Palmer erases ‘Colony Days’ and replaces it with more politically correct Braided River Festival


No more Colony Days in Palmer?

The Palmer Chamber of Commerce has changed the name of its iconic farm-friendly festival, which honored the hard work of pioneers who settled in the area and brought agriculture to Alaska.

The new name is Braided River Festival, in honor of all the rivers that flow through the area. It’s a rebrand, and without saying so, the Chamber is indicating that Colony Days is politically incorrect because of the word “colony.”

Colony Days has gone on for decades, and features a parade, booths, activities for kids, races, reindeer, a rodeo, car shows, and more.

The community of Palmer was founded in 1935, after 200 or more families were relocated to Palmer from the Midwest under the New Deal, a program created by President Franklin D. Roosevelt. Each family was given 40 acres in the region, and the only requirement was that they establish a self-sufficient farming community. The early colonists, as they were called, suffered many hardships to make a life in Alaska in territorial days. Today, Palmer is the agricultural heartbeat of the state, with farms throughout the area. Families of the colonists are proud of their hearty heritage.

“After decades of successfully hosting one of the summer’s largest festivals in the valley, we felt it was important to rebrand it to reflect what it has grown into: a celebration of the many aspects of what makes Palmer unique,” said GPCC Executive Director Ailis Vann. “A braided river is made up of smaller rivers, creeks, and tributaries that come together to form one large, powerful force. For decades, the Palmer Chamber has also grown into a larger force thanks to the support of our community partners. It also speaks to the natural beauty of the Palmer area, including the Matanuska and Knik Rivers.”

Colony Days and the Colony Christmas festival were originally created by the “occupants of the Matanuska Colony Project 86 years ago,” the Chamber wrote. “The Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce eventually took on organizational duties for the event and grew it into what it is today; a three-day, indoor and outdoor celebration that features a parade, food trucks, vendor booths, family activities, music, and other opportunities to highlight local businesses in Palmer.”

This year’s event is scheduled for June 10-12.

Deputy Mayor Pamela Melin says she is disheartened and saddened by the actions of the Chamber of Commerce, which have taken away the beloved Colony tradition.

“My children have celebrated along side me as an adult. Now I have grandchildren who I would love to share these experiences with. To disregard our rich history is not the answer to a cohesive future. If we have truly grown as a people, we wouldn’t apply such politically driven and divisive labels such as ‘occupants’ of the Matanuska Colony Project. I fear the impact to our local businesses that could bear the brunt of such a decision. The people of Palmer deserve to know the following: What led to this radical change and rebranding?Was there data supplied that required this change?Who was the motivator behind determining the need and we’re there special interest groups involved in the decision making?Who was the key author and designer of the rebrand? Did the board members or members debate or have an opportunity to weigh in on such an impactful decision? Did the members even know this was happening?”

There is still a Colony High School in Palmer, but it may be next on the list for a name change to erase the history of the people who came to farm the land.


  1. Tell Karen to pound sand. Tell the Chamber of Commerce to pound sand.
    Call it Colony Days anyway.

    Sue them. The left likes lawsuits. Put them on the business end of one. Sue them on the basis of potential lost revenue from nobody knowing what the hell Braided River is and not showing up. It’s frivolous, but that’s where the Karen’s of the world live.

    Palmer is letting a yoga instructor from UAS dictate the culture of Palmer?

    Tell me again Alaska is conservative.

    • Alaska may be conservative.

      Palmer, however, long since became a “People’s Republic”. Up to now the best reason to avoid the event was that it consisted manly of progressives-on-parade. Now with an obscure name nobody recognizes it can fade gently into history.

      I do feel badly for the businesses who may have stocked up for customers who won’t come.

      Yes, they could sue but what biased court would hear?

  2. Can’t help but wonder if “friends” of the Chamber stand to profit from the rebranding effort.

  3. The Greater Palmer Chamber of Commerce is demonstrating progressive far left ideology.
    Everybody on the Chamber needs to man-up and tells us who specifically voted for this change.

    Simple conclusion, if you choose to, go spend your money at the place who said NO to the vote to change the name away from Colony Days.

