Hello happy travelers!
Since I am returning home for about six weeks during the best weather of an Alaskan calendar year, I thought that I would share the top 5 things to do in Fairbanks, Alaska if you plan to visit during the Summer Solstice, June 21st.
The week of the solstice is always a fantastic time to visit Alaska, the sun never sets (totally – it gets to twilight but not any darker than that) and the weather couldn’t be better. Afternoons of sunshine and 60 degrees, with no humidity and a few mosquitos, you can’t really ask for a better time than that in the Last Frontier.
Midnight Sun FestivalThe Midnight Sun Festival is the street fair, performing arts, musical mania that takes over downtown Fairbanks. This festival is always on the Sunday closest to June 21st and lasts for 12 hours and normally has around 30,000 people walk through. It can be a bit of a madhouse but there are some seriously cool booths, musicians and all the locals coming out that will give you a true taste of Alaskans. To learn more about events during the festival, check out the city’s website by clicking here.
Midnight Sun RunBy now you should be seeing a bit of a theme of the week of Solstice…There is a reason why Alaska is named the “Land of the Midnight Sun”. In honor of the celebration of the sun, we do a 10k fun run! This might be the funniest 10k you ever observe or participate in – the outfits alone are worth going to watch run down the road. This is also the only “open container fun run” I’ve ever participated in my life! I highly recommend it! And the kicker, it doesn’t even start until 10pm!
Midnight Sun Baseball GameWhat better way to celebrate the longest day of each year than with a baseball game? Fairbanksans celebrate the coming of the summer by playing a classic American traditional game of baseball – which continues through the midnight hour and never uses artificial lights. With Fairbanks a mere 150 miles south of the Arctic Circle, the sun is just beginning to set in the North as the game of baseball gets underway and, at its conclusion some three hours later, the sun begins to rise again – also in the North. Everything about this game, outside of the game itself, is a phenomenon. As part of the annual celebration, the game is stopped at the half-inning closest to midnight for the singing of the Alaska Flag Song. The Midnight Sun Game is hugel popularity. Baseball America called it one of the “12 Must-See Events for the Baseball Fan.” ESPN Magazine selected the Midnight Sun Game as the Number One Destination for the “2010 Baseball Road Trip.” GQ Magazine dubbed the tradition one of “86 Reasons to be proud to be an American,” and in 2012 Yankees Magazine called the event “Baseball’s Most Natural Promotion.” Forus Fairbanksans, the game is a way to reflect on the passing of another year, and the survival of another long winter. Even if you aren’t into baseball this game is certainly worth attending.
Wild Arts WalkIf you have an artistic streek in you have an artist’s soul; then this is an event for you – normally scheduled for the Sunday before Solstice (2009 – June 16th). Here you can kick off the celebration week with the Wild Arts Walk. This is where you can view over 30 local artists as you walk through Creamer’s Field Wildlife Ref trails use. You will find one-of-a-kind paintings, birch bark creations, pottery, photography and more.
Block Party – DowntownDuring the summer we love to have festivals, markets and be outside as much as possible since we know it won’t stay daylight for long after June is over. The 3rd Thursday throughout the summer, which in June usually lands around the week of Solstice, there is a block party that closes down streets that get blocked off to make room for the Downtown Block Party. Enjoy local vendors and performances for some family-friendly fun downtown!
Whatever you do while in Fairbanks, whether you visit in the heart of summer with the Solstice or the middle of the frozen winters with the winter solstice – enjoy every moment. Alaska is a treasure of natural beauty, unique people (yes, I mean we are weird too lol) and a wonderful world that will make an impact on your life forever.
If you want to see more to do around Alaska throughout the year you can buy my book: