Summer may be Alaska’s busiest travel season, but communities across the state host engaging events year-round. From music festivals to food fairs to celebrations of Alaska Native culture, here are some of the biggest events on the 2023 calendar.
World Ice Art Championships, Feb. 17 to March 31, Fairbanks: The city’s signature winter carnival features dazzling, over-the-top ice sculptures crafted by artists from as many as 50 countries. Colorful lights illuminate creations set along a walkable sculpture trail, and a kid-friendly ice playground caters to young visitors.
Fur Rendezvous, Feb. 23 to March 5, Anchorage: The Fur Rondy, as it’s locally known, transforms downtown Anchorage for 10 days with athletic competitions, cultural activities, carnival rides, and entertainment. Highlights include dog sled races, the annual Running of the Reindeer, snowshoe softball, talent shows, an Alaska Native art market, fat-tire biking, and fireworks.
Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race, March 4 to 12, Anchorage to Nome: More than 30 teams will compete in the 2023 Iditarod, crossing some 1,000 miles of snow-covered landscapes. Travelers can catch the ceremonial start in Anchorage or watch from the Willow-area restart line and checkpoints along the route during the race itself.
Alaska Folk Festival, April 10 to 16, Juneau: Since 1975, musicians from across Alaska, Canada, and the Lower 48 have gathered in Juneau to jam. The Alaska Folk Festival includes performances, dances, dance classes, family concerts, teaching workshops, and other events scheduled across Alaska’s capital city.
Kachemak Bay Shorebird Festival, May 3 to 7, Homer: Bird enthusiasts land in Homer to marvel at more than 130 species of birds, including nearly two dozen shorebird species, during this yearly event. More over to tallying bird sightings, participants can sign up for seminars, boat tours, guided hikes, painting workshops, and movie screenings.
Valdez Fly-in, May 12 to 14, Valdez: Search for aerobatics displays, beach landings, bush pilot competitions, and other aviation-themed fun at this annual celebration.
Kodiak Crab Fest, May 25 to 29, Kodiak: Now in its 65th year, this late-spring gathering brings boat crews and community members together to celebrate the end of the crabbing season. Past years have featured fishing contests, kayak races, fun runs, a blessing of the fleet, and plenty of king crab to sample.
Sitka Summer Music Festival: May 31 to June 25, Sitka: More than two dozen concerts and events take place around Sitka during this four-week celebration introduced in 1972. The festival also overlaps with the Sitka International Cello Seminar, which brings young talent to town for workshops and performances.
Midnight Sun Baseball Game, June 21, and Midnight Sun Festival, June 24, Fairbanks: Commemorate the summer solstice with an evening baseball game in Fairbanks, where play continues past midnight as the sun shines. The following Saturday, the city hosts a street fair that fills the city center with music, games, and food booths from noon until midnight.
World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, July 12 to 15, Fairbanks: This annual showcase of traditional Alaska Native competitions spotlights strength, agility, and endurance. The schedule features events, for example, the high kick, kneel jump, and four-man carry. Attendees can also watch dance performances, view arts and crafts and enjoy other cultural activities.
Alaska State Fair, Aug. 18 to Sept. 4, Palmer: Celebrate all things Alaska at this summer classic that features rides, carnival games, educational exhibits, garden displays, concerts, competitions, and giant vegetables nurtured by abundant summer sunshine. In 2019, for instance, a 2,051-pound pumpkin set a fair record.