Alaska Life

Solstice parties, outdoor shows and Juneteenth: It’s all happening this weekend

This is always the time of year when it feels like everyone is coming out from under a rock. But after the winter we’ve had, solstice just feels different. “The events are back, the restaurants are back, the people are back. Downtown Anchorage is back!” Anna Brawley wrote in letter to the editor recently. Here are some highlights coming up:

Downtown Anchorage Solstice Festival

Noon-6 p.m. Saturday, downtown

This festival is taking over downtown with loads of live music, dancing, kids activities, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament, beer gardens and a sober garden — even a car and motorcycle show. Expect plenty of street closures.

For the full schedule and map, see Here’s some of what’s going on:

Town Square Park — Underground Dance Company performance (noon-1 p.m.), salsa dancing (1-4 p.m.), live music from Emma Hill (4:30-6 p.m.), sober garden hosted by Recover Alaska featuring summery drinks.

Peratrovich Park — Kid-friendly activities and music: hula hoops, bubble tower, yard games (noon-6 p.m.), Timbre Music Studios performance (1-3 p.m.), Underground Dance Company workshop (3-3:30 p.m.)


E Street between Fourth and Fifth avenues— Cider garden by Double Shovel (12-6 p.m.), free photo booth (noon-6 p.m.), The Wiley Post Band (3-5 p.m.)

G Street between Third and Fifth avenues: 9th Army Band (noon-2 p.m.) and Dawn McClain (4-6 p.m.); COVID-19 vaccine clinic (starts at noon); games and art activities hosted by Sevigny Studio (noon-6 p.m.); master knitter Jacoba Toussain demonstrates Qiviut yarn knitting at Wooly Mammoth (12:30-4 p.m.)

Behind City Hall on Seventh Avenue and F Street: 3-on-3 basketball tournament (register for the tournament online)

East Anchorage afterparty at Fourth Avenue and Gambell Street: Live music from Nothin’ But Trouble (6-8 p.m.), Taco Truck (5-9 p.m.), small car and motorcycle show

Big Head Todd and the Monsters outdoor show

6 p.m.-12 a.m. Saturday at the corner of Sixth Avenue and F Street (outside Williwaw)

Organizers at Williwaw and Steamdot say they expect 1,500 concertgoers downtown for a Saturday Solstice show headlined by rock group Big Head Todd and the Monsters.

Those unfamiliar with the band will probably recognize Big Head Todd’s ’93 hits “Broken Hearted Savior” or “Bittersweet.” The group does the kind of blues/country/jam band-inflected rock that plays well against 11 p.m. daylight and Alaska craft beer. Local acts Alaska Thunder Funk and SunDog will open.

Tickets $40 advance, $45 day of. Doors open at 6 p.m.

Juneteenth Citywide Celebration

1-6 p.m. Saturday, Northway Mall, 101 Penland Parkway

“It felt fitting that we would take Juneteenth to the next level this year,” Jasmin Smith, assistant chair of the Juneteenth planning committee, said about this year’s festival. There will be speakers and proclamations, entertainment, dance competitions, vendors, bounce houses and more at this Juneteenth celebration. At 3 p.m. there will be a “Say Their Name” drum circle led by sound artist Gail Jackson. Free to attend. In downtown, the Anchorage Museum will be offering free admission for the day. Visit Juneteenth Anchorage’s website for more.

Grand opening of the Broken Blender

Noon-10 p.m. Saturday, 535 W. Third Ave.

The spot on Third Avenue (formerly Brown Bag Sandwich Co., and before that, The Woodshed) has now been reinvented and reopened as the Broken Blender. They’re hosting a pig roast to celebrate, with live music from Nothing But Karma. Rumor has it their old-fashioneds and mac and cheese are legit. Check out their Facebook page for details.

Victoria Barber

Victoria Barber was formerly the features editor at the Anchorage Daily News and is an occasional contributor.