BEAR PAW BLOG: Festival comes to a close on a sun-splashed Sunday

Tuesday, July 18, 2017 - 15:52
  • Braeden Willis of Wasilla watches the Eagle River Rodeo at Eagle River Lions Park on July 16, 2017. The three-day event is part of the 32nd annual Bear Paw Festival. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • Brett O’Connor participates in the Eagle River Rodeo at Eagle River Lions Park on July 16, 2017. The three-day event is part of the 32nd annual Bear Paw Festival. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • Christian McCormick participates in the Eagle River Rodeo at Eagle River Lions Park on July 16, 2017. The three-day event is part of the 32nd annual Bear Paw Festival. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • Garrett Willis of Wasilla participates in the Eagle River Rodeo at Eagle River Lions Park on July 16, 2017. The three-day event is part of the 32nd annual Bear Paw Festival. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • Crowds gather for the Eagle River Rodeo at Eagle River Lions Park on July 16, 2017. The three-day event is part of the 32nd annual Bear Paw Festival. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • Bear Paw Festival crowds on Sunday, July 16, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Beltmaker Michael Cornell of 5 AM Leather talks to a customer during the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival on Sunday, July 16, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Cheska Mann, 7, of Anchorage, bounces into the air on the bungee jump ride at the Bear Paw Festival on Sunday, July 16, 2017 in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Psalm Mitchell of Eagle River raises his hand after finishing second in his age division in the Bear Paw Ice Cream Eating Contest on Sunday, July 16, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • John Forbes of the Juicy Harps performs with Mike Wahling (fiddle) and Brian Muller (drums) during the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival on Sunday, July 16, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Fernanda Delgado, of Anchorage, flips a halibut quesadilla at the Wild Alaska Salmon Tacos booth at the Bear Paw Festival on Sunday, July 16, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Paxson Day, left, and Shawn Casey Jr. control robots built by members of local robotics teams on Sunday, July 16, 2017 at the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Eagle River’s Evangeline Chamberlain, 2, hugs a bear before the Running With the Bears footrace on Sunday, July 16, 2017 during the Bear Paw Festival in Ealge River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth0
  • Eagle River’s Evangeline Chamberlain, 2, talks with a panda bear before the Running With the Bears footrace on Sunday, July 16, 2017 during the Bear Paw Festival in Ealge River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth0
  • Benjamin Thrasher, 5, and his mom, Renee, walk in the Running with the Bears race on Sunday, July 16, 2017 during the Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Ellen Kruchoski, 10, leads Wil Crow, 9, to the finish line in the Running with the Bears race on Sunday, July 16, 2017 at the Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska. Kruchoski, who attends Chugiak Elementary, won a sprint to the finish over Crow, who goes to Cottonwood Elementary in Wasilla. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • People take pictures of the “bears” in the Running with the Bears footrace on Sunday, July 16, 2017 during the Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A member of Okamoto’s Karate marches with the Alaska flag. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Eagle River resident Gatorian Houston watches the Bear Paw Grand Parade march down the Old Glenn Highway on July 15, 2017. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • A member of Alaska Athletics does a flip during the Bear Paw Parade. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A member of the Arctic Warrior Band marches in the Bear Paw Parade. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Families gather in downtown Eagle River to watch the Bear Paw Grand Parade on July 15, 2017. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • A member of the Chepo’s float waves to the crowd. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Spectators line the Old Glenn Highway to watch the Bear Paw Grand Parade on July 15, 2017. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • Excel gymnastics member Ashley Pearson goes inverted during the Bear Paw Parade. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • The Front Row Seats Band. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • The U.S. Army Arctic Warrior Band plays during the Bear Paw Grand Parade on Saturday, July 15, 2017 in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Miss Rodeo Alaska Alysa Stauffacher rides in the Bear Paw Parade. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Members of the Alaska Military Youth Academy march in the Bear Paw parade. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Kids prepare to collect free candy at the Bear Paw Grand Parade on July 15, 2017. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Okamoto’s Karate marches with the American Flag. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • The Kids Don’t Float otter hugs Claire Cartee of Eagle River during the Bear Paw Grand Parade. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • A member of Rodeo Alaska spins a lariatt during the Bear Paw Parade. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Spectators line the Old Glenn Highway to watch the Bear Paw Grand Parade on July 15, 2017. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • Members of the Eagle River Parks and Recreation program float scream to the crowd during the Beaer Paw Parade. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Rodeo Alaska members perform rope tricks. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Jon Nauman of the Alaska Horse Drawn Carriage Company, left, leads a group of horses in the Bear Paw Parade. The Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade was held Saturday, July 15 2017 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Jon Nauman of Chugiak’s Horse Drawn Carriage Company drives grand marshall Virginia Lauer-McMichael during the Bear Paw Grand Parade on July 15, 2017. (Star photo by Kirsten Swann)
