Alaska State Fair
Don’t miss Alaska’s biggest summertime event, a 12-day party to bring down the curtain on summer that draws 300,000 visitors annually. The Alaska State Fair (907/745-4827 or 800/850-3247, www.alaskastatefair.org) cranks up the fourth Thursday of August and continues through Labor Day.
On a weekend it may seem as though half of Anchorage has driven up to the fair. Long lines of cars wait to turn into the open field parking lots around the grounds, and crowds throng the 4-H displays, livestock auctions, horse shows, and carnival rides.
There’s live music daily, a rodeo, a demolition derby, three nights of fireworks, and lots of food and craft booths. Favorites always include the roasted corn on the cob, sickly sweet elephant ears, supersized turkey legs, and finger-lickin’ halibut tacos.
One big attraction is the gargantuan vegetables, including 125-pound pumpkins, 10-pound onions, and 2-pound radishes. The cabbage weigh-off makes front-page news in Alaska each year; a world record was set in 2009 when a Wasilla man grew a 127-pound cabbage. Entrance is $10–12 adults, $6–7 seniors and youths, and free for kids under age 5.
The Alaska Railroad (907/265-2494 or 800/544-0552, www.alaskarailroad.com) has direct train service from Anchorage to the fairgrounds during the Alaska State Fair; it’s a great way to avoid the traffic jams and parking hassles. The round-trip prices—including entrance to the fairgrounds—are just $54 adults, $47 seniors, $27 ages 6–12, $22 ages 2–5, and free for younger children.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition