Alaska Festivals November 16, 2022
by Carey Seward 10 Winter Festivals In Alaska That Are Simply Unforgettable
The dark and cold of winter can drag down even the perkiest of spirits during long Alaskan winters. It might seem tempting just to stay home until it gets warmer and more light outside. But natives of our state have learned to cope by celebrating winter festivals in Alaska that bring everyone to life. Plan a special trip to one of these lively celebrations to fully appreciate the winter. Bring your family and friends for an extra boost of holiday cheer in the cold months of the year. You’ll be sure to have an adventure you’ll never forget!
1. Iceworm Festival - Downtown Cordova
Since 1961, the
has sought to "cure the winter blues," and it has always succeeded. Visit Cordova, a remote community on the shore of the Prince William Sound, for a whole week of fun. The community hosts a variety show, paper airplane contest and a parade. There's definitely something for everyone at this sweet event. One year the theme was "Aloha Iceworm," and it was an absolute blast.
2. Annual Wearable Arts Show - Ketchikan
Artists from Alaska and beyond create original wearable wonders out of duct tape, foam, sequins, trash bags, wood, milk jugs and glue at the
Annual Wearable Arts Show
. This astonishing fashion show is a spectacle that defies description, and an experience you'll never forget. If you love art, fashion, and one-of-a-kind experiences, the Annual Wearable Arts Show is the festival for you.
3. Alappaa Film Festival - Nome Arts Council
"Alappaa" means cold in the Inupiaq language, and that speaks to the nature of the festival. Films from the arctic are featured during the two day
Alappaa Film Festival.
A variety of short films are played, many locally made, that highlight many aspects of living in the Arctic, which include traditional dance, nature and climate change, string stories, scientific research, wildlife, and more. You will be fascinated by the films you'll see here, and we are willing to bet you'll make this festival an annual tradition. It also has the added benefit of being indoors, so you can stay cozy.
4. Willow Winter Carnival - Willow
Willow Winter Carnival
includes dog sled races, carnival rides, and family fun for everyone while you celebrate winter in Alaska together. One unique and amazing event is the outhouse race. That's right, a bunch of crazy Alaskans race outhouses down the street. It's always a hilarious show! There's also a "Talent or Not" Contest and pancake breakfast every day. It's actually the best ever.
5. Sitka Jazz Festival - Sitka
Sitka Jazz Festival
strives to teach music appreciation, skills, history, artistic expression, and cross-cultural understanding through jazz. Visit for the amazing performances and check out the gorgeous island of Sitka while you're at it.
6. Fur Rondy - Downtown Anchorage
shortened from Anchorage Fur Rendezvous, is an excellent party that fills the streets of Alaska's largest city and is the self-proclaimed "nation's premiere winter festival." The schedule includes carnival rides, a snow sculpture competition, sled dog races, hockey games, a melodrama and live music. Of course, fur trading and sales are the historic purpose of the gathering and still occur at the festival.
Downtown, Anchorage, AK, USA
7. Idatarod Ceremonial Start - Downtown Anchorage
Another celebration in downtown Anchorage, the
start is a celebration of the sled dog race between Anchorage and Nome. The opening ceremony fills the streets of Anchorage with dogsleds, mushers, and excited fans cheering on the mushers.
Downtown, Anchorage, AK, USA
8. Talkeetna Trio - Talkeetna
is a refreshing fat bike race in the cool mountain town of Talkeetna. Both 20 and 60 mile fat bike races run through the surrounding forests, along the river, and through downtown Talkeetna. Celebrations and parties surround the event. Whether you're an athlete yourself or just love watching the competition, you will have a fantastic time at the Talkeetna Trio.
9. Nome Arts Council Open Mic - Bering Sea Bar & Grill
Editor's Note: Bering Sea Bar & Grill is permanently closed.
The community comes out to celebrate this twice annual event, with the other night in November. Dozens of locals presenting their best music, poetry, and short stories make the event standing room only, so get there early for a seat.
10. Iditarod Finish - Nome
A two-week party often referred to as the "Mardi Gras of the North" draws over 1000 people to the small town on the Bering Sea.
has a pioneer charm and is a gracious host for the mushers, support staff and fans alike. There's the Lonnie O’Connell Iditarod Basketball Classic, golf on the frozen Bering Sea ice, Miners & Mushers Ball (Gold Rush Era fashion encouraged), and lots of parties.
Start making plans for the new year and see how many fantastic winter festivals in Alaska you can fit in. The more of The Last Frontier you explore, the more you’ll love it! And we’re sure you’ll agree that the best times of the year are spent with your loved ones enjoying all our unique state has to offer.
You might be interested in
21 Things Every Alaskan Wants The Rest Of The Country To Know. Or possibly The 7 Most Remote And Magical Cabins In Alaska For A Snowy Winter Getaway.
Have you tried any of these exciting things to do in Alaska? Tell us about it in the comments below.
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The OIYS Visitor Center
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