Photo: Jacob Lund/Shutterstock

The 7 Holidays Alaskans Love to Celebrate

by Kaitlin Armstrong Nov 6, 2017

1. PFD Day

Alaskans cherish the share of oil money we receive each year known as the Permanent Fund Dividend. On PFD Day – when the checks and direct deposits are distributed — we relish in that sweet feeling of waking up to $1000+ in the bank. Then, we take advantage of the great PFD sales and maybe even splurge on airline tickets to a warm-weather destination.

2. Alaska Day

Alaska Day commemorates the purchase of the Alaskan territory from Russia back in 1867. It also gives Alaskans a great excuse to flaunt our state pride. Whether attending a local festival or just sharing our favorite Alaska memes on social media, we’ll take at least a few moments to express our gratitude to be living in such a fabulous place.

3. Winter Solstice

On Winter Solstice, we breathe a collective sigh of relief. We’ve made it to the shortest, darkest day of the year, so from here, we’ll only be gaining daylight. We pack our solstice celebrations in with the rest of the Christmas holidays and usually get together with friends for a dinner party or a round of seasonal drinks.

4. Fur Rondy

Fur Rondy (short for Fur Rendezvous) started as a makeshift trading post for trappers and miners during pioneering days. Since then, it’s grown into a 3-day festival that coincides with the start of the Iditarod race. It’s kitschy, but it’s great for some mid-winter cheer, and we enjoy browsing ice sculptures, watching the fur auction, and cheering on mushers at the Anchorage festival each February.

5. The Day the River Opens

Hallelujah — fishing season has begun! We eagerly await the day the salmon start running and the state officially declares our local rivers open for business. We celebrate by packing up a cooler and heading down to the river for the day – or maybe even the entire weekend.

6. Summer Solstice

This is the most daylight we’ll have all year long, and we won’t let a minute of it go to waste. We’ll spend the daytime outside fishing, hiking, or at a solstice festival. Come evening, we’ll be curled up around a campfire roasting marshmallows until the wee hours of the morning.

7. Indigenous People’s Day

This year, Alaska becomes the second U.S. state to designate the second Monday of October as Indigenous People’s Day. Communities around the state celebrate the cultural heritage and contributions of Alaska Native Peoples at events that feature dancing, traditional crafts, and words from tribal leaders. With 229 federally-recognized tribes throughout the state, the surrounding festivities only promise to keep growing.

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