Alaska Life

Here’s your guide to Alaska’s summer fairs and festivals in 2022

Even though it’s felt like summer for much of May, Memorial Day weekend usually signals the unofficial start to the season in Alaska. For many, summer means fishing, camping and plenty of time in the outdoors. But it also means attending the festivals and fairs sprinkled throughout the 49th state.

From Kodiak to Chicken and points in between, here’s a guide to 2022 summer festivals happening across Alaska.

Crab Fest: Kodiak, May 26-30

The Kodiak Crab Fest and Parade includes five days of activities and events to celebrate the community in Kodiak. The parade will be on Saturday, May 28, but there will be live music, contests and activities all day, every day from Thursday until Monday.

Trapper Creek Bluegrass Festival: Trapper Creek, May 27-29

The Trapper Creek Bluegrass Festival, hosted at Boot’s Bison Ranch, is a weekend of folk fun and bluegrass music. Attendance will be limited and tickets are $100, which includes camping for all three days.

Great Alaska Craft Beer and Home Beer Festival: Haines, May 27-28 (Sold out)

The Great Alaska Beerfest features beer from all over Alaska and the Yukon. Friday will be the home brew contest (registration required; not open to the public), and Saturday will start with the Slammin’ Salmon Fun Run, followed by the beer tasting. Don’t forget to bring cash for food.

Spenard Jazz Fest: Anchorage, May 31-June 5

The 15th annual Spenard Jazz Fest will be an opportunity to experience up-and-coming local artists, as well as see professionals from within and outside the jazz community. Tickets are available for purchase for individual concerts, but members get free and discounted concert admission. There will be a week of music and shows, including free First Friday concerts June 3 at the Anchorage Museum.

Sun Lit AK Music Festival: Fairbanks, June 2-4

The Sun Lit AK Music Festival will be an all-day event at Growden Memorial Park featuring local and national bands like Dan Kelly of Fortunate Youth, Bikini Trill, Matt Lewis Band, and Matt Hopper and the Roman Candles. There will also be food trucks, vendors, performing arts, and of course, beer and cocktails from HooDoo, Goldies, and Arctic Harvest. Tickets start at $30.

Yakutat Tern Festival: Yakutat, June 2-5

The 11th annual Yakutat Tern Festival is a celebration of Yakutat, art, and the one of the largest nesting colonies of Aleutian terns, Arctic terns and the rest of the huge variety of bird species that nest in or near Yakutat. There will be four days of family-friendly activities and events, and although there are no registration fees this year, you should RSVP on the website ahead of time.

Sitka Music Festival: Sitka, June 3-26

Are you a fan of chamber music and classical performances? There are already 18 concerts scheduled for the Sitka Music Festival’s 51st season this year. Check out their website for tickets and more information.

3 Barons Renaissance Fair: Anchorage, June 4-5 and 11-12

The 3 Barons Renaissance Fair will be in Anchorage for two weekends this year, with plenty of crafts, activities, contests, food, and much more. General admission tickets are $10.

Sun Lit AK Music Festival: Fairbanks, June 4

The inaugural edition of this music festival takes place at Growden Memorial Park, with Matt Hopper and the Roman Candles, Bikini Trill and Matt Lewis Band as some of the musical options. The festival goes from noon to midnight and will also have local vendors, beer and food.

Sealaska Heritage Celebration: Juneau, June 8-11

The Sealaska Celebration is a gathering of Southeast Alaska Native peoples, with thousands of attendees every year. Celebration is a gathering and, of course, celebration of Alaska Native culture and heritage, with art shows, dancing, regalia, art markets, food contests, and more! The theme for the 2022 Sealaska Heritage Celebration is “10,000 Years of Cultural Survival.” The Shx’at Kwáan (People Near the Mainland) and Kaasitlaan Dancers, both of Wrangell, are the two lead dance groups for Celebration 2022. Ticket sales begin Monday, June 6. Vaccines and masks will be mandatory.

