The MRAK Almanac is your place for political, cultural, and civic events, events where you’ll meet political leaders or, if you are interested in getting to know your state, these are great places to meet conservative- and moderate-leaning Alaskans.
Alaska Fact Book
Question: How many hours of darkness have we gained since summer solstice just a few short months ago?
Answer: Summer solstice in Alaska took place on June 21 of this year.
Since then, Fairbanks has gained 5 hours 15 minutes of darkness.
Anchorage has gained 3 hours 31 minutes of darkness.
Juneau has gained 2 hours 52 minutes of darkness.
Of course, we could have framed these facts as daylight “lost”, but why not look at our state’s spectacular seasonal changes as something gained in every way?
8/16: Last of this year’s summer block parties in Juneau outside the Juneau Arts & Humanities Center starting at 5:30 pm. This week’s performers will be the Juneau Marimbas group, and National Endowment for the Arts chairman Mary Anne Carter will also be in attendance.
8/16: Canned Food Drive at the Mitchell Raceway in Fairbanks. Five cans gets you entry for $5. Read more here.
8/16: Ride & Dine fundraiser for the Alaska Red Cross. Participants will ride to Denali National Park with Premier Alaska Tours and enjoy a delicious meal before returning to Fairbanks late in the evening. Read more about the event here.
8/16-8/18: 25th annual Alaska Greek Festival in Anchorage. Attendance is free, and visitors should expect delicious Greek food, traditional dancers, and even live Greek music. Read more at the Facebook link here.
8/16-8/18: Stop by the Kenai Peninsula Fair in Ninilchik. There will be dozens of local food vendors to enjoy as well as hundreds of entries into the fair’s many contests. Read more at the fair website here.
8/17: Ever wanted to make friends with a Great Horned Owl? You’ll get your chance at 2 pm at the Eagle River Nature Center. Further details here.
8/17: North Pole Friends of the NRA Banquet & Dinner at 5 pm. Read more here.
8/17: SS Nenana Day at Pioneer Park in Fairbanks. Come celebrate the largest wooden sternwheeler remaining in the world today. Read more here.
8/17: Alaska Zoo 50th Anniversary event, with half-priced admission all day long. More details here.
8/17-8/18: Anchorage Market & Festival in downtown Anchorage from 10 am – 6 pm. Alaska’s largest outdoor market, with over 300 vendors present.
8/17-8/18: 12th annual Blueberry Festival at the Alyeska Resort. This free, family-friendly event will feature live music, berry picking, a pie-eating contest, and so much more. Read the full lineup of events at this link.
8/18: 14th annual Renewable Energy Fair at Chena Hot Springs near Fairbanks. Fun for the whole family, and complete with a free lunch, geothermal tours, and several educational workshops. Read more here.
8/18: Last day of the Seward Silver Salmon Derby. Read more about the annual contest for the heaviest Coho here.
Alaska History Archive
August 17, 1896—123 years ago: George Washington Carmack and two of his associates discovered a large deposit of gold near the Yukon Territory’s Bonanza Creek. Carmack’s find is often considered the beginning of the short-lived Klondike Gold Rush, and is celebrated as “Klondike Discovery Day” in Canada to this day.
August 18, 1919—100 years ago: Gov. Wally Hickel, the 2nd and 8th governor of the State of Alaska, was born in Ellinwood, Kansas. A lifelong Republican and brief member of the Alaska Independence Party, Gov. Hickel was known for his relentless promotion of Alaskan natural resource development and for being an early proponent of statehood. Gov. Hickel passed away in 2010 at the age of 90. As he requested before his passing, Gov. Hickel was buried standing up, facing Washington, D.C. Happy 100th birthday to Governor Wally Hickel.