Fur Rondy fun takes over the town

Matt Sullivan
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Fur Rondy Queen Shayla Silva, left, and Princesses Sierra Begich Slade, middle, and Avery Kristiansen, right, at the finish of the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship Sled Dog Race on Sunday, Feb., 24, 2013.
Bill Roth
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The 2013 Fur Rondy fireworks explode in the sky over the Golden Wheel Amusement carnival rides on the bluff in downtown Anchorage on Saturday night, February 23, 2013. 130223
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The 2013 Fur Rondy fireworks explode in the sky over the Golden Wheel Amusement carnival rides on the bluff in downtown Anchorage on Saturday night, February 23, 2013. 130223
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The 2013 Fur Rondy fireworks explode in the sky over the Golden Wheel Amusement carnival rides on the bluff in downtown Anchorage on Saturday night, February 23, 2013. 130223
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The 2013 Fur Rondy fireworks explode in the sky over the Golden Wheel Amusement carnival rides on the bluff in downtown Anchorage on Saturday night, February 23, 2013. 130223
Bob Hallinen
Nursing student and outgoing Miss Fur Rondy Queen Stephanie Peterkin, left, crowned Shayla Silva, 24, right, an economics major at UAA, the new Miss Fur Rondy Queen on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. Princesses Avery Kristiansen and Sierra Begich Slade, center, will join the Queen as goodwill ambassadors for the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous, a 10-day winter festival which starts on Feb. 22 and runs through Mar. 3. The three young ladies severing as Fur Rondy royalty are life-long Alaskans.
Bill Roth
Shirley and Doug Iverson were elected from within the membership of the Pioneers of Alaska to be the Queen and King Regents during the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous winter festival on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. The Iverson's were high school sweethearts and have been married 57 years. Shirlry moved to Alaska in 1952, and Doug has lived in Alaska since 1947.
Bill Roth
John Davenport Jr. and Kelly McClusky assemble the Cliff Hanger ride as he and other Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 22, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Letalie Faatau works on assembling the Construction Zone ride as he and other Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 22, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Kristian Seward catches a stuffed animal at the Hoop Shoot booth as he and other Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 22, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Fur Rondy announced the launch of the 2013 Fur Rondy pin Thursday, November 8, 2012. The design, created by Harlan Legare, features a snowy owl in flight. According to John McCleary, president of Greater Anchorage, Inc. Board of Directors, “There’s no better bird so well adapted to life in the Arctic than the snowy owl. A perfect fit for Fur Rondy, the premier winter festival in the nation!” Mr. Legare, a retired hydraulic engineer, is a local artist who first came to Alaska in 1964. He has designed three previous Fur Rondy pins as well as two Rondy parade floats. Harlan states “I chose the Snowy Owl for my design in part because their majestic appearance in flight is a sight to behold; they well represent the mystique of the arctic.” Fur Rondy relies on the proceeds from pins and merchandise sales to operate the winter festival. Fur Rondy is also partners with over 75 non-profits who sell Fur Rondy pins and keep a portion of the sales for their own non-profit work.
Unknown
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Guy Urban, left, and Johnathan Jones get into the Rondy spirit as they work on an entry for the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013. The Anchorage Fur Rondy Festival begins on Friday, Feb. 22, and runs though Sunday, Mar. 3. The snow sculptures will be on display at Ship Creek, across from the Comfort Inn. Official judging and awards ceremony will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24.
Bill Roth
Eric Oxnam of the city Parks and Recreation Department meticulously shovels snow blown into two covered stairways connecting West Third Avenue with West First Avenue Thursday morning Feb. 21, 2013 downtown. "No tractor is going to take care of this," he said of the labor-intensive shoveling, and the snow was too firm to use a blower. Keeping the stairs open is important, he added, because "It's the way to Rondy and the way to the railroad."
Erik Hill
BILL ROTH / Anchorage Daily News Fur Rondy Queen Shayla Silva, left, and Princesses Sierra Begich Slade, middle, and Avery Kristiansen, right, at the finish of the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship Sled Dog Race on Sunday, Feb., 24, 2013.
