend and the preceding week.
For more on what to see and do in Anchorage, visit our complete guide online at www.frommers.com/destinations/anchorage/.
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