Gov. Mike Dunleavy roared into the Fairbanks Inaugural Celebration Sunday night on a 2019 Can-Am XMR 1000 all-terrain vehicle.
Lt. Gov. Kevin Meyer was right behind him on a Can-Am Defender XMR side-by-side, with two ladies on board. It was quite the entrance.
Over 800 Fairbanksians attended the Carlson Center celebration to greet the new governor and lieutenant governor and their wives, Rose Dunleavy and Marti Meyer, both of whom were on the Can-Am side-by-side with the lieutenant governor.
In addition to a photo booth with a reindeer and another photo booth for portraits with the governor, there were dog sled rides outside, ice sculptures, and lots of activities for children.
What knocked everyone out was the program. Emcee Craig Compeau kept it light and moving along. Jim Sackett, director of the Fairbanks Office of the Governor, introduced Dunleavy and Meyer.
The Interior Athabaskan dancers gave a dance and drum performance.
Singer-songwriter David Wilcoxson sang a version of Lee Greenwood’s song “I’m proud to be an American,” but the words were: “I’m proud to be an Alaskans,” which brought the house down, especially the line about being “twice the size of Texas.” A former music teacher who is retired from the Fairbanks North Star School District, Wilcoxson is always in demand for his version of the National Anthem at Nanooks Hockey Games.
Popular Fairbanks singer Willa Watts sang the Alaska Flag Song and everyone joined in; she also led the crowd in singing happy birthday to Glenn Hackney, surprising the icon of Fairbanks, who turns 94 on Saturday.
As he arrived in the arena, Gov. Dunleavy found a very welcoming crowd. Even Democrats Don Gray and Scott Kawasaki attended and appeared to have a good time, along with a smattering of other Democrats.