Monthly musings: July

Enjoy the full blooming of fireweed while basking in the midnight sun.

Let the dog days of summer begin.

The month of July has one major holiday, that being Independence Day. The Declaration of Independence , was approved on July 4, 1776. Five men made up the committee-Benjamin Franklin, John Adams, Roger Sherman, Robert Livingston and Thomas Jefferson- to draft the document; Jefferson was credited as the main author. The Declaration was actually signed by fifty-six men from the thirteen colonies on August 2,1776.

July 4th in Kenai, Alaska is the Independence Day parade. There is a variety of vendors and artists and a special guest, Dave Thompson, who will recite patriotic poems.

July 4th in Seward, Alaska is the Annual Mount Marathon Race, this is about 3.1 miles with an elevation of 3,022 feet. It is said that the Mount Marathon is the toughest 5K on the planet. Slope steepness averages 34 degrees. First time contestants have to run the race in its completion before the actual race, as well as, attend the safety meeting. The requirements are previous running experience, be physically fit and be prepared to get down the mountain even if injured. The wearing of helmets, gloves, goggles, knee and elbow pads are highly recommended.

July 2nd thru the 4th in Petersburg, Alaska is the start of the 4th of July celebration. On the 2nd it’s kicked off with a community BBQ, then running games and fireworks at the ball fields, as well as, games at the harbors. The theme of this year’s parade is,” Independence Day, the Petersburg Way”.

July 4th in Talkeetna, Alaska is the Moose on Parade, this is in the spirit of Wild Salmon on Parade in Anchorage and Cows on Parade in Chicago. The Chamber of Commerce, Denali Arts Council, Historical Society and local business and artists decorate four foot high to life-size Moose on the Loose, which are placed throughout the community, then put in the parade and auctioned off to the highest bidder.

July 11th thru 15th in Eagle River, Alaska is the Bear Paw Festival, 2018 marks the 33rd annual event. This is the perfect place to take your family, there’s’ a carnival, and vendors of all kinds from food, shopping and live entertainment. This years’ theme is high flying, “The Adventures of Amelia Bearheart”. Enjoy the Slippery Salmon Olympics, the Running of the Bears, a 300 yard fun run, participants are costumed animal mascots, Teddy Bear Picnic, classic car show, parade, carnival rides and a I-Did-A-Duck Race, which is a rubber duck/boat race.

July 15th thru the 29th in Fairbanks, Alaska is the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival (FSAF). Enjoy the various classes offered, such as, music, dance, and theatre along with visual, literary, culinary and healing arts. Artists from beginners to advanced register in the thousands to get in touch with their true selves. Guest artists come from around the globe to educate Alaskans in new artistic techniques and spread knowledge to instructors. If a person wants to overcome stage fright, play the spoons, be part of a drum circle or bring singing to the next level, this festival is for you. At Chena Hot Springs, the visual arts are offered, such as, graphic design, break dancing and salsa/swing. There are mini workshops, dozens of concerts and professional composers can focus on sounds in nature for eight days in the Denali wilderness. This event has something for everyone’s interest.

July 21st is the second annual Denali Music Festival, again a lot of fun is to be had by music enthusiasts.

July 18th thru the 22nd in Fairbanks, Alaska is the Golden Days celebration. This 5-day festival began in 1952 in remembrance of Gold Rush days and the mining tradition. Felix Pedro, an Italian immigrant originally started this rush in 1902. This includes costume contests, Alaskas’ largest parade, foot races, and BBQ cook0off and a rededication of the Feliz Pedro monument, which Fairbanks was awarded as a gift from the Italian government. One of the biggest events in Fairbanks is the Rubber Duckie Race, this is when 8,000 rubber ducks are dropped in the Chena River, the race is ¼ mile downstream to the Cushman Bridge.

July 26th thru the 29th in Haines, Alaska is the 50th Annual Southeast Alaska State Fair. There will be the fisherman’s rodeo, livestock and agricultural exhibits, arts and crafts with quilts, bands, fiddle contest, parade and a children’s carnival. What’s on the menu, well fresh king salmon, of course.

July 28th and 29th in Soldotna, Alaska is the 61st annual Soldotna Progress Days; this is a celebration of the Soldotna community. This includes a parade, rodeo, (LIVE) music, food, crafts, misc. vendors, family activities and a free community picnic.

Now here’s some July trivia: July 2, 1913 from Weeks Field in Fairbanks, Alaska the first airplane flight occurred.

July 4, 1892 the nucleus of all Alaska reindeer herds arrived at Teller from Siberia.

July 7, 1958, Alaska Statehood Act was signed by President Eisenhower.

July 8, 1898, Soapy Smith got shot by Frank Reid in Skagway. Jefferson Randolph Smith II, was his original Christian name; he lived in Skagway, Alaska. He was a con artist and gangster in the Old West. He’s known for his scam in the soap racket; this is how he got the nickname “Soapy.” Frank Reid was a disgruntled engineer who was unhappy with Soapy’s shady and scandalous dealing with the miners such as phony telegraphing.

July 8, 1923, the dedication of Mount McKinley National Park was held.

July 9, 1927, Seward, Alaska flew the Alaska flag for the first time.

July 15, 1923, a golden spike marking the completion of the Alaska Railroad in Nenana was driven by President Harding.

July 16, 1741, Alaska was reached by explorer Vitus Bering.

July 21, 1982, the first solo woman, by the name of Dr. Miri Ercolani, ascended Denali.

July 23, 1957, there was an oil strike in Kenai, Alaska.

July 27, 1977, Prudoe Bay oil reached Valdez via trans-Alaska pipeline for the first time.

July 29, 1900, White Pass and Yukon Route had the last rail laid.

In Alaska there’s always something to do, fishing, kayaking, bear watching, hiking, camping, take the fjords trip, and train ride out of Whittier. Come join the fun, but be safe.

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