It’s Fur Rondy time. As my family and I make plans for what we want to see and do this year, I can’t help but remember our first Rondy.
We arrived in Anchorage the end of January. The last week of February we were still in temporary lodging, and we had serious cabin fever.
Our quarters wouldn’t have been bad for a couple nights stay, but after a month, three rooms and one bath weren’t cutting it for our family of five plus a dog. The Rondy was a great excuse to get out.
The adventure didn’t begin well. New to the state, we were also new to driving in downtown Anchorage. One-way streets, of which many were closed for the Rondy events made for difficult navigation. We were also unaware of the paradox of Anchorage parking. While parking lots are on the expensive side, there are a multitude of reasonable priced parking garages. Not knowing that information we looked for street parking after seeing the lot pricing.
We barely made it to the parade with our sanity intact.
While below 20 degrees isn’t overly daunting after three winters in Alaska, it was quite frigid our first February. Especially when all of our cold weather gear was still in boxes with our household goods, waiting for the day we would move into our house. Without weather acclimation and proper gear our children were miserable popsicles by the time the parade was over.
We refused to let the cold send us back to our rooms. We ate lunch and decided to focus on some indoor activities.
Our next stop was the Alaska Experience Theater. My husband and I enjoyed learning about the Good Friday earthquake in the earthquake theater, but our little ones didn’t like the ground-shaking experience. However, everyone was happy watching the movies about the sled dogs and the Northern Lights.
From there we explored the Alaska Arts and Craft show. I bemoaned our tiny living space as I found a multitude of things I wanted to decorate my new house with, once I got a new house, of course.
Now warm again we thought we might venture outdoors to the carnival. Just walking the grounds had us shivering. I couldn’t imagine riding the rides and subtracting wind chill from the temperature. So we just kept walking right down to the Historic Alaska Railroad Depot, where my children were enthralled by the model trains. We stayed long enough to watch the fireworks from the warmth and comfort of the station.
As cold as the first weekend had been, we still drove down the following Saturday. We still had cabin fever and we couldn’t miss the Iditarod start and the Running of the Reindeer.
Somehow, my children forgot to be cold as they watched and cheered the dogs running down the street.
Between events we met some friends who convinced my husband to run with the reindeer. While I encouraged him, I admit to thinking the whole idea was crazy. Images of Pamplona ran through my head. The race wasn’t as crazy as I imagined, the reindeer didn’t trample or gore a single human co-runner.
Now that we have knowledge of how to get around downtown and where to park, as well snow pants and warm gloves, the Fur Rondy is a mustn’t miss event for us.
Eagle River’s Lori Spears is the wife of a captain in the U.S. Army.