Fairbanks Day 2- WOW...

Remember me mentioning how perfect our arrival timing to Fairbanks was? One of the incredible occurrences happening, while we're in town, is the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, whose core purpose is to awaken everyone's inner artist!

Our first foray into the Festival's awakening was "Celtic On the Go". Award-winning Irish fiddler and former Fairbanksan, Caitlin Warbelow, led the talented trio, which included bagpiper Keith Patton and guitarist Kyle Sanna. Wow. For an hour, they entertained the masses in the lobby of a bank building and we were mesmerized. Everyone should begin their day with Irish music.

Our next stop was back to the World Eskimo-Indian Olympics for more competitions. I could not miss the Native Regalia pageant where these adorable babies are judged on the authenticity of their attire. I was incredibly impressed by the labor-intensive clothing...
...and the absolutely adorable children.

Next event was the Alaskan High KickThis is a game that was played during the long cold winter months to maintain and test one’s agility. The above tattoo was on the calf of an official who was obviously a Two-Foot High Kick athlete.
The athlete will sit on the floor with one hand holding the opposite foot. The other hand and foot on the floor to establish balance, from a lifted position the athlete will swing up to kick a suspended target, landing on the same foot used to kick the target, maintaining balance. As athletes succeed, the ball is raised higher until there is a 'winner'. We watched several rounds and it is way harder than it looks.
Last event, for the daytime competitions, was the Greased Pole Walk. This game is used to test the balance one may need for crossing creeks, on a wet and slippery log.
"Each contestant starts from one end and must walk on a horizontal greased log while in bare feet. Sliding is not allowed. Spotters are placed on both side of the log to ensure the safety of the contestant. The log will be greased after each contestant. Each contestant has one chance to walk the farthest. The distance is measured from the beginning grease mark to the beginning of the last mark in the grease." So very cool to watch!
After errand running and Cultural Center visiting, we ended our day here at the Georgeson Botanical Gardens on the campus of the University of Alaska. This fabulous garden was named for Charles C. Georgeson, a plant breeder and agronomist, who came to Alaska as the special agent in charge of the U.S. experiment stations in Alaska. He helped establish a series of stations, including the Fairbanks Experiment Farm in 1906, and he stayed to conduct research on livestock, grain and fruit. Georgeson was an enthusiastic supporter of agriculture in Alaska.

Gold. Oil. Salmon. Peonies? Yes, Peonies! The delicate yet decadent blooms could be the state's next big cash crop. They thrive down to 60 below and need the cold weather to flourish. Alaska is the only place in the world that supplies fresh-cut commercial peonies in the wedding season from July into early September, They are breathtakingly beautiful.

We came for the Music in the Garden concert as part of the Festival. The Celtic trio of Caitlin, Keith and Kyle was enlarged (and enriched) by the accompaniment of drummer James Yoshizawa; champion piper and opera singer Zak Read and last but not least, direct from Galway, Ireland, Mr. Andrew Vickers, internationally acclaimed Irish stepdancer, choreographer, teacher and Riverdance performer. Oh man, what talent all in one place!

Free, exceptional music; cute babies; crazy good athleticism; exquisite flowers and more free music (in a spectacular setting)... My Oh My what a perfect day in Alaska!


Nick and Deb's Excellent Adventure said...

Love the babies! Peonies are my favorite and it is too hot for them here!

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