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

Independence Day Preview


June 29, 2017

Apple is America’s

pie, but you’re in

rhubarb territory

This year’s Fourth of July is all about the pie.

At nightly bingo games at the ANB Hall on July 1, July 2 and July 4, two locally made pies will be awarded each night, along with traditional cash prizes.

Pie rounds will be announced randomly before games, said Deana Strong, bingo manager. “That kind of gives everybody a fair chance.”

Keeping with this year’s holiday theme, “Hooray for the Red, White and Blue,” strawberry rhubarb, blueberry and apple pies will be offered.

The progressive “early bird” jackpot is over $200 and could grow before July 4, Strong said. “If we get to $1,000 by the Fourth, we have to play it off. So there’s a possibility for a big jackpot (on the holiday). The more people who show up, the bigger the prizes are.”

Pies will be made by Chilkat Bakery.

If you don’t win a pie, you can buy a slice of the homemade stuff at the Haines Woman’s Club pie stand at Tlingit Park on Independence Day.

Judy Ewald, club president, said the club typically goes through about 40 pies before selling out. She was expecting a priority shipment of nuts from a brother in California to go into the club’s pecan pies. “They’re good pecans.”

Ewald said rhubarb pie may be the booth’s most popular flavor – “I’m doing a lot of rhubarb” – but she’ll also be cooking up her mother-in-law’s Vermont cream and Maple cream pies. Though those flavors aren’t common around here, they aren’t particularly exotic, she said, just cream, eggs and maple syrup.

“Everybody thinks their pies are exotic,” Ewald said.

The club also will be selling root beer floats made with Haines Brewing Co. root beer.


Mad Raft Race to salute Hertz

The annual Mad River Raft Race, a Fourth of July tradition in Haines since the 1960s, this year will include a tribute to longtime race organizer Erwin Hertz.

The madcap race of homemade, human-powered vessels begins 3 p.m. at Chilkoot Lake. It runs the length of Chilkoot River with Lutak bridge serving as the finish line.

Participants are required to wear life vests and helmets, as the mile-long river includes rapids, rocks and a mandatory take-out to avoid the Department of Fish and Game salmon weir at about the half-way point.

Hertz ran the river dozens of times, helped organize the race for decades, loaned out homemade rafts, and in recent years served as event emcee and mascot, said Kevin Shove, a longtime race champion. Hertz died in November at age 80.

“If it wasn’t for Erwin, this race wouldn’t be around. I think we need to honor him for his longevity and perseverance,” Shove said.

Hertz, once pinned perilously underwater by the fish weir, modified the race course to go around the weir instead of over it. But he acknowledged the event still had its hazards.

“If it wasn’t a little dangerous, it wouldn’t be fun,” he said.

The race is no longer a sanctioned event, but more of a gathering of enthusiasts.

About a half-dozen teams competed last year. “Plus there were one or two crazy kind (of teams) that didn’t make it all the way and (weir worker) Lou Cinicola had to fish them out,” Shove said.

Shove said he’s just happy to make the trip this year and will take a relaxed approach to the race.

“We’ll be making the luxury cruise. I think I’ll be shouting at people along the banks. I’ve won it enough. I want to enjoy it. I want to have fun instead of just being head-down the whole way.”


Mud volleyball needs a rescue

There’s a formula for putting on the Fourth of July Mud Volleyball Tournament and someone needs to get on it for there to be joy in Mudville on the holiday.

Resident Lori Carter, who took over organizing the messy competition last year, had to leave town for a family emergency this week. She’s looking for someone to stand in as organizer.

Tomi Scovill, who hosted the event for about 30 years, said making the pit requires a full day of preparation, including: cutting weeds, staking the court perimeter, removing sharp rocks, turning on water service at the First Avenue site and coordinating with Lyle Huff, who uses a rototiller to dig the pit, and the fire department, which provides most of the water.

Making mud involves turning on a sprinkler at 6 a.m. on Independence Day, and at 10 a.m. having the fire department tanker dump 1,500 gallons of water on the court. Six bottles of liquid soap is added to keep the pit moist through the day. The soap is mixed in by walking through the pit.

Equipment for set-up and throughout the day includes: two five-gallon buckets to rinse the muddy ball before resets, the stand for the official, a tape measure, poles, nails and string to hold the shape of the court, cables, sprinklers, hose, spray nozzle, two balls, whistles, table/chairs, clipboards, waivers to be signed by teams, sheets that include the line-up of teams, and pens.

Carter said the equipment is stored at locations around town and she can provide direction. Her phone number is 620-717-3422. Other details include those related to sign-ups, scheduling, and prizes.

