Making the longest day count

Community organizations to raise money to fight Alzheimer’s

From left, Theresa Peterson, Jan Mabrey and Zoey Polacek smile for the camera during the 2018 Longest Day Golf Tournament at the Bird Homestead Golf Course in Soldotna on June 16, 2018. (Photo courtesy Cindy Harris)

From left, Theresa Peterson, Jan Mabrey and Zoey Polacek smile for the camera during the 2018 Longest Day Golf Tournament at the Bird Homestead Golf Course in Soldotna on June 16, 2018. (Photo courtesy Cindy Harris)

The summer solstice — which will provide a staggering 19 hours of daylight in Kenai this year — has become a day when people from around the world gather to raise awareness and funds in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. The Alzheimer’s Association works to organize events of all kinds for the Longest Day, and the peninsula will be host to several different events this year.

On Friday, Charis Place in Kenai and Heritage Place in Soldotna will both be hosting Longest Day events. Charis Place will have an open house from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. with cookies, refreshments and a number of educational booths about the effects of Alzheimer’s and what people can do to fight it.

“Once we educate and learn about something, it’s not so scary anymore,” Christine Smith, activity director for Charis Place, said.

2019 Alzheimer’s Association Advocate of the Year Cindy Harris will also be at Charis Place to share her story of how she got involved in the fight against the disease and to teach people how they can be a part of finding a cure. Harris helped start the first Longest Day event in Alaska in 2015, which originally just consisted of a band and a booth at Soldotna Creek Park.

Heritage Place, a continuing care living facility, will be holding its third Walk ‘n’ Roll event to show support for the Alzheimer’s Association. Starting at 5 p.m., anyone interested can meet at Heritage Place in Soldotna to walk in solidarity down to the Kenai Spur Highway and back while holding signs, wearing purple shirts and connecting with the residents.

“It’s a great opportunity to connect the dots from our little word inside the walls of Heritage Place to the rest of the community,” Aud Walaszek, activities coordinator for Heritage Place, said.

After returning to Heritage Place, Walk ‘n’ Roll participants will be treated to cake and refreshments. People will also have a chance to donate to the Change for Memory Jar, with all proceeds going to the Alzheimer’s Association.

For the fourth year in a row, Harris and fellow advocate Karen Burger will be hosting the Longest Day Golf Tournament at the Bird Homestead Golf Course. The summer solstice is on Friday, but the golf tournament will take place that Sunday.

The tournament kicks off at 1:30 p.m. with lunch for the golfers and a shotgun start, where all participating groups will tee off simultaneously from different holes. The Arby’s in Kenai has sponsored a $25,000 prize for anyone lucky enough to get a hole-in-one on hole 8 of the course. On hole 6 golfers will have a chance to win two round-trip domestic airline tickets courtesy of U.S. Hole in One. There will also be a dice roll contest sponsored by Holy Cakes and A&K Shirt Junkies, where four participants will have a chance to roll dice and spell out the word “cash” to win $2,500.

After the tournament will be a dinner, a silent auction and live music from local musicians Troubadour North. The after-tournament festivities have a $15 ticket price and are open to anyone, regardless of golfing ability. Those interested in sponsoring a hole or a team or participating in the tournament can contact Karen Burger at 907-398-2605.

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