Brightened by 20+ degree weather and bluebird skies, the Kirkland crew spent most of the weekend down at Anchorage's Fur Rendezvous, watching a parade, cheering on dogsleds, and generally having a great time.
Growing up in a town that celebrated the salmon run each October in a small-time, community-oriented event bringing just everybody downtown, this celebration of the winter fur catch in Anchorage appears to be a natural fit.
There is something incredibly secure in the mere act of walking down the street and needing to stop every few yards to talk to an acquaintance, turning the event into a community meet and greet. For a family transplanted twice in the past five years, settling into an environment by which we have such an experience just validates we are in the right place.
Although this was our first official attendance at Fur Rondy, we felt immediately at home during this 10-day festival, carnival rides and all. Bear took his first trip on the flying "ephalents", big brother challenged the Gravitron, and Yukon and I stood in the center of it all, marvelling that we were indeed sending our children on State Fair rides in the middle of winter.
With so many weekends at the office (Yukon) becoming the norm, our timeout together as a family trumped everything else. Big kid leading the way down the street, neck craning to see the winning dog team, little kid on Dad's shoulders, saying "good morning" to everyone, Mom oogling at beaver hats and gloves.
A photo note: The Native woman and her granddaughter are wearing kuspuks, a traditional parka that can be made out of everything from calico to caribou hide. Incredibly well-designed, the kuspuk keeps the entire top half of the body warm and dry. Fur trims the hood to keep warm air around the face and head.