Colony Days: Palmer, June 10-12

Colony Days is Palmer’s summer celebration for the whole family. There will be races and contests, carnivals, farmers markets and much much more. Check out their website for your opportunity to win prizes in cornhole, or perhaps by baking with rhubarb.

Chickenstock: Chicken, June 10-11 (Sold out)

Woodstock is out, Chickenstock is in! The 16th annual Chickenstock Music Festival will feature Alaskan artists, local foods and craft brews, games, crafts and plenty more to fill the weekend. Go ahead and see how things are done in Chicken, Alaska.

Kenai River Festival: Soldotna, June 10-12

Soldotna Creek Park will be home to booths, crafts, swag, and live music all weekend. Check out the Kids’ Zone, browse the Alaska Artisan Market, graze from food vendors and more.

Last Frontier Theatre Conference: Valdez, June 11-18

Theater kids, unite: Prince William Sound College is hosting the annual Last Frontier Theatre Conference in Valdez. Programs include the Fringe Festival and the Monologue Workshop. Register on their website now.

Seldovia Summer Solstice Music Festival: Seldovia, June 16-19

The Seldovia Music Festival will have artist workshops, buskers, open mics, bonfire jams and more. It’s a celebration of Alaska summer, the endless days of solstice and the beauty of Kachemak Bay.

Moose Pass Summer Solstice Festival: Moose Pass, June 17-19

Moose Pass will have vendors, music, art, food, and fun for summer solstice. Celebrate the sunlight in Moose Pass.

Sundown Solstice Festival: Anchorage, June 17-19

Williwaw Social is hosting a huge music festival for the summer solstice this year. The outdoor stage at Sixth Avenue and F Street will be home to concerts, food vendors and all-around fun for three days straight. There will be an under-21 section within full view of the stage, as well as a 21-and-over wet section. The festival includes shows by rapper A$AP Ferg, electronic duo Hippie Sabotage and local artists like Frozen Founders and Bethlehem Shalom. Tickets start at $79.

Nikiski Days Family Fun in the Midnight Sun: Nikiski, June 18

The Family Fun in the Midnight Sun Festival is Nikiski’s annual solstice festival! The day starts at 10 a.m. with a 5k fun run, followed by door prizes at 12 p.m. There will be kayaks, patio furniture, grills, and more to give away, and the drawings will continue throughout the day. After the run, check out the carnival games, face painting, and vendors!

Midnight Sun Festival: Fairbanks, June 18

Fairbanks knows how to celebrate solstice right. There will be 12 hours of entertainment for the thousands of people who pack downtown Fairbanks to enjoy the longest day of the year. Head north for live music, games and vendors galore.

Juneteenth: Fairbanks, June 18

The Fairbanks chapter of the NAACP is hosting a cultural celebration on June 18 for Juneteenth. The celebration will be from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. at Allridge Park in Fairbanks. Stop by for food, to browse vendors, and enjoy the various cultural presentations.

Juneteenth: Anchorage, June 19

Juneteenth, or June 19, is a commemoration of the end of slavery in the United States. Juneteenth will be recognized in Anchorage during a gathering at the Delaney Park Strip, with adjacent events happening around the city.

Scottish Highland Games: Palmer, June 25-26

The Alaska Scottish Highland Games are a celebration of Scottish heritage and traditions. Stop by the Alaska State Fairgrounds to compete in the games or to spectate. There will also be traditional music and of course, food. Discounted advance tickets are available now.

Kachemak Bay Highland Games: Homer, July 2-3

The Scottish Highland Games in Palmer will be followed by the Kachemak Bay Highland Games in Homer, just in case you can’t get your fill of fiddles and kilts! Not only will there be traditional games and contests, but there will also be clinics for those new to the games held at Karen Hornaday Park, as well as vendors, food trucks, and lots of Scottish pride. Sunday will include an award ceremony and a potluck for athletes and their families. Tickets are $10 each day.

