Today, the Girdwood Forest Fair beckoned to both Alaska residents and visitors. This annual event has craftsmen and artisans tucked along windy routes hidden by trees from all view the road's traffic, a route that winds by three performance stages and countless food vendors. From sweet treats to a variety of ethnic food (and Alaska specialties such as reindeer), the choices are amazing. And oh, the smell of Thai spices, kettle corn, cookies, Buffalo burgers... a sampling of three or so only begins to satisfy.
The Fair's attendance on this, the final day, meant that auto traffic crawled along and foot traffic had to be coordinated by four red-shirted gaurds at the main intersection. All through the afternoon, people streamed in, disappearing under the cover of trees. With so many kid-friendly activities, the Fair meets the approval of all ages. Best of all? The large supply of Hula Hoops in front of each stage, and the open invitation for kids to enjoy them while elders rested and enjoyed the music. And even with non-paved trails that challenged walkers, the Fair called to persons of all abilities and mobilities to skip, dance, hop, and be playful. It was the food vendor who hopped on a mounted bicycle (retrofitted with a back seat blender) to blend a customer's chosen beverage that gained the crowd's acknowledgement, though: he stirred while peddling, punctuating the process with a horn that honked when squeezed. All around, people responded with laughter and encouraged his antics!
This was the 36th annual Forest Fair for tiny Girdwood, Alaska. And once more, the event drew many to find this little village. Do the 2000 residents look to get away on the Forest Fair weekend, or do they celebrate the influx of visitors? Speaking with one long time resident, I heard a note of welcome and knew that if her outlook with typical, that this event will continue another 36 years!
Make certain to attend next year. Pull out your sandals and tie dies: you will blend right in. Bring the babies and grand folks and neighbors, too - there is an appeal for all. Stay the day!
Mary Rydesky hosts at Jarvi Homestay in Anchorage. She is one of the Innkeepers of Anchorage Alaska Bed & Breakfast Association, the professional group that inspects and approves select B&Bs through peer review for quality control.