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Alaska State Fair train service this weekend and fireworks show both canceled

The first Alaska Railroad fair train of the 2005 season waits at the South Palmer Station outside the state fairgrounds after arriving on Friday, August 26, 2005. (Stephen Nowers / ADN archive)

The Alaska State Fair will no longer have trains to carry fairgoers to and from the fairgrounds in Palmer this weekend, and the fair’s fireworks show has also been canceled.

Service for all four fair trains, which were scheduled to run between Anchorage and Palmer on Saturday and Sunday, has been canceled “due to resources stretched thin by ongoing weather and wildfire challenges,” the Alaska Railroad Co. said in an email Friday.

The railroad has seen its service interrupted several times this week because of rock slides, flooding and wildfire.

“These conditions have impacted the track infrastructure. High water and fire threats persist, putting additional strain on resources through the weekend, and possibly into next week. As a result, the railroad would not be able to maintain regulatory compliance to operate the Fair Trains this weekend,” the railroad said.

All four 140-seat trains were full, the railroad said. The 560 passengers who bought tickets will be refunded. Fair train service over the Labor Day holiday weekend is expected to run as scheduled.

Ongoing drought conditions in Southcentral Alaska have also forced the fair to cancel its annual “Night of Fireworks” show scheduled for Saturday, Aug. 31.

The Alaska Fire Marshal’s Office cited “extreme fire danger conditions and a lack of fire mitigation resources” as the reason for the cancellation.

Hundreds of firefighters from multiple agencies are battling two major wildfires in the Matanuska-Susitna Borough, where the fair is held.

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