Alaska Life

10 highlights during the first weekend of the Alaska State Fair

The 2023 Alaska State Fair kicks off Friday in Palmer. The fair runs until Sept. 4, but takes off Tuesday and Wednesday each week.

The fair has all of the old favorites — great food, vendors, exhibits and more — but fairgoers can typically find new ventures each year, as well. This time around, there’s a new perk: General fair parking has been waived for 2023 and 2024.

Here are 10 things worth checking out in the first weekend of the fair, plus information on the major acts performing each night at the Borealis Theatre’s main stage.


907 Wrestling: 6 p.m. at Holland America Princess (HAP) Events Tent

Start off your fair experience with a double ax-handle or a duplex. 907 Wrestling brings its show to the fair, featuring champion Jerry Bishop with The Reckoning, the Midnight Sun Champion Gunnar, Team Payne, Top Tier Talent, Aurora Rayne, Rena Leo, Palmer’s own Cannonball Burt Ringo and the popular Bobcat McDillon.

Acilquq Dancers: 3:30 p.m. at The Gathering Place

Check out this traditional Yup’ik song and dance troupe from the Yukon-Kuskokwim Delta.


Kozak Ukrainian Dancers: 2:15, 4:15 and 6:30 p.m. at the Alyeska Pipeline Colony Stage (same times/location on Saturday, Sunday and Monday)

This performance features original instruments and costumes, authentic music and dances led by Ukrainian-born choreographer Nadiya Lemega.

[3 things to do in Anchorage this weekend: Greek Fest, Run Fest and Latin Dance Fest]


Silent Disco: 6 p.m. at Holland America Princess (HAP) Events Tent

Do you need to hear the Bee Gees blaring through the speakers to have a real disco? The answer is no. For this event, the party is in the headphones. Fairgoers can put on a pair of glowing headphones and dance to their own beat. Each set of headphones has three channels. The all-ages event runs until 10 p.m.

Lithia Ram Timed Event Championships Rodeo: 2 p.m. at MTA Grandstand (also 2 p.m. Sunday)

Top cowboys and cowgirls from across the country congregate at the fairgrounds to compete for $10,000 in cash and prizes. This family-friendly event features team ropers, breakaway ropers and barrel racers.


Alaska Dogs Gone Wild: 2 and 4 p.m. at Channel 2 & CBS 5 Corral

Alaska’s first flyball club is nearly 20 years old. Not familiar with flyball? It was invented in California in the 1970s and is a team sport for dogs, a cross between a relay and a hurdle race. Each race has two teams with four dogs apiece.

Duct Tape Contest: 2 p.m. at SBS Woodlot

Are you the da Vinci of duct tape? Participants have 15 minutes to create their masterpiece. Or you can bring a pre-made duct tape delight. There are prizes available in both categories and anyone can enter. Registration starts at 1:30 p.m.

USA Powerlifting Ronnie Burnett Memorial Meet: 1 p.m. at Holland America Princess (HAP) Events Tent

USA Powerlifting brings together the strongest — quite literally — competitors in the state for this competition, which is dedicated to Ronnie Burnett, the first inductee into the USA Powerlifting Alaska Hall of Fame 2018.


Buddy Day: 11 a.m. Fair Midway

Monday is Buddy Day. What is Buddy Day, you ask? It’s an opportunity to save on both admission and rides. First, pick up a Coca-Cola Buddy Day coupon at any Holiday Station store. Then when you present the coupon at the gate, you get a second admission for the price of one. And when you buy your ticket to ride, your buddy rides for free as well.

49th State Street Rodders: 1 p.m. at Holland America Princess (HAP) Events Tent

Vroom vroom, this group is a family-oriented crew of enthusiasts that promote safety in street rodding.


This week’s main stage Borealis Theatre concerts

• Friday: Kyle Nix & 38′s, the fiddler player for the Turnpike Troubadours plays a free (with fair admission) benefit show. A voluntary donation can be made at the gate with all proceeds going to the Mat-Su Animal Shelter. Concert at 7 p.m.; free admission.

• Saturday: Turnpike Troubadours, country rockers from Oklahoma. Concert 7 p.m.; doors open 5:30 p.m.; tickets cost $59/$79.

• Sunday: Noah Kahan, indie-folk pop tunes. Concert 6 p.m.; doors open at 4:30 p.m.; tickets cost $43/$49.

• Monday: For King + Country, positive gospel pop. Concert 7 p.m.; doors open at 5:30 p.m.; tickets cost $45/$79.

Chris Bieri

Chris Bieri is the sports and entertainment editor at the Anchorage Daily News.