      Simple conclusion, if you choose to, go spend your money at the place who said NO to the vote to change the name away from Colony Days.
      This deserves to be repeated. Each director represents a business, and I would like to ensure that none of my money gets spent at any business that had a hand in this and the re-naming of the Colony Christmas festival.

    • Do you know WHY???? Because removing monuments, symbols, statues, celebrations and traditions destabilizes society. It takes away one’s identity. “Colony” represents everything the Woke Left HATES. “Cancel it!”, they cry! Eventually, it will fade away and NO ONE will remember. And they will replace it with something that fits their agenda to re-shape our thinking. It’s called “Globalism”.

  4. I am ok with Colony anything. I are one too. That is who we are. It’s ok. “Go therefore”…God sent us. Take it up with God if you are mo bettah….

  5. Well, I have been attending the Colony Days Festival in Palmer for years. If that festival no longer exists, I will not attend it. I don’t plan on attending or supporting whatever the politically motivated Braided River Festival. I am sure the Plamer Chamber will get hint when the festival flops this year due to a significant lack of attendance and support. The conservative majority still live in Palmer, and it’s time we unite together and send a clear message to the assembly that we want Colony Days reinstated as it aught to be, or else we will boycott it.

    Plain and simple, folks.

    The power rest with the people, not the assembly; always has and always will.

  6. What a loss giving into the woke crowd. It must be time to change every name on every road ,building ,school, and anything else that has a meaningful name on it like islands rivers mountains. Make everything a number or letter no personal names on anything.I am offended driving down a street with someone’s name on it.

  7. Go talk with Jim Turner, over at Turner’s Corner Gas station in Hatcher Pass if you want the proper scoop on these “Palmer farmers” they’ve always been woke leftists, nothing new here, other than a name change.

    Fill-up your tanks while you’re out there, Jim has the cheapest gasoline, and best ice-cream around.

    • So Jim Turner is the authority on all the families that descended from the first ‘colonists’ and still farm? I seriously beg to differ. And as much as I believe Jim to be a sharp businessman, he is not a community authority.

  8. I remember it being called many names before it became known as Colony Day, there was the Mid Summer festival with Grotto/Lunkers and Rodeo Days. I think it was changed in 1985, which was 50 years since the arrival of the Colonist. That year they had a big celebration honoring the original Colonists. I think it is a fitting name to honor the people who made Palmer what it is today.
    Guess I’m not the only one that thinks that.
    I think there is a hidden message behind the name.

    • I’ve heard those stories, too. In fact, there is interest in bringing back the grotto lunker. The fact that this was all done in secret under the cover of darkness points to an agenda. There was NO media, nothing on the community fb page. Because they knew the people would never go for it. There is a huge protest underway. I guess we’ll see what happens.

  9. Until people like this STOP appeasing the left to soothe their snowflake feelings it will continue. Absolutely RIDICULOUS Palmer what is wrong with you??

    • Palmer didn’t know. It was all done in secret under the cover of darkness. There was no media. No gathering input from the community because they knew no one would go for it. That points to an agenda that goes well beyond politically correct. It’s erasing history and its traditions. It’s one way to destabilize society. Then remake it to fit someone else’s mindset. That’s what the great re-set is all about. Tearing something down and replacing it with something else. This is why they get rid of symbols, monuments, celebrations and traditions a they have been doing for years. Makes for a very sad world no one will enjoy living in.

  10. This must be an early April Fools joke. Nobody in their right mind would change the name of Colony Days that is a very well known throughout the State to a name nobody will recognize for decades.

    • It’s called “Woke-ness”. Part of the great re-set. Tear down established traditions, celebrations, symbols and monuments to make the new generation of people forget. Then replace it with your own agenda. “Colony” represents something the anti-Americans among us do not like. “Colony” means something. Twisted River means nothing.

    • Sadly I called and the woman I spoke with said they are forwarding all complaints to their Board of Directors.
      There’s going to have to be a larger number of people who speak up. As a long time vendor at these events, I mentioned that I’d no longer be participating in any of these rebranded woke events. Sad day.

  11. Only a truly stupid person would think there is anything racist about the word “colony”. That person truly needs extensive therapy. I really, really wish the population would stop capitulating to the neurosis of the pitiful soul that needs to bring others down in order to feel better about themselves. Get thee to a therapist and quickly, you whiny adult child! The person(s) who felt the need to capitulate to this idiocy also need to have their heads examined. Put your big-kid panties on and get a life…there are more important things to do and worry about! All you are doing is making yourself look ridiculous with your fake virtue signaling!

