All across the state this week, Alaskans are gathering to parade world-class tan lines up and down the streets of their respective towns.

“A classic part of any Alaskan summer is the tan-line parade,” said Bob Burns of an Anchorage-based tourism advocacy company. “We have tan lines that rival any other place in the world, even Scandinavia, Iceland or Russia, and we’re not afraid to show them.” 

Tender Alaskan skin, which has been safely sequestered behind jackets, long underwear, sweaters, cardigans, raingear, and fleece all winter, has finally been subjected to the tan-line-causing UV-B and UV-C sunlight in recent weeks. 

“It’s going to be a particularly well-delineated summer,” Burns added.

Most towns in Alaska have a tan-line parade in midsummer around Independence Day when locals march around in tank tops, shorts and spaghetti straps. 

“I love to come out and see all the lines going every which direction,” said Maya Myanovitch of Palmer, Alaska. “It’s like going to a modern-art exhibit.”

Many parades have categories for different types of sunburns as well, including the ubiquitous farmer’s tan in both sleeved and sleeveless divisions (often referred to as the fisherman’s tan in Alaska); the coveted driver’s tan, in which one arm is significantly more tanned than the other; the rare bikini tan; the hilarious biker-shorts tan, and the Chaco- or Birkenstock-tan.

Tyler Tylenall of Soldotna said he was going for first place in the sleeveless division this year. “I’ve got it all: a watch tan, even ring tans and the lines on my back could’ve been scribed with a drafting compass. I’d say I’ve really hit my peak this year,” he said.

When Bob Burns was asked what he thought Alaska’s secret was, he said that it was a  combination of “long days, expensive sunblock, the unrivaled pastiness of the locals—and true pride in the appearance of well-defined solar damage.”