As the weather warms and COVID-19 restrictions lift across the state, residents are looking for ways to have some safe fun in the sun.
The pandemic canceled almost all of Alaska’s annual fairs and festivals in 2020, and some this year as well, including the Girdwood Forest Fair.
But there are plenty of events planned for Alaskans to attend — from Salmonfest and the Alaska State Fair in Palmer to music festivals in Fairbanks and Sitka.
[Are Alaska’s big fairs and festivals coming back this summer? Many organizers are pushing ahead.]
As with everything related to the pandemic, things can change quickly, so be sure to check ahead and confirm event details before heading to any gathering.
Notice a fair or festival happening this summer that’s missing from this list? Email us at email@example.com.
Planned for this summer
Kodiak Crab Fest
May 27-31, Kodiak
There will be music, art, dance, races, parades and annual “pardoning of the crab” at this community celebration of Alaska’s favorite crustacean. A more somber tradition is the annual memorial honoring fishermen lost in Alaskan waters and lost to the Kodiak community. (kodiakcrabfest.com)
June 1-26, Anchorage
Celebrate Juneteenth, a holiday celebrating the abolition of slavery in the United States on June 19 with free music, food, drumming circles and vendors at the Northway Mall from 1-6 p.m. Learn about Black history with virtual freedom walks and the Black history bike tour, including other events including a panel on the economic impacts of racism. Full schedule online. (juneteenthanchorage.com)
June 2-6, Anchorage
This year’s festival will feature live and live-streamed performances from the Anchorage Museum, The Nave (formerly Church of Love), Van’s Dive Bar and private house concerts. Artists include Joel Schnaper Anchorage Quintet, The Forest That Never Sleeps, Ed Washington, Ava Earl, Bethlehem Shalom, Yngvil Vatn Guttu, Karrie Pavish Anderson, Elena Lukina, John Damberg Quintet, Kayti Heller, Rosie Rush, Dolores Catherino, Phillip Blanchett, Pipeline Vocal Project, Spenard Jazz Messengers, and The Super Saturated Sugar Strings. Day memberships are $25. (spenardjazzfest.org)
Sitka Summer Music Festival
Various times and locations, June 5-26, Sitka
This year, the Southeast festival is celebrating 50 years of classical music. Some performances this season are dubbed “porch concerts” to maintain social distancing; formal evening concerts will take place in Harrigan Centennial Hall with limited capacity.
In addition, the popular annual crab feed will be converted to a drive-thru event, taking place in the University of Alaska Southeast parking lot. Ticket prices vary. (sitkamusicfestival.org)
June 11-12, Chicken
A weekend of music from Alaskan artists, locally made beer, crafts and more. Ticket prices vary. (chickenstockmusicfest.com)
June 11-13, Palmer
From egg tosses to 5K runs and carnivals for the kiddos, Colony Days is a summer favorite. There will be a farmers market with a locally made crafts section and a parade. (palmerchamber.org/colony-days)
Downtown Summer Solstice
Noon-6 p.m., June 19, Anchorage
There will be salsa classes taught in Anchorage’s Town Square, with beer gardens on G and E streets. Make sure you don’t miss the Mayor’s Marathon, which is happening the same day. (anchoragedowntown.org)
Fairbanks Midnight Sun Festival
Noon-midnight, June 19, Fairbanks
After canceling the event in 2020 for the first time since its founding in 1983, the Midnight Sun Festival in Fairbanks is back, with safety precautions for vendors and customers. Food trucks and vendor stations will be spread out, and there will be hand-sanitizing stations downtown. (downtownfairbanks.com)
June 18-19, Mile 248.5 Parks Highway
Outdoor show for ages 21 and over at 49th State’s Denali Park brewpub. Ticketing and lineup to be announced. (49statebrewing.com)
Moose Pass Summer Solstice Festival
June 19-20, Moose Pass
Founded in 1978, this festival features a beer garden, local vendors, a bake sale and fun for the kiddos, as well as live music from Blackwater Railroad Company, Saktown Monks and the Zen Trembles.