  12. If you erase history, you no longer have to respect it or learn from it. Interestingly one could argue that the relocation of families to the Mat-su during the New Deal, was a great success story of a clearly socialist program. It is a shame that all these peoples’ sacrifices are relegated to the dust bin of history, because back then they happened to pick a name that no longer complies with the political correct flavor du-jour. So sad.

    • That’s precisely the agenda. Actually, when you read more of the stories, the “New Deal” was not all it was cracked up to be. Not really a success because the gov’t back east didn’t follow through on a lot of things leaving people high and dry. It was a success due to the strong, independent nature of the people involved who grit their teeth and were determined to make it work. A true pioneering spirit…in difficult times, the 30’s and 40’s. “Colony” represents something the Left hates. So cancel it. That’s what they do. When you remove monuments, symbols, customs, and traditions it’s a technique to destabilize a society. You tear it down and r-build with your own agenda. The new generation will forgot. That’s what the great re-set will be in a world that won’t be too fun to live in.

    • Agreed! What exactly are we celebrating? Wasn’t this supposed to be about celebrating the heritage of the region? What does a multi-branched river flow celebrate?

      • “Colony” represents something the Left hates. So they cancel it. Just like removing symbols, monuments and ‘Christmas’. The new generation will have no point of reference to the past which will be replaced with something else. That’s what the great re-set is. Tear down what exists and replace it with something that fits the narrative. I call it “Twisted River”

  13. Wokeism is designed to kill off our heritage and history. Soon, our kids will be completely void of accurate and true events. This is turning into a truly disgusting period for our state and our country.

  14. Thank you Suzanne for posting this. We here in Palmer are saddened and shocked by this decision. I hope we can rally to the Chamber. Slowly Palmer is being invaded by liberals that have a personal agenda that is “not inclusive” unless you get on their crazy train.

  15. This cancel culture movement has gotten ridiculous. Colony is offensive? What of Beaver Colonies? 🦫 Should we seek a different name for them too? And would Beavers braid these rivers or DAMN them?
    Critical Thinking has gone the way of the Carrier Pigeon, exterminated by political correctness.

  16. Any name change effort should have has serious community wide input. There should have been a process, even an official vote. Just because the chamber facilitates does not give them the right to change the name. This was wrong and based on complaint form only a few people an unbeknownst to most of the community let alone entire borough.
    Speak out – contact the Palmer mayors office – email has to be from Contact the Palmer Chamber of Commerce. They have a website and one can email or call.

  17. I think remembering our history is important, but Colony Days doesn’t do that. If the celebration was about a bunch of destitute families taking handouts from the government, racking up debt at the government store, and then spending the rest of their lives looking down their noses at real Alaskans pioneers I would object to the name change.

    • Remove yourself hank! Be gone and stay out of our conversation.. we will stick with colony days!!

      I’m sure you will be welcome in Russia!

    • Hank, your ignorance is bliss. My Great Grandparents are amonst the Colonist who came from Wisconsin. They had to sign a promisary note for $4,000 for the land, supplies to build their house. I have the original paperwork.
      In today’s money that is $82,837. That was A LOT of money durring the depression when most of those families didn’t have anything. They also had to live in a tent for their first winter. Think about that.
      My Great Grandparents and their four children were amazing people. I was blessed to know them all.
      They weren’t given welfare to pay for anything. Yes, there were people who took advantage, there always will be. I recommend before you speak, you know what you are talking about.

  18. Normally I love to go get a Husky Burger. Not any more. Not at the Braided River Festival. I’ll wait for the Fair. I hope nobody shows up for the Braided River Festival. The left loves boycotting stuff they don’t like. The intelligent people of The Valley should boycott the Braided River Festival.

  19. Political correctness is the venom that has been coursing through the veins of this country for too long. Now it comes to Palmer with this callous slap in the face to the descendants of the Colonists that built this community. What is next? Pioneer Peak? surely some politically correct bonehead must be offended by that. This is a stupid and unacceptable move. The community needs to rise up and overturn this disrespectful insanity.

