Anchorage holiday shopping season kicks off downtown this weekend with Small Business Saturday and a tree lighting

Town Square Park Christmas trees

Downtown Anchorage businesses and groups are highlighting Small Business Saturday and other activities as a way to support the local economy this weekend as the holiday season ramps up.

A separate Saturday event spearheaded by the Anchorage Downtown Partnership, Light Up Downtown, will feature festive things to do. Mayor Dave Bronson will light the tree in Town Square Park on Saturday at 5 p.m.

More than three dozen Anchorage businesses are participating in Small Business Saturday downtown, offering discounts or specials. Purchases made at the businesses will give customers a chance to win two round-trip tickets from Alaska Airlines.

“When you shop small (and locally owned), 40 to 60 cents of each dollar stays in the local community, with our friends, family,” said Amanda Moser with the downtown partnership.

[Anchorage retailers scramble to prepare for Black Friday, with continuing supply and labor challenges]

Participating businesses will include numerous gift shops, such as Stephan Fine Arts, Skinny Raven Sports, Weather Boutique, Second Run consignment store and many others, according to an online map from the partnership.

Other downtown events will happen Saturday for the Light Up event, sponsored by the partnership and ConocoPhillips Alaska. Information about the business event and Light Up can be found at


Light Up will include an outdoor holiday market in the the 49th State Brewing parking lot, starting at noon, with Santa available from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Sara’s Gift Cache will host retired sled dogs and mushers and a food truck, starting at 11 a.m.

Williwaw Social will host a “sip-and-shop,” featuring artists, crafters and others, starting at noon.

Santa and his elves will also be on hand at Peratrovich Park, at Fourth Avenue and E Street, from 5-7 p.m. (Photos taken by an event photographer will be free. Face masks are required for meeting Santa.)

At 7:30 p.m., the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts will provide a free, big-screen showing of the movie Elf in the Discovery Theatre. People 18 and up must show proof of a COVID-19 vaccination, a negative test or recent recovery at the lobby doors before being able to attend.

[Black Friday 2021: Here’s how to snag the best deals]

Items bought from a locally owned store can inject three times more money into the Anchorage economy compared to shopping at a national retail chain, said Bill Popp, head of the Anchorage Economic Development Corp., which is helping provide marketing for the downtown event.

Meanwhile, every dollar spent online with an Outside retailer leaves the state, Popp said.

“Shopping local, as opposed to shopping online, has a great impact on the local economy,” he said.

Alex DeMarban

Alex DeMarban is a longtime Alaska journalist who covers business, the oil and gas industries and general assignments. Reach him at 907-257-4317 or