Here's a quick look at some of the hot happenings in the Anchorage area.
Bear Paw Festival
Eagle River's annual celebration is expected to draw 35,000 people for music, vendors, rides and events. The peak of the celebration comes at 10:30 a.m. Saturday with the Classic 5-ilomter run followed by the Grand Parade. Don't even think about parking in the business district. Park at VFW Post 9785 on the south side of town or at Fred Meyer on the north side and catch the Bear Paw Shuttle. The fun continues on Sunday.
Stories at the cemetery
A walking tour through Anchorage Memorial Park Cemetery with actors portraying some of the old graveyard's more colorful permanent residents. Just who was the "Alaskan Assassin?" Find out by coming to the John Bagoy gate at 7th Avenue and Cordova Street at 6 p.m. on Sunday. The event is free, but contributions are accepted to defray expenses.
A nationally known "American Celtic Punk" band will perform an all-ages outdoors show in Spenard on Saturday. You can probably find 'em by listening for the roar of the crowd, but if you want to catch the opening bands, come to the old Kut Rate Kid windmill at Chilkoot Charlie's when the gates open at 5 p.m. Admission is $38. (brownpapertickets.com)
Port of Anchorage tours Grab the kids and take a free family-friendly tour of Alaska's golden portal, where almost everything you eat, wear, watch or drive passes through. Park for free at 327 W. Ship Creek Ave. and catch the bus from the Alaska Railroad Headquarters Building 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday. Children under the age of 18 must be accompanied by an adult and all adults must show a valid government ID.
A short drive out of town
Palmer Midsummer Garden & Art Faire
10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Saturday on the Green in downtown Palmer. Live music and workshops on art, cooking, gardening and sustainable living. Join the Rhubarb Rumble by tasting special rhubarb dishes and beverages and cast your vote for the best recipe. (palmergardenandart.org)
Second Annual Palmer Weed Smackdown invites everyone to kill some of Alaska's most aggressive invaders. All ages can participate and win prizes. Show up at the Downtown Palmer Pavilion across from the library, 655 S. Valley Way, at 10 a.m. on Saturday. When you've bagged some bad plants, enjoy a free barbecue. (palmersoilandwater.org)
-- Mike Dunham
By MIKE DUNHAM