Money raised goes toward supporting the community of Moose Pass, including keeping the library lights on and maintaining scholarships for local youth. (Search “Moose Pass Summer Solstice Festival” to find details on Facebook)
Various times and locations, June 19-26, Anchorage
While there won’t be a festival or parade this year, Anchorage Pride will have virtual and in-person events, with details still to come. (anchoragepride.org)
Last Frontier Theatre Conference
June 19-26, Valdez
The conference will broadcast all events online this year. A spokesperson for the conference said about 110 actors will come to Valdez for the week to perform, along with dozens of playwrights who will present their work. (theatreconference.org)
Backyard Country Barbecue
June 26-27, downtown Anchorage
This year brings country artists Sara Evans, Scott McCreery, Lainey Wilson and others. Sip on a brew in the beer garden and enjoy some food truck eats. Doors open at 2 p.m. $55. (ericksonevents.com)
Fairbanks Folk Fest
Noon-10 p.m., June 26, Fairbanks
The Fairbanks Folk Fest has plans to host an in-person summer festival for the Interior — with everything but the hugs. This free event at Ester Community Park will be held in accordance with current CDC guidelines — featuring food, friends and music from local musicians. (fairbanksfolkfest.weebly.com)
Scottish Highland Games
June 26-27, Palmer
There will be Scottish bagpipes, ax-throwing and salmon-tossing at this two-day event taking place at the Alaska State Fairgrounds in Palmer. Tickets range from $5-$30. (alaskascottish.org)
Anchorage Fourth of July Celebration and Parade
July 4, Anchorage
The annual event on and around the Delaney Park Strip celebrating Independence Day is back on for 2021. Details to come.
Fourth of July and Mount Marathon
July 1-4 and 7, Seward
The Seward Chamber of Commerce is planning a one-of-a-kind Seward Fourth of July extended weekend. There will be a boat parade on the evening of July 3, with fireworks at midnight. On the morning of July 4, there will be a mini-Mount Marathon race — a relay for the youngsters — with the Fourth of July parade in the afternoon.
Mount Marathon is taking place on July 7, three days after Independence Day, a move designed to spread out the volume of visitors over the holiday weekend. (seward.com)
Kip Moore and Ashley McBryde
6-11 p.m., July 3, Wasilla
Nashville musician Kip Moore and singer-songwriter Ashley McBryde will headline the Menard Sports Center for a Fourth of July concert, featuring special guest Kendall Marvel. $48. (listentothebear.com/event/kip-moore-ashley-mcbryde)
3 Barons Presents: The Crown’s Market Place
July 10-11, Anchorage
Although the full-scale Renaissance fair is canceled for the summer, there will be a market fair called the Crown’s Market Place. It will be a “much smaller event,” but will “have the flavor of the 3 Barons Fair,” said one organizer — with fair food, vendors and performances at the Tozier Dog Track. (3barons.org)
Copper River Salmon Jam
Various times and locations, July 12-17, Cordova
This spread-out celebration for the city of Cordova will allow residents and out-of-town attendees to participate when they please. In addition to the marathon, half-marathon race, 10-kilometer and 5-kilometer races, the festival will host a food show, canvas painting class and artisan market. (salmonjam.org)
Bear Paw Festival
July 14-18, Eagle River
There will be food and carnival rides in Eagle River. Additional details to come. (bearpawfestival.org)
Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival
Various times and locations, July 18-Aug. 1, Fairbanks
This July arts festival will feature 60 guest artists from Fairbanks and around the world. A spokesperson for the festival said there will also be 120 workshops for aspiring artists of all skill levels and ages, spanning 15 different genres. Registrants can take workshops to learn anything from the marimba to jazz percussion and Celtic fiddle. (fsaf.org)
July 24 and 25, Fairbanks
From the iconic rubber duckie race in the Chena River to the grand parade, there’s plenty to take part in during Golden Days — a Fairbanks tradition that’s been going on since 1952. (fairbankschamber.org/golden-days)
Southeast Alaska State Fair
July 29-Aug. 1, Haines
Plans are underway for a 2021 Southeast State Fair, with additional details to come. (seakfair.org)
Tanana Valley State Fair
July 30-Aug. 8, Fairbanks
Alaskans in the Interior can enjoy this 10-day fair located just minutes from downtown Fairbanks at the Tanana Valley Campground & RV Park. Take a cruise on some carnival rides before you peruse gargantuan vegetables grown under the midnight sun. Ticket prices vary. (tvsfa.org)
Back to Bluegrass Festival
July 31-Aug. 1, McGrath
McGrath’s local station, KSKO, hosts this two-day festival every year in support of public radio — featuring music, food and fun for everyone. Not many details besides this year’s dates have been announced. (facebook.com/backtobluegrass)
Aug. 6-8, Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds, Ninilchik
Salmonfest is happening in 2021, albeit with some pandemic-related changes. There will be a lot more space for visitors and a smaller overall capacity. The music lineup has yet to be announced. Tickets range from $138.50-$145. (salmonfestalaska.org)
Aug. 13-14, Mile 248.5 Parks Highway
A celebration at 49th State’s Denali Park brewpub. Ticketing and lineup to be announced. (49statebrewing.com)
Alaska State Fair
Aug. 20-Sept. 6, Palmer
The Alaska State Fair is back, with schedule spanning three weekends to spread out fairgoers. The concert lineup includes Billy Idol, Martina McBride, Jon Pardi, Dashboard Confessional, The Guess Who and more.