  20. Communists have to destroy a countries history so the people lose their connection with the past.
    Why are all chambers of commerce groups always lefties these days?

    • Yup! You nailed it! It’s a re-set. Tear down what has existed for ages and replace it with something else that fits the narrative.

  21. Leave it up to Palmer! Now look at the definition of chamber # it means bedroom. So the chamber maids are having a good time with this. Now it’s time for house cleaning!

  22. Good. The reference to ‘Colony’ harkened back to the leftist, socialist days of the FDR’s New Deal when he collectivized agriculture, just like Stalin, and brought a bunch of midwestern communists to settle the valley through the big government Farm Security Administration and soviet-style Resettlement Administration. It was a Godless experiment then, and it’s not who we are now. I’m glad to see it go.

    • They even had their own “currency” I hear– couldn’t spend it outside the Colony with the settlers/miners in Wasilla.

      Lots of interesting history, that’s lost to the revisionists. It was a proper company town, built by tradesmen from down south who got 50% of their money to come here, and the other 50% on return to the lower 48.

    • You are an ignorant human being.
      Those were real people who choose to come here and built real lives. Those lives helped build the Valley. It is exactly who the Mat-Su Valley is; if you don’t know that, so be it. Many of us do and are very proud of what our families accomplished. I am thankful my Great Grandparent came here in 1935. They worked hard, paid back their note that they signed and bought a lot more land.
      I am very thankful so I could be raised in this beautiful enviroment.

  23. Colony days is a landmark name with a ton of history behind it. What the dammed hell is wrong with the Palmer Chamber?? Is the chamber populated by those who left the destroyed cities of California, Portland, Seattle, Pittsburgh??

  24. BRAIDED RIVER FESTIVAL, how about just calling it “BRF” which goes quite well with FJB or Let’s go Brandon”.
    Tell these woke chamber maids to go pound glacier silt on the Knik.

  25. I simply won’t attend any woke events. All the businesses sponsoring, or vendors attending this rebrand will also be on my – do not support list.

  26. And it will stay “braided river festival” because the conservatives are making stuff happen and having their voices heard. We just whine to each other and talk tough on the internet. We are doomed…

  27. Why does the community of Palmer need the Chamber of Commerce to do anything? The community can take this into their own hands and continue this tradition. All you need is a location, some advertising and a group of volunteers to organize it. Stop bitching and act.

  28. Colony Way is the main street that goes through Palmer.
    Change that name and all of the signs to “Braided River Way” ?
    I thought this at first was a joke but these newbies who get offended at names are the problem.
    We have lived in Palmer for 35 years on former Colonist land.
    If it’s changed, we will NOT be attending any of the events in June!

  29. Let’s continue this trend to consider what must be done with Hobo Jim’s legacy. To reference a “hobo” aka: “a homeless vagabond” would be abrasive to say the least. Maybe “Jim of the Braided River”. Jim was very much part of the Palmer scene so why not “re-brand” Jim, Christmas, Colony, and on and on and……..

  30. These people are lunatics. Reminds me of Rhode Island removing the word “plantation” from the official name of the state. While dumb, at least there’s a connotation of slavery some people MIGHT not like. But colony is problematic now? Why?

  31. I would encourage all vendors to continue using the Colony Days reference in their signage. The new name has no spirit, serves no purpose, and doesn’t resonate with anyone aside from perhaps a handful of dipsticks that would prefer to erase time and the personality of an era.

    With a name like Ailis Vann you’d think they’d be smarter.

    In honor of anyone dense enough to think they’re one of the few illuminati that understand what a braided river is I hereby change that person’s name to Tardo and suggest they start using a hyphenated surname.

  32. The highlight of the Braided River Festival will be the pancake breakfast made with the Pearl Milling Company (formerly Aunt Jemima) pancake mix. Butter from Land O Lakes, but without the lovely Native American lady on the box. For desert, Edy’s Pies (formerly Eskimo Pies). That should make all the wokies warm and fuzzy inside.

  33. What’s the fuss? The local yokels are just trying to nickel-and-dime their way through life. Not everybody can make it “big” in the valley peddling weed, if you know what I mean.

  34. There is no such thing as bad publicity. Will look for the June 13th MRAK story on the Palmer BRF

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