Whether you are hoping to get out of town for Independence Day or you want to stay close to home, there are a lot of activities in South Central Alaska on the 4th of July weekend. If you are feeling social, there is no excuse to stay inside!
On Saturday, July 2nd in Anchorage, the Polynesian Association of Alaska will be sponsoring a free event in the form of the Polynesian Cultural Flag Day from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Delaney Park Strip. Attendees can enjoy entertainment by various Polynesian groups and singing in Polynesian languages and cultural games. Bring some cash to try different foods which will be sold by food vendors.
If being in Anchorage is your goal for Independence Day, you can start your day out right with a Pancake Breakfast at the Delaney Park Strip, sponsored by Totem Ocean Trailer Express and benefitting the Salvations Army. Follow this up with the parade. Events will be happening from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Please note that the Anchorage People Mover does not operate on Independence Day.) A whole range of events are happening, so you can spend a few hours to the whole day enjoying what has been planned!
If you live in Eagle River or simply enjoy the beautiful drive to get there, get there and enjoy their celebrations. For an informative talk at the Eagle River Nature Center on Invasive Weed Control, be there at 2 p.m. for a talk and hang around to pull invasive weeds at 3. If you don’t want to worry about weeds but want to get out and have some fun, pack up a lunch and take the kids out to the Eagle River Nature Center, anyway! Many of their trails are stroller accessible and kids of all ages enjoy the walk.
On Sunday the third, the official Eagle River Independence Day Celebrations begin at 6:30 with entertainers from the community, sky divers, games and concessions and winds down with fireworks at midnight. At 2 p.m. no matter the weather, a parade begins at Latimer Station on the Old Glenn in Chugiak.
Do you want to get out and see a bit of Alaska within easy, picturesque driving distance of A-town? Join the friendly folks, locals and tourists alike, for the Girdwood Forest Fair out in Girdwood (at the base of Mt. Alyeska) from July 1-3. While there, watch the parade and see the work of artists and crafters from all over Alaska and taste exotic food and watch performers.
After you have enjoyed Girdwood’s Forest Fair, plan several hours to get over to Seward to watch the 84th Mt. Marathon Race. While first run as a bet in 1908, it was officially organized in 1915 and is believed to be the second oldest foot race in North America. The race is limited to 350 men, 350 women, and 200 juniors. The race, which is "a mile and a half up, a mile and a half down," is enjoyed by many Alaskans and many runners from out of state who come up for the run.
If your destination is Mat-Su, go to Wasilla for the parade at 11 a.m. and watch the parade along Main Street. Bring bags for the candy that is given by many of the marchers, and stay for the celebration picnic near the Wasilla Wonderland Park.
Are you hoping to see less concrete but still want some planned fun? Join the sight seers of the rugged beauty of Hatcher Pass. At Independence Mine, members from the Alaska Miners Association will be speaking about gold mining, with opportunities for visitors to pan for gold at stations around the gold mining camp. Tours of some of the restored buildings will be at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m., with a cost of $6 for adults and free for kids. Call 355-7512 or 745-8907 for directions and questions.
Don't forget to plan for plenty of breaks if you have little kids. They can get worn out even when a fun event is happening, so be sure that if they get fussy to take a breather-- pick dandelions or pause and look at something on their level. Remember that you are not just looking for something to do over the holiday, you are making memories, and it's about having fun for everyone.