Bill Roth
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The 2013 Fur Rondy fireworks explode in the sky over the Golden Wheel Amusement carnival rides on the bluff in downtown Anchorage on Saturday night, February 23, 2013. 130223
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The 2013 Fur Rondy fireworks explode in the sky over the Golden Wheel Amusement carnival rides on the bluff in downtown Anchorage on Saturday night, February 23, 2013. 130223
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The 2013 Fur Rondy fireworks explode in the sky over the Golden Wheel Amusement carnival rides on the bluff in downtown Anchorage on Saturday night, February 23, 2013. 130223
Bob Hallinen
BOB HALLINEN / Anchorage Daily News The 2013 Fur Rondy fireworks explode in the sky over the Golden Wheel Amusement carnival rides on the bluff in downtown Anchorage on Saturday night, February 23, 2013. 130223
Bob Hallinen
Nursing student and outgoing Miss Fur Rondy Queen Stephanie Peterkin, left, crowned Shayla Silva, 24, right, an economics major at UAA, the new Miss Fur Rondy Queen on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. Princesses Avery Kristiansen and Sierra Begich Slade, center, will join the Queen as goodwill ambassadors for the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous, a 10-day winter festival which starts on Feb. 22 and runs through Mar. 3. The three young ladies severing as Fur Rondy royalty are life-long Alaskans.
Bill Roth
Shirley and Doug Iverson were elected from within the membership of the Pioneers of Alaska to be the Queen and King Regents during the Anchorage Fur Rendezvous winter festival on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2013. The Iverson's were high school sweethearts and have been married 57 years. Shirlry moved to Alaska in 1952, and Doug has lived in Alaska since 1947.
Bill Roth
John Davenport Jr. and Kelly McClusky assemble the Cliff Hanger ride as he and other Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 22, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Letalie Faatau works on assembling the Construction Zone ride as he and other Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 22, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Kristian Seward catches a stuffed animal at the Hoop Shoot booth as he and other Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 22, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Fur Rondy announced the launch of the 2013 Fur Rondy pin Thursday, November 8, 2012. The design, created by Harlan Legare, features a snowy owl in flight. According to John McCleary, president of Greater Anchorage, Inc. Board of Directors, “There’s no better bird so well adapted to life in the Arctic than the snowy owl. A perfect fit for Fur Rondy, the premier winter festival in the nation!” Mr. Legare, a retired hydraulic engineer, is a local artist who first came to Alaska in 1964. He has designed three previous Fur Rondy pins as well as two Rondy parade floats. Harlan states “I chose the Snowy Owl for my design in part because their majestic appearance in flight is a sight to behold; they well represent the mystique of the arctic.” Fur Rondy relies on the proceeds from pins and merchandise sales to operate the winter festival. Fur Rondy is also partners with over 75 non-profits who sell Fur Rondy pins and keep a portion of the sales for their own non-profit work.
Unknown
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Golden Wheel Amusement Workers assemble carnival rides and booths in downtown Anchorage, AK on Tuesday, February 19, 2013. The 2013 Anchorage Fur Rondy festivities start on Friday, February 19, 2013.
Bob Hallinen
Guy Urban, left, and Johnathan Jones get into the Rondy spirit as they work on an entry for the GCI Snow Sculpture Competition on Monday, Feb. 18, 2013. The Anchorage Fur Rondy Festival begins on Friday, Feb. 22, and runs though Sunday, Mar. 3. The snow sculptures will be on display at Ship Creek, across from the Comfort Inn. Official judging and awards ceremony will be at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 24.
Bill Roth
Eric Oxnam of the city Parks and Recreation Department meticulously shovels snow blown into two covered stairways connecting West Third Avenue with West First Avenue Thursday morning Feb. 21, 2013 downtown. "No tractor is going to take care of this," he said of the labor-intensive shoveling, and the snow was too firm to use a blower. Keeping the stairs open is important, he added, because "It's the way to Rondy and the way to the railroad."
Erik Hill

A Fur Rondy without sled dog races might seem hard to imagine, but it almost came to that. All through January, Rondy organizers worried that the festival mainstay would be canceled due to a lack of snow. It's happened before, but not often -- five times since 1946.