  • Ivan Cuevas, right, of Anchorage, hands off to teammate Esteban Trujillo, of Eagle River, during the Slippery Salmon Olympics on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at the Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska. Cuevas and Trujillo won the annual relay salmon-and-soda relay race — Trujillo for the second time. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Slippery Salmon Olympics winners Esteban Trujillo, left, and Ivan Cuevas celebrate after winning the salmon-and-soda relay during Bear Paw 2017 in Eagle River on Saturday, July 15, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Both covered in salmon slime, Slippery Salmon Olympics winner Ivan Cuevas declines a hug from teammate Estaban Trujillo after the duo won the annual salmon-and-soda relay race at the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska on Saturday, July 15, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Jonathan Hines, of Houston, Texas, hands off a pink salmon to his wife, Erika, during the Slippery Salmon Olympics at the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival on Saturday, July 15, 2017 in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Florida’s Valerie Chapman balks at taking a dead pink salmon from her aunt, Eagle River’s Laura Davidson, during the Slippery Salmon Olympics on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Florida’s Valerie Chapman reluctantly takes a dead pink salmon from her aunt, Eagle River’s Laura Davidson, during the Slippery Salmon Olympics on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Florida’s Valerie Chapman raises her hands in disgust after finishing the Slippery Salmon Olympics on Saturday, July 15, 2017 at the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Wonder Woman Wendy Wiltfong cleans salmon slime off her hands following her heat in the Slippery Salmon Olympics at the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival on Saturday, July 15, 2017 in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Fans and “O’Fishals” watch a heat during the Slippery Salmon Olympics at the 2017 Eagle River Bear Paw Festival on Saturday, July 15, 2015. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Bear Paw Festival, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Eagle River’s Izzy Kruzel, 5, enjoys the Teddy Bear Parade during the Bear Paw Festival on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Bear Paw Festival, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • AJ Houf, 11, cuts carrots during the Lunchbox Derby, in which participants created vehicles using vegetables and skewers, during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. The picnic is part of the 32nd annual Bear Paw Festival, which continues through Sunday, July 16 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Bear Paw Festival, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Bear Paw Festival, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Anchorage’s Clive Donaldson takes a peek inside a 1929 Model A Ford Tudor Sedan owned by Jim Fredenhagen of Anchorage during the Bear Paw Classic Car Show on Friday, July 14, 2017 during the Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Members of the Bear Paw royalty prepare to lead the Teddy Bear Parade during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017 at the Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Magician Don Russell performs for children during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. The picnic is part of the 32nd annual Bear Paw Festival, which continues through Sunday, July 16 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Bear Paw Festival, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Caemon Ashworth of Firweed Ministries helps participants in the Lunchbox Derby during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. The picnic is part of the 32nd annual Bear Paw Festival, which continues through Sunday, July 16 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Cecilia, left, and Hannah Haponski of Anchorage take part in the Lunchbox Derby at the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. The picnic is part of the 32nd annual Bear Paw Festival, which continues through Sunday, July 16 in downtown Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Bear Paw Festival, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Elijah Bloom, 4, hands over a piece of fake bear scat during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Elliot Zeiler, 5, of Eagle River, signs her name during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Emily Soule and her son, Shane, 1, sign his name during the Bear Paw Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Eva Kovarik, 3, of Eagle River, bounces on a bouncy ball during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Gabriella Ocktuk, 7, gets her hair colored during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Children listen to “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” during the Teddy Bear Picnic July 14, 2017, during the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Jake Juliussen, 4, of Eagle River, tosses a balloon into the air during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Latrilla Ocktuk, 5, screams after geting her hair dyed during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • From left, Jayden Hollon, Bryston Toth and Caleb Bodoloski post after the Lunchbox Derby. Toth took first place with a distance of 9-feet, 10 inches in the event, in which competitors created boxcars out of vegetables. Hollon finished second and Bodoloski was third. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Brothers Michael, left, and Landon Hester take part in a whipped cream eating contest during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Michael Hester, 5, looks at his plate after competing in a whipped cream eating contest against his brother, Landon, during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017.
  • Rebecca Ingram, 4, of Eagle River, bounces on a bouncy ball during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Contest judge Kim Skipper inspects the shoes of one of the competitors in the Odor Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest on Friday, July 14, 2017 at the Teddy Bear Picnic. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Odor Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest winner Hunter Hamm, 7, of Anchorage. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Children run beneath a parachute during the Teddy Bear Picnic at the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Sebastian Revolorio, 5, of Eagle River runs beneath a parachue during the Teddy Bear Picnic on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • The Eagle River Bear Paw Festival in Eagle River, Alaska, runs July 12-16, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Tristan Ganoe and Lexi Wilde, both 10, pose for a photo with Pineapple Pizza the Bear on Friday, July 14, 2017 at the Teddy Bear Picnic during the Eagle River Bear Paw Festival on Friday, July 14, 2017. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Tristan Ganoe, 10, eats a snack while hanging out with Pineapple Pizza the Bear on Friday, July 14, 2017 at the Teddy Bear Picnic. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)
  • Zoey Price, 7, plugs her nose during the Odor Eaters Rotten Sneaker Contest on Friday, July 14, 2017 at the Teddy Bear Picnic. (Star photo by Matt Tunseth)

