Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Fur Rondy

According to Wikipedia  "The Fur Rendezvous Festival (usually called Fur RendezvousFur Rondy, or simply Rondy) is an annual winter festival held in Anchorage, Alaska in late February. The self-styled "largest winter festival in North America", Fur Rendezvous is highly anticipated by many Anchorage-area residents as marking the beginning of the end of a long winter and the approach of spring. In 2012, Fur Rendezvous was selected as the number one winter carnival in the world by the National Geographic Traveler"

Until I moved to Vermont in 1990, I had NO IDEA what a winter carnival was.  My high school always had one.  Each class built snow sculptures according to our theme that year. Winter Sports were played, skits were made up, a dance was held and each class (by year) competed to see who had the most spirt. 

So not having anything else to compare it to, that is what I think of with Fur Rondy.  They have all sorts of events... only Alaskan style, complete with dog sled races (usually) gearing up for the Iditarod that starts this coming weekend (March 7 10:00 am AKST).

We went to check out a few things last weekend.  They have a carnival where you can ride rides (We didn't... yet... but riding carnival rides when its cold outside is kinda a weird thought. I associate such activities with warmer weather.

We walked around where 20 groups were building their snow sculptures. For the most part, they were big 8x8 blocks of snow.  They were starting to take shape.  Some of which we knew what they'd be (The Stay-puffed Marshmallow Man, for example).  I didn't take any pictures yet.  I will when we go back. Because of the lack of snow, they actually had to haul in the snow for some of the events.  Come on Mother Nature... this is ALASKA!!  

You can, for a fee ride, on a sled dog sled. We are pretty much just hitting up the free stuff this year (getting settled is expensive!) But we did get to see them run, and cuddle an Alaskan Husky Puppy, who was just so snuggly, and warm and sleepy that she just just cuddled up in Cannon's arms and fell asleep.  We all sort of melted, she was so adorable.  The adult dogs, were SO excited to be hooked up to the sled and running in a circle.  They really love the activity, exercise, cold and fun of it all.  

This next weekend there are more events... the most exciting for us is the ceremonial Start of the Iditarod.  Because we have had such a warm winter, Alaska simply doesn't have enough snow on the ground. So to coincide with tradition, they will start the race this Saturday morning, but then actually pack up, head to Fairbanks and restart there.  Then they will be on their way to Nome, AK.  We will be at the ceremonial start this Saturday.  I'm SO excited.  We even have a guy that we are cheering for... so you can cheer for him too... His name is John Baker.  David has spoken with him and he is a cool guy!!  So he is our pick this year!! 

Modern Sled

Cannon and the cutest puppy

Elliot on a "broken" traditional sled

Musher David

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