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

Fair celebrates 50th anniversary with historical exhibit, new rides

 

July 19, 2018 | View PDF



The Southeast Alaska State Fair next week will add a 50th anniversary retrospective; new slide and climbing tower; circus dance party; food vendors with falafel, pelmeni, and catfish; and a social media hashtag to the regular lineup.

Fairgoers will have plenty to listen to this year. The mainstage lineup includes The Lacks on Thursday; Ron Artis II, Euforquestra and Stonefed Friday; and Hawaiian artist Anuhea, the McDades and Leche de Tigre Saturday. Ukulele Zen will have a long park session on Friday afternoon.

Edwards said she is thrilled about the 50th anniversary retrospective exhibit. Madeline Witek curated the exhibit by going through the fair’s archival records including old fair board meeting minutes, budgets, old programs and other materials. She also interviewed locals who have been involved in the fair over the decades.

The display will go up in Harriett Hall, with posters that tell the history and display archival photos. Space will also be available for new exhibit contributions.

“We’re a busy organization and we haven’t had a reason to really stop and mine that history yet. Now this is a perfect time,” Edwards said. “I’m excited. I’m going to learn a ton.”

The 50th anniversary exhibit won’t be the only place to display antiques. As always, a restored carousel from the 1930s and newly functioning Ferris wheel from the 1940s will be running. Edwards said a dedicated team of volunteers has restored the rides for years. The team has done everything from tracking down parts to finding special engineers to calling in specialists.

The team couldn’t restore the train’s dead engine, though. “We have to use an ATV to pull the train cars this year, but we’re going to build a cute little housing to make it look more like a train.”

The 5K adventure race will return this year after a three-year hiatus. High school cross-country coach Chandler Kemp is coordinating the event, which is a fundraiser for the team. He said he started the race again because he enjoyed participating a few years ago. “It’s a lot of fun,” Kemp said. “There will be obstacles--something to jump over, to go under, and some sort of water obstacle.”

A Whitehorse consultant helped the #southeastalaskastatefair develop a new social media and web presence. Edwards said the group helped the fair think strategically about their online presence and make their website a one-stop shop. Additionally, filmmaker Colin Arisman will film the fair this year and produce a three-minute video that will show everything that the fair has to offer for all ages.

As for other new offerings, the circus dance party will be “exactly what it sounds like,” Edwards said: a DJ, circus performers, and dancing.

Traditional fair activities including the fishermen’s rodeo, a Southeast Got Talent competition, 20 food vendors, the Most Loveable Dog Competition (not to be confused with the Dinky Doggy Derby for smaller pups), more than 25 performances, and community raffles will all be running.

Up to 2,000 volunteer hours help make everything happen, and there is plenty left to do in the last week of preparation.

“Volunteers are needed for everything from working front gates, to rides and games, to beer gardens,” Edwards said. “Call the fair office at 766-2476 if you want to volunteer.” Volunteers are also needed to help set up rides and games Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The fair will accept art exhibit submissions this Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Edwards said she is ready for the fair. “It’s a home-grown, community-owned celebration of how we live, play, and do art here.”

 
 

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