Rain or shine, Labor Day weekend brings plenty to see and do as the Alaska State Fair wraps up over the next three days. Here are a few activities worth noting.
Fill your freezer
The 4-H Jr. Market Livestock Auction is your chance to bid on the freshest meat in Alaska: pork, beef, lamb and more. Butchering and wrapping is available and recommended for those who don't have better-than-average butchering skills. The money goes to the kids, most of whom say they're socking it away for college. So you can eat well and make Alaska a smarter place at the same time.
Noon-4 p.m. Saturday
Farm Exhibits Building
Free with admission
The Rancher's Reserve Beef Showdown will include culinary artists with university, technical school and military ties (the JBER team recently returned from deployment in Afghanistan) in a meaty contest. You can sample their cooking and vote for your favorites. A major thrust of the battle of the grills is to feature Alaska-grown produce, which is hitting its peak right about now.
10 a.m.-6 p.m. Sunday
Borealis Plaza Tent
Free with admission
Bring on the house
Rocker Bret Michaels will gift a military family with a new mortgage-free home during his Life Rocks 2013 concert at the fair on Sunday. Michaels has already presented a Marine with a free home as part of a program called Operation Homefront. It went well enough that Michaels was asked to do it again and he picked his Alaska gig to make the presentation.
The next recipient, we're told, is an Army family from South Dakota, all of whom will be flown up along with their service dog for the onstage event. The state fair office also tells us that there will be "a very exciting announcement concerning Alaska military families" at the show.
7 p.m. Sunday
$35 general admission, $60 for reserved seating. Prices do not include fair admission. Purchase online at alaskastatefair.org (convenience fees apply) or at the Borealis box office on the fairgrounds (no convenience fees charged at box office).
End with a smash
The sold-out Demolition Derby was such a hit (no pun intended) last year that it's been made a two-time event. Survivors of the first round on Friday will be joined by newcomers in a fender-slamming, door-banging, car-crashing competition for cash and prizes. Prepare to scream your lungs out at the metal-crunching grand finale to the fair. And have a safe drive home.
4 p.m. Monday
$12 for adults, $7 for youths. Prices do not include fair admission. Purchase online at alaskastatefair.org (convenience fees apply).