Then the festival got a helping hand from Mother Nature. The race is on, with the Fur Rendezvous Open World Championship starting noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The sled dog teams will start at Fourth Avenue and D Street and wind their way through town. And of course, the biggie is Saturday, March 2, with the ceremonial start of the Iditarod downtown.

But in the week leading up to that, the 78th annual Fur Rondy offers a mix of old traditions and recently added staples. Here's a look at some of the best of the old and new.

Running of the Reindeer

It may be one of the newer quirks of the fest, but the Running of the Reindeer wasted no time becoming arguably the main attraction. You can sign up for the sixth annual race down Fourth Avenue at furrondy.net. Registration fee is $25, and you can sign up for one of three "herds": guys, gals and couples/groups. The races start 4 p.m. Saturday, March 2. Bib pickup is 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday and Friday, March 1, at Rondy Headquarters and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on race day at Platinum Jaxx. Now would be a pretty good time to start picking out a ridiculous costume to wear while fleeing those antlers.

Yukigassen

An even newer addition is Yukigassen, the Capture the Flag/snowball fight imported from Japan. Last year the team competition moved from the Delaney Park Strip to its new home at the Hilltop Ski area. Team registration has been extened online through today, furrondy.net. Check out the co-ed, men's and high school teams 8:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. The Rondy competition also serves as the U.S. Yukigassen championship, with the winner of the men's tournament eligible to represent the United States in the Yukigassen World Championship in Japan. The previous two winners haven't been able to make the trek, but this year could be the year Fur Rondy finds a world champion.

Alaska Trappers Association Fur Auction

Of course, the reason this whole thing got started 78 years ago was because this was when trappers in the Bush came to town to sell their wares. Now we have the Alaska Trappers Association Fur Auction. Place your bids 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and March 2 at Rondy Central, Third Avenue and E Street.

Fur Rondy Melodrama

This year the Alaska Sound Celebration presents "Turnagain Temptations" as its Fur Rondy Melodrama, a stage production about a schoolteacher who misinterprets a help-wanted ad in the local newspaper. That leads to mistaken identities and what's promised to be plenty of double entendres. Show times at Snow Goose Theatre are 8 p.m. Friday, Thursday and March 1; 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday and March 2; 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday and March 3. Tickets are $18-$23, with a $2 discount for seniors, youth and military. Visit centertix.net for info.

Big Air Snowboarding Demo

If you find yourself downtown Saturday checking out the carnival at Third Avenue and E Street, hop off the Ferris wheel and stroll to the Big Air Snowboarding Demo down the hill. Freestyle boarders will hit the ramp and test gravity just before the Rondy fireworks show. The demo gets under way 5 p.m., with the fireworks taking place sometime after 6 p.m.

Outhouse Races

Want to see teams of five push makeshift outhouses on skis down the street while in costume? Of course you do. Aside from trophies handed out based on the race results, awards will be presented for Best Theme, Most Colorful, People's Choice, Cleanest, Most Realistic, Best Engineered and Best Architecture. Watch the potty-sleds avoid being No. 2 in head-to-head heats down Fourth Avenue between E and F streets beginning 4 p.m. Saturday.

Miners and Trappers Charity Ball

Get decked out and head to the Egan Center for this local charity fundraiser, and guys, if it's been a while since your last shave, you might look to enter the Mr. Fur Face Contest, Alaska's beard and mustache championship. Tickets for the ball are $30, available at furrondy.net (21 and older).

These events just skim the surface of the two-week winter festival, the full schedule is available here. You can also check furrondy.net for full details on happenings like the giant Charlotte Jensen Native Arts Market at the Dimond Center, the snow sculptures at Ship Creek, snowshoe softball at Kosinski Field (16th Avenue and Cordova Street) and Saturday's Rondy Grand Parade.


By Matt Sullivan
msullivan@adn.com