New: In Spring, we have Fur Rendezvous, the World Ice Art Championships, and the Hummingbird Festival. But in Alaska, we celebrate all year round. Some top festivals by season:
Spring – Copper River Shorebird Festival, Cordova
Each May, more than 5 million shorebirds flock to the intertidal mudflats near Cordova to feast on mollusks, insects, and other foods before heading north and west to their summer breeding grounds. Birds from as far away as Peru travel along the Pacific flyway each year, creating a spectacular aerial show as they skim across the shorelines. The Copper River Shorebird Festival brings scientists, birdwatchers, photographers, and artists to Cordova for four days of information, activities, tours, and art. Be sure to bring your binoculars!
How to get there: Alaska Airlines offers daily jet service from Anchorage to Cordova’s Merle K. (Mudhole) Smith Airport or take an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry.
Summer – Kodiak Crab Festival, Kodiak
Bring your appetite and spring into summer at the annual Kodiak Crab Festival, held every Memorial Day weekend in the city of Kodiak. The Crab Festival celebrates everything “sea”. Crabe Diem and Seas the Day! Join in the fun at the Kodiak Fish Toss, the survival suit race, the shrimp parade, and carnival rides, followed by a fantastic feast of wild Alaska seafood and a tour of the working waterfront. This is a family-friendly event. Be sure to wear your ExtraTuffs (Alaska’s ubiquitous rubber boots).
How to get there: Alaska Air and Ravn Alaska have daily scheduled service to Kodiak’s Benny Benson State Airport or take an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry.
Fall – Alaska Day Festival, Sitka
Alaskan’s mark the transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States every October, and Sitka – the former capitol of Russian North America – commemorates the event with an annual Alaska Day Festival. Focusing on the diversity of cultures of Alaska’s peoples, the festival includes a costume ball, visiting dances, bands, and a parade ending with the reenactment of the 1867 transfer.
How to get there: Alaska Airlines offers daily jet flights to Sitka Rocky Gutierrez Airport from Juneau or take an Alaska Marine Highway System ferry or air taxi.
Winter –Christmas in Ice, North Pole
See spectacular ice carving at this Christmas-themed festival held each December in North Pole. Tie up your ice skates at this family-friendly event, slide down a 100-foot ice slide, and drink hot cocoa while you wait for the “snowflake drop” and watch fireworks light up the night sky on December 31. Bring warm clothes to play in this outdoor winter ice park (you can always warm up in the indoor reception area).
How to get there: Drive south on the Richardson Highway from Fairbanks.