By KAT SORENSEN
This year’s fall weather is bringing with it a selection of festivals celebrating the season.
The autumnal events kick off with the 2018 Harvest Art Auction at the Kenai Fine Arts Center on Sept. 29 at 6 p.m. The annual event hosted by the Peninsula Art Guild brings together artists from across the peninsula in a silent auction. The artwork up for bid has been on display at the Arts Center since the beginning of the month, with bidding going until the day of the auction.
Tickets for the events are $30 and include appetizers and a dessert buffet, music and door prizes in addition to the auction. They can be bought at the Kenai Fine Arts Center, Wednesday through Saturday from 12 to 5 p.m.
On Saturday Oct. 6, the Kenai Wildlife Refuge is hosting a Termination Dust Celebration marking the grand opening of the Marsh Lake Trail on Skilak Lake Road at mile 16.6 with a day of fun, family events.
Starting at the trailhead at noon, the Kenai Wildlife Refuge will cut the ribbon on the new, 6-mile roundtrip trail. At about 12:30 p.m., a guided hike will bring visitors on an exploration of the new trail. There is also a shorter version of the hike, 1 mile in length, that will return on a new loop created this fall.
“All are welcome to participate in this guided walk,” according to a news release from the Refuge. “Please wear warm layers and comfortable shoes, bring water and leave pets at home.”
The Refuge also invites guests to pick up a Termination Dust Celebration passport, which will lead them on a self-guided GPS scavenger hunt between Marsh Lake Trail and Hidden Lake Campground.
“Participants will explore favorite highlights of the Skilak Lake Road area before stopping in at Upper Skilak Campground for Bear Aware Carnival Games from 2 to 4 p.m.,” the release states.
Also at the campground, rangers will host a 3D archery shoot called “Take Aim at Invasives” from 3 to 5 p.m. All bows and arrows will be supplied, as well as instructions to go through the course. The archery course is open to all experience levels but the Refuge recommends ages 5 and up. Call the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center at 907-260-2820 to preregister for an archery slot.
Also on Oct. 6, the Soldotna Public Library Friends are hosting the Harvest Faire at the Soldotna Library from 1 to 4 p.m.
The fair will games, face painting, balloons and songs to the library as well as an art and used book sale. The book baskets will be on display in the library the week before the fair and on sale the day of.
The following Saturday, Oct. 13, Kenai will be hosting their third annual Fall Pumpkin Festival at Millenium Square, between the Frontage Road and Spur View Drive. From 1 to 3 p.m., everyone is invited to celebrate with food vendors, a petting zoo, hay rides, hot cider, live music, scarecrows, face painting and rock painting.
The Great Pumpkin Giveaway will continue this year, inviting children ages 3 to 12 to find their perfect pumpkin among the pumpkin patch. Free tickets are required for the pumpkin rush game and can be picked up at the festival’s information booth.
At the end of the month, the Soldotna Library will continue their fall celebrations with a Halloween party from 4 to 5 p.m. on Oct. 25. Visitors are encouraged to wear costumes to the event, which includes a story time, activity pages and a cupcake walk.