Forest Fair: Girdwood, July 1-3

The annual Forest Fair in Girdwood is all about local art and artists, hand-crafted and homemade goods, and the gathering of the community of Girdwood. Parking is limited, so car pooling is encouraged, and there will be a shuttle. There is no admission fee, no dogs, no politics and no religious orders. Public camping is prohibited during the Forest Fair.

Fourth of July and Mount Marathon: Seward, July 1-4

There might not be a better Alaska summer duo than the town of Seward and the Fourth of July. Seward will be full of high spirits, festival booths, fireworks and slightly out-of-their-mind athletes on the weekend of the Fourth. Mount Marathon, the annual footrace up and back down the steep and rocky slopes, will be taking place on Monday, July 4.

Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival: Fairbanks, July 3-31

Throughout the month of July, there will be over 200 workshops and events in Fairbanks for the Summer Arts Festival. Registration is now open.

Rock’n the Ranch at the RustyRavin: Kenai, July 8-9

This music festival, headlined by local bands like Blackwater Railroad Company and Roland Roberts Band, is a great place to check out Alaskan talent, eat great food, and hang out. There will be vendors and booths, a beer garden, and plenty of space to kick back, relax, and enjoy the music!

Bear Paw Festival: Chugiak-Eagle River, July 13-17

The Bear Paw festival is a great way for the Chugiak and Eagle River community to come together and celebrate summer. The vendor court is full, so there will plenty of food and merchandise to browse, and there will be carnival rides Thursday through Sunday. There is also a raffle to win two Alaska Airlines tickets.

Copper River Salmon Jam: Cordova, July 15-16

The Copper River Salmon Jam will have music raising money for the arts in Cordova, Salmon Runs to get you moving, kids activities, and of course, salmon cooked every which way. Check out the Salmon Jam to support the community in Cordova in whichever way best suits you.

Golden Days: Fairbanks, July 23

The celebration of the founding of Fairbanks dates back to 1952 and touts events for all ages. Included in the 2022 edition is the biggest parade in Alaska, a street fair and a rubber ducky race along the Chena River.

Back to Bluegrass Festival: McGrath, July 23-24

This annual festival supports KSKO, the local radio station. This year’s festival features Nothin’ But Trouble, Todd Grebe and Cold Country plus Wave Train featuring Jim and Mary Odden.

Bearfest: Wrangell, July 27- August 1

The Wrangell Bearfest is dedicated to... you guessed it - bears! There will be cultural events, art workshops, food, games, and even a marathon. You know what they say: the best defense against a bear is to be faster than your buddy (for legal reasons, this is a joke). The marathon is August 1, and there will also be a 5k walk and a half-marathon. There is even a pasta dinner the night before to carb load! The marathon costs $50 to enter until July 31, and on the day of the event registration will cost $65. The half-marathon costs $25 ($35 on race day) and the 5k is free, as long as you register early ($15 to register on race day).

Southeast Alaska State Fair: Haines, July 28-31

The Fair has loads of showcases, contests and competitions, from horseshoes to a parade and a wearable art review. Entertainment options include Skagway band New Twin and magical entertainer Andrew Nadon, who also hails from Skagway. Blackwater Railroad Company and the Lack Family also provide musical options at the fair.

Arctic Thunder: Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, July 30-31

The Arctic Thunder Open House is a way for Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson (JBER) to give back to the local community. JBER will host events and displays, opening their doors to the public for one weekend every other year. There will be military aerial displays, including the Thunderbirds, the U.S. Air Force Demonstration Team, and airshows all weekend long. There will also be vendors, food and drink, and more!

Gold Rush Days: Valdez, August 3-7

The Gold Rush Days celebration in Valdez is a way to honor the past, present, and future of the town. There will be vendors and fundraising, and most importantly, rides on the Hoosegow, Gold Rush Days’ traveling prison cart! Check the website for more information as the festival date approaches.

