Anchorage's annual Fur Rendezvous Winter Festival also known as the Fur Rondy has celebrated the start of spring in Alaska since 1937. The Fur Rondy Festival is a significant part of the history and tradition of Anchorage. The name "Fur Rendezvous" derives from swap meets at which fur trappers would gather to sell their winter harvests. In the early days of Anchorage, these swap meet usually took place in mid-February. Back then, Anchorage had a population of roughly 3,000 people and it was very isolated, so to bring the community together, resident Vern Johnson organized a three day sports tournament, called the Winter Sports Carnival, which was timed to coincide with the rendezvous. Now days, this annual event takes place at the end of February and ties in with the Iditarod.
only in Alaska . . .
One of my favorite events, the Running of the Reindeer, which I consider to be a parody to the running of the bulls in Pamplona, Spain, has also been the crowd favorite since it began. On the first Saturday in March, after the Iditarod Ceremonial Start, several tame reindeer (called caribou in North America) are let loose along a two block section in the middle of downtown Anchorage, as costumed participants run with them in a mad dash to the finish line.
Some of the Fur Rondy Events:
- Rondy Grand Prix - The Oldest Street Race in the U.S.
- Official Fur Rondy Fur Auction - the descendant of the original fur trade rendezvous, present since the earliest days.
- Miners' and Trappers' Charity Ball.
- The World Championship Sled Dog Race debuted in 1946 and has become the cornerstone event of the Festival bringing teams of sled dogs and mushers to Anchorage from across Alaska and all over the world.
- World Championship Dog Weight Pull (since 1967) - sled dogs attempt to pull the greatest weight
- Snow Sculpture Competition.
- Fur Rondy Carnival.
- Frostbite Footrace - Costumed competitors run through downtown Anchorage
- Rondy Grand Parade.
- Running of the Reindeer.
- Rondy on Ice - figure skating show.
- World Ice Bowling Championships.
This 10 day annual event has something for everyone, from contests and culture, sled dog races and snow sculptures, fur auctions and fireworks. Don't miss the Running of the Reindeer, the Miners & Trappers Charity Ball, the Native Arts Market. If you happen to be visiting us during this time of year, make sure to stop and visit the Rondy Shop at 4th & D in downtown Anchorage, Alaska.
Event Date: February 21 to March 2, 2014
PHOTOS: COPYRIGHT © 2014 ALBERT MARQUEZ/PLANET EARTH ADVENTURES, LLC.