Summer in Alaska can be a magical time. Whether you're trekking through the stunning wilderness or taking part in one of Alaska's great events or festivals, you're in for an unmatched experience.
Anchorage is the largest city in Alaska with a population of over 300,000 residents. The history of the city dates back to the early 20th Century, when the Alaska Railroad was established with Anchorage as its base of operations. WWII brought many new people to the region. In fact between 1940 and 1951 the population rose from 3,000 to over 47,000. After Alaska was granted statehood in 1959, the state's population continued to grow and Alaska quickly became a prime destination for tourists. Resorts, lodges and outfitters began to spring up everywhere and it didn't take long for Alaska to establish itself as one of the top places in the world for an adventurous getaway.
Heading into its eighth year being run by the Anchorage Downtown Partnership Ltd., the Downtown Anchorage Summer Solstice Festival has grown into one of top festivals in Anchorage. This family friendly event is designed to have something for all ages and backgrounds to enjoy. The festival takes place on 4th Avenue, right in downtown between streets C and L. Each street intersection offers a different set of fun activities, making for a great selection of things to do. There will be food trucks, vendors, and the restaurants in and around the festival are open for business. Live music will be played on three different stages, covering a variety of musical genres. Also, there will be a variety of activities for children to enjoy. Let the natural beauty and fun activities help you enjoy a vacation you’ll never forget and head to Anchorage for the Downtown Anchorage Summer Solstice Festival. We got the chance to interview Sofia Fouquet, Director of Events for Anchorage Downtown Partnership Ltd., to talk about this great festival.
RAL: Tell me a little bit about the event.
SF: Anchorage Downtown Partnership Ltd. has been running the Summer Solstice Festival since 2009. It was a smaller festival held in our Town Square Park by our local AWAIC chapter prior to that.
The Summer Solstice Festival is among Anchorage’s most popular summer events. We usually draw between 6,000 and 10,000 people over the course of the day depending on weather.
The beauty of Anchorage Downtown Partnership Ltd. events is that there’s something for everyone. We try to cater to all walks of life and make our events accessible regardless of socioeconomic status. This event is heavily attended by families, but we offer niche activities to appeal to all types including the Kendall Toyota of Anchorage Hero Games (a friendly athletic competition between our city’s first responders), a scrimmage courtesy of the Rage City Roller Girls, a beard and mustache competition, and live music to enjoy while hanging out in one of several local beer gardens!
RAL: What makes this event unique?
SF: Alaska is exceptional by its own right and the melding of our favorite pastimes all in one location only compounds that uniqueness. This festival exists to celebrate both our residents and our visitors by providing an unforgettable experience unhindered by cost or accessibility.
RAL: Take me through a day at the event.
SF: Each street that the festival takes place on brings a different set of activities and events. For kid’s activities we have:
Free Marionette Show featuring ‘The Legend of Sleepy Hollow’
Free Petting Zoo
Live music and performances include:
The Kendall Toyota Hero Games,
Antique Auto Mushers Car Show
Rage City Rollergirls
Three Stages With Great Live Music
Authentic Alaskan Beard and ‘Stache Competition
Midnight Sun Skate Jam
Taste of Anchorage Food
- Alaskan Arts and Crafts
RAL: What options will there be for food?
SF: In addition to the festival happening on 4th Avenue, which is a mecca of downtown restaurants and eateries, there will be plenty of food trucks brought in for the occasion serving everything from reindeer sausages to locally sourced Alaskan-made ice creams.
RAL: What is the overall environment like?
SF: Excited and ready for anything! The Festival has so many activities and events that you have to come ready to have a great time and discover new favorite pastimes.
RAL: What can an attendees expect to find for local lodging?
SF: Alaska is filled with accommodations for every traveler. Those who like to travel in style can relax at the Captain Cook Hotel or Anchorage Historic Hotel. Those seeking a mom-and-pop experience may enjoy the Copper Whale Inn and Arctic Fox Inn. For those traveling on a budget, the Bent Prop Inn is a funky environment that will show you how hip Alaskans vacation without breaking the bank. Alaska is an extremely popular destination in the summertime and Anchorage acts as a hub for those visitors. Make your reservations now!
RAL: What does the event mean to the community?
SF: Anchorage Downtown partnership specializes in activating spaces in the interest of a more dynamic city-center. By maintaining a vital downtown we are able to encourage both social and economic growth!
RAL: Does the event support a special cause in the community?
SF: The Solstice Festival itself is an undertaking in social revitalization, which contributes to its free accessibility. Having local organizations represent themselves at the festival makes it possible for a plethora of special cause groups to educate the public about their services and impacts.
The Anchorage Downtown partnership does provide special-interest fundraising opportunities including the Petals ‘n Spokes Festival (Municipal Flower Endowment), Pirate Pub Crawl (Blood Bank of Alaska) and most recently, the AT&T Holiday Tree Lighting was used as a platform to assist Toys for Tots.
RAL: Why should people come to your event?
SF: As mentioned before, this event is an incredible amalgamation of Alaskan flavors. Spanning over eight city blocks, there is music, food, games, and plenty of oddities to discover while celebrating the Midnight Sun!
For more information about the Downtown Anchorage Summer Solstice Festival, please visit their website.