Salmonfest: Ninilchik, Aug. 5-7

Headliners include Umphrey’s McGee, Shakey Graves and Rising Appalachia. Salmonfest is a three-day annual music festival held in Ninilchik, centered around fish, love, and music. There will be concerts, a smoked salmon super bowl, activities and games for the whole family. Tickets start at $85, and there will be free shuttle between nearby campgrounds and the festival grounds.

Blueberry Arts Festival: Ketchikan, Aug. 5-7

The Ketchikan Blueberry Arts Festival is an annual celebration of arts that has been taking place in Ketchikan since 1975. On Friday, the festival will be opened by the Pet and Doll Parade, followed by the opening of the Blueberry Arts Exhibit at the Main Street Gallery, and then the festival is on! Booths will be open downtown from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday, while live music graces the mainstage, and events take place all over town. Sunday will see the Handmade Human Powered Blueberry Boat Race and the Richard Brautigan, Dick Whittaker, and Lillian Ference Memorial Trout Fishing in America Poetry Slam to close out the festivities.

Alaska Soulfest: Kenai, Aug. 12-14

The Alaska Soulfest will be a full moon celebration, with yoga, music, vendors and booths. There will be locally sourced foods, sound baths, hemp demonstrations and more. Early bird tickets start at $75.

Galway Days Irish Festival: Anchorage, Aug. 13

The Galway Days Irish Festival is a free event in downtown Anchorage at Town Square Park outside the Performing Arts Center. There will be Irish music playing live all day, as well as Irish dancers and buskers throughout the park. Tents and booths include a children’s activity tent, lectures and workshops on Irish culture and history, a genealogy tent, vendors, food, a bake sale, and much much more.

Alaska Greek Festival: Anchorage, Aug. 19-21

The Alaska Greek Festival delivers some of the most delicious Greek food in Alaska like homemade gyros, souvlaki and pastries for just one weekend every year. The festival also includes a bookstore with imported Mediterranean and Orthodox items and a live Greek folk band.

Alaska State Fair: Palmer, Aug. 19-Sept. 5

The Alaska State Fair is an annual tradition featuring concerts, rides, games, vendors and food. Featured artists include Caamp, Chris Janson, Toby Mac, Rise Against, Barenaked Ladies and more. There will also be contests and exhibits in art, photography, crafts, crops, flowers and livestock. Tickets available now.

Mountain Music Festival: Girdwood, August 27

The Mountain Music Festival is held on top of the tram at Alyeska on August 27. Stay tuned for more information.

Alaska Outdoor Brewfest: Anchorage, August 27

Alaska Craft Brew and Barleywine Festival is back with a summer edition, outdoor festival at the Delaney Park Strip in August! There will be craft brews from Alaska’s biggest breweries, all in one place. Tickets will be on sale soon: $50 for the day session (12 p.m.-3 p.m.), $55 for the night session (6 p.m. - 9 p.m.), and $10 to be a designated driver.

Fungus Fair: Girdwood, Sept. 3-4

The 15th annual Girdwood Fungus Fair will be back this year with opportunities for education and appreciation of Alaska’s fungi and forests. More information available in July.

Fungus Festival: Cordova, Sept. 9-11

Cordova’s 16th annual Fungus Festival will be all about foraging and discovering the hidden treasures of the earth. There will be educational opportunities, workshops, kids activities, and more. More information available closer to the event.

Seward Music and Arts Festival: Seward, TBA

The Seward Music and Arts Festival is a downtown festival and celebration of the music and arts community in Alaska. It’s also the best way to wrap up a happy summer of community and festivals. Check the website for updates.

Did we miss your favorite Alaskan fair or festival? Email nstock@adn.com and let us know!

Naomi Stock

Naomi Stock is a spring 2022 reporting intern for the Anchorage Daily News and a University of Alaska Anchorage journalism student.

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