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Southeast Alaska State Fair Preview


July 27, 2017

Dehli 2 Dublin, The Breakdancing Ninjas new acts to fair

Instrumental funk, breakdancing ninjas and an Indian Irish electronic dance group are among this year’s main stage acts.

Southeast Alaska State Fair executive director Jessica Edwards said the music lineup this year also includes acts by Dave Simonett, the lead singer of Trampled by Turtles and the Eric Krasno Band, a Grammy awards winning group. Krasno has played with the Rolling Stones and The Roots.

An electronic reggae-dub group, Jon Wayne & The Pain, hits the main stage on Saturday at 9:30 p.m.

“I think the fair is overlooked as a music festival,” Edwards said.

Perhaps the most eclectic performance is Delhi 2 Dublin performs Indian electronic music and bass music from around the world.

Lead singer Sanjay Seran, who grew up in Vancouver, said the band formed around 11 years ago after a random one-act performance at a Celtic music festival in the city.

“The night consisted of this DJ club night with this live element that included four Irish dancers, two fiddlers, two DJs and myself who came on to sing some Punjabi stuff for about two minutes,” Seran said.

Seran said after the “serendipitous” performance, the previously unconnected musicians started getting bookings for shows.

“A year later we were in a hotel somewhere at some festival and we were like ‘Hey I think we’re a band now,” Seran said.

Delhi 2 Dublin released an album a year later. Seran said the group has refined their sound over the years.

Instruments include toms, an Indian percussion barrel drum called a Dhol, a violin and electronic keys. Seran sings in English and Punjabi.

“There’s definitely an Indian bass kind of vibe with the whole strings and Irish element kind of tucked underneath there, good old Canadian party music, basically,” Seran said. “Lots of bass. Lots of dancing Lots of sweating.”

For the fair’s kinetic act, three Breakdancing Ninjas hit the mainstage.

“We always have a kinetic act like trapeze or circus or stilts,” Edwards said. “Instead of doing that this year we turned to the street dance thing.”

Many of the bands will also play more intimate sets and host music workshops throughout the day.

Plenty of acts will perform on the Klondike Stage and the Park Stage to keep people entertained as well.

“There’s a regional following on the Klondike stage for musicians who are coming from Skagway or Petersburg or wherever,” Amanda Randles said. “It’s a hip place to be.”

Thursday’s music begins at 12 p.m. with Men of Note and goes through 9 p.m. as Dread Onion finishes the night off.

The Klondike Stage will also feature the fair’s first ever open mic from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Fishpickers kick things off at 12 p.m. Friday and hip-hop artist Onry Ozzborn is the final act, which begins at 11:30 p.m.

The Girls Rock Camp, young, female Haines musicians who have formed bands and written songs this summer, perform Saturday at 11:30 a.m. The Whiskeydicks are the final act and begin at 11 p.m.

From 2:30 to 4 p.m. on Sunday musicians from several bands will get together for an “All Star Jam,” with brief intermissions for raffle drawings.


Fair fare includes fried pickles and sushi

The Southeast Alaska State Fair will host more than 75 vendors this year, providing food, information and merchandise from across the state to fairgoers.

Vendor manager Dena Stout said the fair averages about 50 vendors, but this year’s jump is attributed to the overall growth of the fair.

“(The fair) is getting bigger every year,” Stout said. “People are all very excited about the fair, and because of that we need to offer new services. We try every year to come up with something new.”

Most of the increase is in retail vendors, Stout said, but not all vendors are selling something. Others advertise businesses, display crafts or provide information.

“The things that we have here are quality,” she said. All the retail vendors sell their own work and designs.

There will be 16 food vendors this year selling classic fair food like pulled pork, corn on the cob, pizza, burgers, cotton candy, kettle corn and ice cream, as well Indian, Mexican and Cajun cuisine, fried pickles, sushi and fish tacos.

Haines’ restaurants like the Fireweed, Sarah J’s, the Pilotlight, the Klondike, Chilkat Restaurant and Bakery will serve up town favorites.

Stout said she wants to encourage adventurous fair food found at Midwestern state fairs, like fried butter or Oreos.

She said the fair is looking into building more food vending booths in the future. Food vendors without a wooden booth will be under tents, and one will shack up in an old truck.

Stout said vendors are coming from Anchorage, Petersburg, Fairbanks, Wrangell, Juneau and Washington. Vendor booths can be found throughout the fair grounds and in Harriett Hall.


Fair’s favorites: Food, toilet games, everything

Bryne Power, 62

I just like hanging out with people who you might not have seen during the summer, who pop back into your life. It’s almost the demarcation of summer, that early transition into fall.

Sophia Hedden, 6

I like bouncy house and one more thing, well two, art and carousel.

Chloe Goodson, 26

I love the all the dog events. I’m emceeing the new Dinky Doggy Derby this year.

Joseph Quitslund, 46

I’ve been coming to the fair from Petersburg for about eight years. I like getting together and visiting friends and playing music. It’s kind of like a great annual camping excursion to visit the greater community of Southeast Alaska.

Corvus Benassi, 3

The games. The toilet one where the beanbags go in the toilet.

Jila Stewart, 47

I like watching kids play at the fair.

Gina Randles, 28

Sushi. I can’t get it any other time of year. Yuko Hayes does such an amazing job.

Willow Bryant, 10



Gospel sing-a-long alternative to church

A Gospel music sing-a-long at Payson’s Pavilion on Sunday promises salve for tortured souls who partied too hard Saturday night. It starts 12:30 p.m.

And it may be catching on.

Classical pianist Nancy Nash said she’s excited about the prospect of a Gospel vocal group that might spin off from Sunday’s performance with the Lack Family Band. Nash is bringing hymnals from the Episcopal Church to the fair performance for folks in the audience who may remember tunes but have forgotten the words.

“Everyone knows these songs and Gospel is a very positive thing, for people to sing together in harmony,” Nash said.

The half-hour set will include songs like “Amazing Grace,” “I’ll Fly Away,” “This Little Light of Mine,” and “How Great Thou Art.”

Gospel has gained popularity with movies like “Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?” and groups like San Francisco’s Glide Ensemble.

“People listen to Gospel music and don’t even consider it church music. It almost has its own genre. That’s good. It makes it accessible,” said Scott Lack, whose family band performs in churches and for secular audiences.

Lack said he sees Sunday’s show as an extension of performances his band has made in local churches.


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