The farm exhibit building will be closed the first weekend, as well as perishable exhibit items. The fair will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Ticket prices vary. (alaskastatefair.org)
Alaska Craft Brew Festival
Aug. 21, Anchorage
This year, the Alaska Craft Brew Festival is moving outside, featuring cornhole, local music on the Delaney Park Strip in downtown Anchorage and signature craft brews and barleywine. (alaskacraftbrewandbarleywine.com)
Seldovia Craft Invitational Chainsaw Carving Competition
8 a.m.-11 p.m., Sept. 4, Seldovia
Talk a walk down main street and view works of art from chain saw carvers. Following the competition, carvings become property of the Seldovia Chamber of Commerce and are hosted across Seldovia by local businesses and parks. (Search for “Seldovia Chainsaw Carving Competition” on Facebook)
Girdwood Fungus Fair
Sept. 4-5, Girdwood
Celebrate the fall season during Labor Day weekend while learning fungus facts and discovering local mushrooms. More details expected in July. (fungusfair.com)
Seldovia Labor Day Festival
Sept. 4-5, Seldovia
Enjoy performances on the main stage over the holiday weekend in Seldovia. More details to come. (youotterbehere.com)
Cordova Fungus Festival
Sept. 10-12, Cordova
There will be events available in-person and online for fungi-lovers alike, with options for all ages. More details to come. (cordovafungusfest.com)
Sept 24-27, Trapper Creek
An initial lineup for the festival at Boots’ Bison Ranch in Talkeetna includes Hannah Juanita, Avery Wolves, Cold Country, Eternal Cowboy, Saucy Yoda, The Jephries and many more. (tcbgfestival.com)
Seward Music and Arts Festival
Sept. 24-25, Seward
Swing by Seward for live music and dance performances, in addition to food vendors and artisan crafters. More details to come. (sewardfestival.com)
Fairs and festivals canceled for 2021
3 Barons Renaissance Fair
The board of directors of the 3 Barons Fair announced the cancellation of the June event at the Tozier Sled Dog Track in Anchorage for the second year in a row. The organization is completely run by volunteers, and the board wrote in an announcement that COVID-19 mitigation protocols would require the festival to “fundamentally change and decrease the nature and quality” of the Hillshire experience.
Girdwood Forest Fair
In April, the Girdwood Forest Fair committee announced they weren’t moving forward with a live fair for the summer.
Fiddlehead Fern Festival
A spokesperson with Alyeska Resort said in an email that the resort will not be hosting the Fiddlehead Festival this year.
Kenai River Festival
This three-day celebration on the Kenai River is forgoing 2021 festivities and is hoping for a “grand celebration” in 2022.
Seldovia Summer Solstice Music Festival
A spokesperson with the festival said while there won’t be a summer solstice party, there will be a celebration later in the year: the Seldovia Labor Day Festival.
Alyeska Blueberry Festival
A spokesperson with Alyeska Resort said as of May 7, they “have not come to a decision yet” on the annual Girdwood festival known for guided berry picking and various berry-inspired foods.