Bust out your collectors' pins and don your favorite fur (real or faux) — it's Fur Rondy time. Here are some of the highlights from the first weekend (to see a full schedule, check out furrondy.net/events).
World Open Championship Sled Dog Races
Get your dog-racing fix this weekend as sprint mushing teams run a 25-mile route for three days. The route begins in downtown Anchorage on the corner of Fourth Avenue and D Street, winds through the Anchorage trail system and loops the dog sled team back to downtown. Noon, Friday-Sunday, Fourth Avenue and D Street. Free.
Many — OK, maybe most — U.S. towns have carnivals now and then. Fewer have carnivals where people willingly pay to be flown through the frigid air in single-digit temperatures. Here, it's a Rondy tradition. The Fur Rondy carnival opens Friday and runs through March 5. Look for the Zipper, Gravitron and company at Third Avenue and E Street. See furrondy.net for times.
Parade and fireworks
Check out the restored cars, roller girls and others parade through downtown. 10:30 a.m., Saturday, Fifth Avenue.
Fireworks will be later that evening starting at 6:55 p.m. They'll be set off in downtown Anchorage (facing Ship Creek and the small boat harbor), so plan your vantage point accordingly.
Teams will build their own port-a-potties and outhouses, plop them on skis and race down Fourth Avenue. In additional to the usual awards categories, there will be honors bestowed on the most colorful, cleanest, most realistic and "best architecture." 4 p.m. Saturday, Fourth Avenue and E Street.
Frostbite Footrace 5K and 2.5K
Downtown Anchorage will be flooded with costumed runners hoofing it from the Fifth Avenue Skywalk (between the Egan Center and the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts) and the finish at Sixth Avenue and H Street. Check out the urban wildlife and cheer them along. Starts at 9:30 a.m. Saturday.
Hide and Horn Auction
A quintessential part of the Fur Rendezvous festival. The hides and horns for the auction were collected by the state Department of Fish and Game from animals that were killed accidentally, in self-defense or poached. Items will be available for viewing at 9 a.m. Noon-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Third Avenue and E Street. Free.
Snow sculpture competition
Let's face it — our winter weather has shown itself capable of veering into melty territory the last couple years. All the more reason to the check out the snow sculptures while they're in tiptop shape, aka Sunday, when the sculptures will be judged at 10 a.m. Awards are announced at noon that day. Otherwise, they are available for viewing from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. daily on Ship Creek Avenue, across from Comfort Inn.