Haines fair talent show winner competes in Palmer


September 16, 2021

Nate White, 13, competed at Alaska State Fair's talent show.

The day before he was to compete in the Alaska's Got Talent competition at the Alaska State Fair, 13-year-old guitarist Nate White of Haines stopped in an Anchorage music shop to check out instruments.

While there, he saw Silas Jones, another guitarist who was about his age, jamming like a guitar hero.

"I was really hoping he wasn't in the talent show," White said in an interview last week.

In fact, Jones, a 15-year-old from Homer, like White had qualified for the final round of the statewide contest held at the fairgrounds' Colony Stage on Labor Day. And he won it.

"It was a crazy coincidence," said White, who performed the Jimi Hendrix version of the Star Spangled Banner that won him top act in the youth division of the regional Southeast Alaska State Fair in Haines.

White said he thought he performed well, but there was no competing with Jones, who topped several adults in the competition that, unlike the one here, did not include a youth division. Second place went to a karaoke singer and an Irish stepdancer won third.

Despite his disappointing showing, White said he was glad for the experience. "Now I know, kind of, what I'm up against." Also, he got to meet Jones. "He was cool. We were friends by the end of it."

White also enjoyed the spicy shrimp and dumplings and the Soda Jerk food booth at the Palmer fair.

White said he's not sure what piece of music Jones was playing "but I'd like to figure it out." He also wants another shot to play for top statewide honors. "I hope to do it again next year or whenever I get my next chance."

Vanessa Wishstar, whose dance routine won the adult competition at the fair in Haines, chose not to enter the Palmer competition. Her act was a tribute to people left homeless by December's tragic landslide, which she said was intended for a Haines audience.


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