Scovill ended with a final detail: Muddy people cannot go to the public bathroom by the Haines Visitor Center to wash up. “They need to hose off or jump into the bay, or something,” she said. “But they cannot go in there.”


Fourth parade offers prizes for 5 entries

The annual Fourth of July parade on Main Street is a celebration of dogs, firetrucks, music and lots of flags.

The parade starts 11 a.m.. Entries line-up starting 10 a.m. at Main Street and Sixth Avenue.

Tracy Mikowski of Haines Animal Rescue Kennel said between a dozen and 30 dog owners and pets typically throw into HARK’s “Patriotic Pooches” parade entry. Leashes are required. “We do have some bling and flags and that sort of thing, and some Stars and Strips kerchiefs.”

Dogs that show up to march are generally well-behaved, Mikowski said, though keeping them away from the candy that gets thrown from floats can be a complication. There’s also a diversionary tactic to avoid fights with dogs along the parade route, she said. “We outfit (dog owners) with bags of dog cookies to throw to the dogs on the sidelines, so everybody’s focused on the cookie.”

Bill Rostad of the Haines American Legion Post #12 this week was organizing the Legion’s color guard entry for the parade. Old, creaky soldier knees are among the issues to combat in a town with a population as aged as Haines, he said.

The Legion traditionally gives away flags and other decorations for bicycle entries in the parade, but providing about 150 flags at veterans’ graves during Memorial Day services in Haines and Klukwan put a dent in the supply this year, Rostad said. “If I find some more stuff I’ll get it down to the kids in the parade.”

The Haines Community Marching Band will be making its fifth appearance in the parade since forming in 2013. The band recently purchased its own drums and has three or four other instruments available for loan. Musicians – including students – are encouraged to attend a practice set for 7 p.m. Thursday, June 29, but also can show up at the parade start Saturday where there will be a quick rehearsal.

“We’re a very welcoming group. We’re all about participation,” said Holly Davis, who is helping organize the band this year.

The theme of the parade is “Hooray for the Red, White and Blue.” The Haines Chamber of Commerce will award $50 prizes for the top entry in each of five categories – decorated bike, music/dance, theme interpretation, judge’s choice, and decorated dog.

Delayna Doleshal of the Chamber said the holiday is for everyone. “Enter a float, decorate your bike, or just come out for the festivities. We just do the paperwork. It would be great if everybody in the community takes part.”


Trail conditions ‘normal’

for grueling run up peak

Men’s record-holder Chandler Kemp is organizing this year’s Independence Day Mount Ripinsky Run.

In the past, the race was coordinated by longtime co-organizers Paul Swift and Annie Boyce, who retired from the role last year. Swift organized the race for more than 40 years.

Although he hasn’t been on the trail this summer, Kemp said he expected trail conditions to be “normal.” Orange surveyor’s tape on trees will mark the course.

The course is a round-trip from the American Legion to a trail lookout at about 1,200 feet in elevation, and back.

For those competing in the race for the first time, here is what Kemp said you should know: It’s very steep, about three miles in length, and it often takes about an hour to complete. “It’s an adventure race more than a typical running race.”

Novices are encouraged to walk the trail before race day.

Start time is 8 a.m. on July 4. To participate, show up after 7 a.m. for registration at the American Legion Hall. A $5 registration fee helps pay for prizes.

The race is scheduled to take place rain or shine. Cancellation is unlikely, but may occur if course conditions become dangerously slippery, Kemp said.

Kemp, whose time of 24:02 in 2013 stands as the race record, also hopes to participate, but said that’s dependent on whether or not he has enough volunteers that morning.

J.J. Lende holds the women’s record, 32:34, set in 2012.

If you’re interested in volunteering, call Kemp at 907-314-3516.


Legion melon a tradition

There’s no such thing as a free lunch, but there is free watermelon at Tlingit Park on the Fourth, coutesy of the American Legion.

It’s a decades-long tradition for the group. Bill Rostad of Lynn Canal Post #12 said the Legion typically buys a half-pallet of melons to slice up and serve, or about 40.

“That’s a lot of watermelon,” he said. “The last time we got a full pallet, we had to go all over town giving it away.”

The Fourth is a big day for the Legion, which also helps with the flag-raising on Fort Seward and enters a Color Guard in the parade.

The American Legion Auxiliary puts on the Independence Day breakfast at the Legion Hall starting 7 a.m.


Consider Fido!

No matter how much you like fireworks, you can bet your dog doesn’t.

The loud booms terrify dogs, which often go missing on Independence Day.

Best to leave your dog indoors at home, with the radio playing and a chew toy to help relieve stress during fireworks.


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