Alaska Life

Last weekend of Fur Rendezvous brings Running of the Reindeer and more

Fur Rendezvous has been a staple of Anchorage winter life for nearly 90 years. Founded in 1935, the festival started as a celebration that coincided with miners and trappers coming to town to sell their wares. While Alaska’s trapping and sled dog racing lifestyles are still featured in the two-week event, there’s much more.

Here’s a look at some of the big events and traditional gatherings scheduled for Week 2 of the 2024 Fur Rondy, which runs through Sunday, March 3.

Week 2: Feb. 28 to March 3

Melodrama 2024: Alaska Sound Celebration members return Friday with this perennially sold-out show. “Wamcats of the Wild” is this year’s performance. The 33rd annual show runs from Feb. 23 through March 9 at the Heritage Theatre at 49th State Brewing. Tickets start at $25.

Fur Auction: With auctions on Saturday, Sunday and March 2, there are plenty of opportunities to put the fur in Fur Rendezvous. Presented by the Alaska Trappers Association, the auctions start at 11 a.m. on all three dates and are held at Third Avenue and E Street. The Alaska Department of Fish and Game gets into the mix on March 3 with its state horn and hide auction starting at noon.

Sled Dogs Downtown Scavenger Hunt & Auction: This event that runs Friday, Saturday and Sunday is a treasure hunt through the mushing district to locate 16 sled dogs decorated by 16 Alaska artists. Register online to participate. The auction runs through March 10.

Rondy Ice Bowling: This fun event covers both weekends, with play on Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. and March 2-3 at the same time. Cost for both kids and adults is $15, and the bowling will be held at 5227 Old Seward Highway (new Peanut Farm pond).

Blanket Toss: The Blanket Toss, an Alaska Native tradition, has been part of the Rondy festivities since 1950. The toss will be held March 1 from 3:30-5 p.m. and March 2 from 4-5:30 p.m. at the Carnival Lot located at Third Avenue and E Street.


Charlotte Jensen Native Arts Market: The market features Alaska Native artisans selling and demonstrating their art. It’s named after former Rondy president and Lady Trapper Charlotte Jensen. It runs at the Dimond Center from Feb. 28-March 2 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On March 3, it runs from noon until 5 p.m.

World Championship Outdoor Hockey Tournament: Running from Feb. 29-March 3, this tournament is played at the Bonnie Cusack Memorial outdoor ice rinks near the Ben Boeke Arena. Cost is $650 per adult team and $450 for youth division teams and registration closes on Feb. 26. There are divisions for women, youth, intermediate and elite players.

Fur Rondy Blizzard Bash: This outdoor concert on March 1 features The Alaska Glacier Blues and will be at the intersection of Sixth Avenue and F Street. The show runs from 6-9:30 p.m.

Great Alaska Talent Competition: The prelims are held on Friday, Feb. 23 (6-9 p.m.) and Saturday, Feb. 24 (noon-3 p.m.) at the Anchorage Museum. The main event is March 3 at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts at 4 p.m. During the finals, the crowd can vote on the “People’s Choice” award for $1 per vote.

Alaska Hold’em Tournament of Champions: Shuffle up and deal. This tournament is held on March 2 at noon at the Dena’ina Center. Ante up and see how you stack up against the state’s top poker players.

Running of the Reindeer: Nothing at Rondy is wilder than Alaska’s Wackiest Race, on March 2 at 4 p.m. The cost is $35 per person to scamper down Fourth Avenue between H and D streets. Register online.

Family Skate: Westchester Lagoon is the spot to get together on March 2 for the family skate from 1 to 4 p.m. And from 2:30-3:30 p.m. families can Skate With Critters.

Rondyfest Silent Disco: With plenty of vibes and three channels to choose from, this event at the Egan Center on March 2 should be a dance to remember. The disco runs 7-11 p.m. and tickets are limited to 300 and cost $35 each. If that’s not your scene, check out Rondyfest Polka Party, 6-11 p.m. on March 2 at the Egan Center. Tickets are $20 for attendees 16 and older and $10 for youths 15 and younger.

Alaska Cornhole Championships: Can anyone touch Chandler Jones? Jones has won the last three championships in both singles and doubles. Anyone who’s up to the challenge can register for the tournament, March 3 at Dimond Center mall. It’s $25 to enter singles and $50 per doubles team, or $30 and $60 the day of the event.

Ongoing events

Amateur Photo Contest: The contest has already been decided, but the showcase is just about to start. The winners and select exhibition photos will be shown at Midtown Mall, 600 E. Northern Lights Blvd., starting Friday and running through the festival.

Fur Rondy Carnival: With a selection of snacks and rides, the Rondy Carnival is a favorite of kids and adults alike. This Alaska tradition starts on Friday and runs daily through the end of the festival at Third Avenue and E Street. Friday is Kids Day and Feb. 29 is Military Appreciation Day.

Alaska State Snow Sculpture Championship: The snow sculptures are a favorite Rondy attraction. The creators do their work Feb. 17-25, with a champion being crowned after judging on Feb. 25. Viewing runs until March 4. The sculpture showcase is off Ship Creek Avenue across from Comfort Inn.

Chris Bieri

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