Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Holiday events: Reasons to get off sofa


The weather outside may be frightful, but there’s a slate of happenings to get one out of the house during the holidays.

On Saturday, Dec. 22, the Haines Sportsman’s Association will hold its annual Christmas Turkey Shoot. The trap shoot is open to all comers and loaner shotguns are available, said Shane Horton. There are winners in every round and prizes for adults and youths.

The shoot is held at the Sportsman’s Range just past the Mount Riley trailhead on Mud Bay Road. “We try to hold a turkey shoot every Thanksgiving and Christmas, except for when we can’t get up there (due to snow).”

Also on Saturday, a “Last-Minute Shopper’s Bazaar” will be held 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Haines ANB Hall. Organizer Mark Cozzi said the event is about five years old and has a regular clientele of procrastinators. Vendors will include residents selling homemade chocolates, beads, leatherwork, and subsistence foraging-related products.

“Our numbers aren’t as big as the other bazaars, but we all make a few extra dollars just before (Christmas), so that’s good,” Cozzi said. Jazz singer Julie Cozzi will perform at 1:30 p.m. and Santa may make a showing, Cozzi said.

The annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count will be held Saturday, an all-day event aimed at recording the valley’s birdlife. Participants watch for species and numbers of birds around town and up the highway, and numbers are included in a national data bank.

Stop by Backcountry Outfitter at Second Avenue and Willard Street to sign up for an area. “You take your binoculars and your bird book and see what you can find,” said organizer Mario Benassi.

Participants can spend as much time looking as they like, but spotters need to register where they’ll be working to avoid duplication, Benassi said. Bird lists are available at registration, he said.

Benassi, who is working the area from Mosquito Lake to 19 Mile Haines Highway, said he’ll be particularly watchful for goshawks, as he suspects juvenile numbers here might be dropping. “Five nests I know of have failed this year,” he said.

Typically held just after Christmas, the Haines High School Alumni basketball games pit graduates against current varsity players or against each other. The games give fans a chance to see how their favorite high school players stand up against the test of time. Girls play alumni women at 6:30 p.m. Friday, Jan.4 the Karl Ward Gymnasium.

On New Year’s Eve, public radio station KHNS will be holding a masquerade ball, a formal event that will feature three bands and transform the Chilkat Center stage into an “enchanting ballroom,” said station development director Leslie Ross.

“One rarely gets a chance in Haines or Skagway to put on a tux, cocktail dress or go all out for a full-length ball gown,” Ross said. 

As formal wear can be hard to find here, a pre-party function will sell masks and offer some donated gowns from Juneau shops, Ross said. “We really encourage folks to do it up. If you are not a big one on dressing up, don’t be scared. There will be party favors for all.”

A $25 ticket price includes party favors, light appetizers and three bands. There is a cash bar and no one under 21 will be admitted. Advance tickets are $20.

Revelers needing to be reinvigorated are welcome at the 8th annual Polar Bear Dip, the New Year’s Day plunge into Lynn Canal from the beach near the Port Chilkoot Dock.

Dippers are encouraged to wear sandals or old tennis shoes and to bring plenty of warm clothes for donning afterwards. Their courage is rewarded by cookies, hot chocolate and a Polar Bear Club membership card.

A trumpet blast to send off dippers will sound at 11:30 a.m.

Residents hoping to make good on New Year’s resolutions may want to check out the “Well & Fit Community Challenge,” starting a new semester, 6 p.m. Jan. 3 at the Haines School library.

The 12-week program is aimed at improving personal goals toward healthy activities, nutrition, and personal growth. A person whose goal is to climb Mount Ripinsky might start by walking a few miles every week, said Kathy Friedle, women’s health project assistant for SEARHC.

“The program helps get people working on their goals. We’re hoping some new folks join,” she said. The program is in its third year and about 60 residents have participated to date.

Pam Sloper and Marnie Hartman lead the class. More information is available by calling 766-6366 or going to


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