Fur Rondy starts this week -- giving Anchorage dwellers plenty of excuses to get out of the house for some quirky fun. There’s a packed schedule, but here are some highlights of the next two weeks (for a complete schedule, visit furrondy.net)
Alaska State Snow Sculpture Championship — Check out enormous sculptures carved from blocks of compressed snow. Judging will happen at 10 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, and you can cast your vote for the People’s Choice. Awards will be handed out at noon. After that, the sculptures will be on display 10 a.m.-10 p.m. throughout the entire event, Ship Creek, 111 W. Ship Creek Ave.
Charlotte Jensen Native Arts Market — More than 150 Alaska Native artisans will sell their works and demonstrate basket-weaving, dolls, beading, carving and more. 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, noon-5 p.m. Sunday, Dimond Center, 800 E. Dimond Blvd.
Rondy Carnival — Enjoy classic carnival festivities, including funnel cakes, Ferris wheels, caramel apples and the Gravitron. Noon-9 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, noon-8 p.m. Sunday, 3-9 p.m. Monday-Thursday, Third Ave. and E St.
Amateur Photo Contest — Winning photos and selected finalists will be on display throughout the Mall. 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturday, noon-6 p.m. Sunday, Midtown Mall, 600 E. Northern Lights Blvd.
Melodrama - “Goldsinger” — In this year’s melodrama, Aria Goldsinger’s lust for gold brings her to Alaska, where she will go to great lengths to get her hands on it. $24.75-$35. 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, Thursday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 2 and 6 p.m. Sunday, 49th State Brewing Company, 717 W. Third Ave.
Fur Auction — One of the original Fur Rendezvous events, South Central Chapter of the Alaska Trappers Association offers Alaska furs over two weekends. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. on both Saturday Feb. 23 and March 2. Third Ave. and E St.
WEEKEND 1: Feb. 22-24
Open World Championship Sled Dog Races — This race pits sprint mushing teams against each other over three days of the same 25-mile route for a total of 75 miles. The course winds through the city’s forests, across major roads and back downtown. Noon Friday-Sunday, Fourth Ave. and D St.
Jim Beam Jam — Kick off Rondy with spirits, appetizers and live music by the Ken Peltier Band. $30. 7 p.m. Friday, Egan Center, 555 W. Fifth Ave.
Frostbite Footrace & Costume Fun Run — The Frostbite Footrace offers two opportunities for fun: The Frostbite Footrace 5K and the 2.5K fun run, open to all ages and athletic abilities. The route begins at the Fifth Avenue Skywalk and finishes at Sixth Ave. and H St. An awards presentation will be held at the Glacier Brewhouse shortly after the race. $10-$150. 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Fifth Ave. and F St.
Snowshoe Softball Tournament — Hardy athletes will strap on snowshoes and play ball. $250. 8:45 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Kosinski Field, 201 E. 16th Ave.
The Alaska Railroad Fur Rondy Express — All aboard this family-friendly celebration of Fur Rondy for a 2 1/2 hour round-trip journey along the Turnagain Arm. Enjoy fun activities like Alaska Native Heritage Center dancers and drummers, crafts, music and more along the way. $36-$71. 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 3-5:30 p.m. Saturday, Anchorage Train Depot, 411 W. First Ave.
BP Rondy Grand Parade — Bring the family, a thermos of hot cocoa and cheer on Rondy royalty, Rondy Bear, nifty cars and more. 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Fifth and Sixth Ave.
Minors and Nappers — There will be trapper-themed activities throughout the museum for toddlers and their families. Pan for gold, dress up for a photo booth and design a Rondy-inspired pin. 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Anchorage Museum, 625 C St.
Freez-N-Fizz Ice Cream and Root Beer Chugging Contest — Who can eat ice cream and chug root beer the fastest? There will be complimentary root beer and cream soda for the cheering gallery. 2 p.m. Saturday, Glacier Brewhouse parking lot, 737 W. Fifth Ave. #110
Big Fat Ride — Join hundreds of other fat-tire bikers on a beginner-friendly ride across Anchorage. Make your way from downtown to Westchester Lagoon for a party with DJ Doug White, food from the Slice of Heaven Food Truck and hot chocolate from REI. After warming up, head to the finish line at Beartooth. 3:15-5:45 p.m. Saturday. Starts at Fourth Ave. between F and E St.
Outhouse Races — Teams are busting out the porta-potties and heading down to Fourth Ave. The race course will be a two-lane course with two teams racing each other down and back around a pylon. 4 p.m. Saturday, Fourth Ave. and E St.
Blanket Toss — An Alaska Native tradition, the blanket toss joined the festival in 1950 and is a signature event of Rondy and Alaska. 4-5:30 p.m. Saturday, Third and E St.
Fireworks Extravaganza — Fireworks will be set off at 6:55 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 23 from Downtown Anchorage (facing Ship Creek and the Small Boat Harbor). Free. The Bridge will have a party to celebrate, with special menu, live auction action and great view of the pyrotechnics. $60. 6-10:30 p.m. Saturday, Bridge Seafood Restaurant, 221 W. Ship Creek Ave.
Rondy Dash — This scavenger hunt gives teams of up to four people 90 minutes to reach as many checkpoints as they can, which are a combination of downtown businesses and Fur Rondy events and exhibits, as possible before returning to Town Square Park. Prizes will be awarded to best costume, and anyone who completes the scavenger hunt within the given time will be entered to win the grand prize of four round-trip tickets anywhere Alaska Airlines flies. 10 a.m. Sunday, Town Square Park, Sixth and E St.
Hide and Horn Auction — Items up for auction include many different types of hides along with horns and antlers -- all from animals that were illegally poached, killed accidentally or in self-defense or became a threat. Noon-3 p.m. Sunday, Third Ave. and E St.
WEEKEND 2: March 1-3
World Championship Outdoor Hockey Tournament — Bang the boards and cheer on the action yourself in this fun, family-friendly hockey tournament. $35-$500. Friday-Sunday, Mulcahy Stadium, 498 E. 16th Ave.
Running of the Reindeer — Racers in costumes make a mad dash down the streets of Anchorage in front of running reindeer. 4 p.m. Saturday, Fourth Ave. between H and D St. Little ones can participate in a one-block “Running with the Critters” on Fourth Avenue from F Street (by the log cabin) to E Street (registration at 2 p.m., running starts at 3 p.m.; there will be hot chocolate and photos).
Miners & Trappers Ball — Costumes are not required -- but they’d also not be out of place at this annual party. Check out the magnificent mustaches and furry faces at the Mr. Fur Face Contest, the Alaska State Championship Beard and Mustache Competition. After the contest, awards will be given out for best costumes at the ball. $30. 5:30 p.m. Saturday, Egan Center, 555 W. Fifth Ave.
Iditarod Ceremonial Start — Cheer the mushers and dog teams traveling through Anchorage in celebration of the beginning of Iditarod. At 10 a.m. Saturday, March 2, teams will set off from Fourth Avenue and D Street, turn onto Cordova Street and drop down the hill to Mulcahy Stadium before winding through the city and finishing at Campbell Airstrip in Far North Bicentennial Park. See Iditarod.com for details.
Great Alaska Talent Competition finals — The Great Alaska Talent Competition is comprised of Alaskans age 6 and up who showcase their talents of acting, singing, dancing, drumming, martial arts, playing an instrument and more. Watch finalists compete at 4 p.m. Sunday, Discovery Theatre, 621 W. Sixth Ave.