(Editor’s note: The Bear Paw Festival is taking place in downtown Eagle River July 12-16. We’ll update this blog periodically with photos and information from the festival. You can also find more about the festival at its webside, bearpawfestival.org, or on Facebook)

UPDATED Tuesday, July 18

AWARDS ANNOUNCED

Here are this year’s award winners for Bear Paw events:

Grand Parade Results

• Grand Prize Winner 2017 – Eagle River High School Robotics

• Judges Award True Life Chiropractic

• Best Theme Spenard Builders Supply

Commercial Award

• 1st place Spenard Builders Supply

• 2nd Place Partners Real Estate

• 3rd Place True Life Chiropractic

Non-Profit

• 1st Eagle River Elks

• 2nd Place Mustang Hockey Association

• 3rd Place Frontier Flyers Club

Youth

• 1st Eagle River High School Robotics

• 2nd Place Okamoto’s Karate

• 3rd Place Alaska Athletics

Auto

• 1st Alaska Extreme 4-Wheelers

• 2nd Place JPS Inc.

• 3rd Place Anchorage Corvette Association

Marching/Walking

• 1st Colony High School Marching Band

• 2nd Place US Army Band

• 3rd Place Alaska Celtic Pipes & Drums

Specialty

• 1st Anchorage Fire Department

• 2nd Civil Air Patrol

• 3rd Place Grand Marshall

IBEW CHOPPED SALMON THROWDOWN

• 18+ “Coho Culinary Competitors” – Staci Gillilan & Randi Bean

14-17 “Fair Child” – Lindsey Sorensen & Tay Calvin

ODOR EATERS ROTTEN SNEAKER

Winner Hunter Hamm

1st Runner up Bennett Hamm

2nd Runner up Ezekiel Vogel

SLIPPERY SALMON OLYMPICS

1st Place McDonald Center “OVER THE WALL” – Esteban Trujillo & Ivan Cuevas

2nd Place First National Bank Alaska “Loan Sharks” – Somer Mahfouz & Duke

HUMAN FOOSBALL TEAM

BOPPER BRIGADE

• Amber Morey

• Chuck Morey

• Jim Fitzgerald

• Mindy Fitzgerald

• Hanna Fitzgerald

• Kate Morey

Classic Car Show

• Best Truck Sue Russell, 1956 Big Window Ford

• Best Street Machine Jack Cato – “Diesel Rat Rod”

• Best Street Rod KB Bettisworth 1936 Ford (Full Custom)

• Best Sports Car Charles Edwards 2010 Mustang Convertible

• Best Antique Pre 1950 Tom & Allyson Gallagher – 1949 Cadillac Coupe

• Best of the 50’s Norm Odsather, 1957 Chevy BelAir

• Best of the Rest El Newman 1963 Lincoln

• President’s Award Rick Harding, 1969 Marcos 3litre GT

Bear Paw Awards:

The Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce

Volunteer Service in Excellence Award

Jaiden Yaskulski

The Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce

President’s Award

Odd Man Rush (OMR)

The Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce

Spirit of the Festival Award

Joanna White

The Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce

Excellence in Community Service Award

Sandra Porter, Eagle River Good Deal Magazine

The 47th Annual Bear Paw Community Service Award

Presented to an Outstanding Organization

Anchorage Fire Department Station 11

The 47th Annual Bear Paw Community Service Award

Presented to an Outstanding Individual

Tracey Hupe

THAT’S ALL, FOLKS!

The Bear Paw Festival wrapped up Sunday with the final official events of the five-day downtown fair. Sunday’s highlights included dozens of competitors of all ages in the Running with the Bears, a 300-yard race along Business Boulevard, the motorcycle show and the Ice Cream Eating Contest.

Sunday also featured the final day of the Rodeo Alaska events at the Eagle River Lions Park rodeo grounds.

Skies were cloudy in the morning but began clearning by midday to reveal a bright blue sky as the festival swelled with people as Sunday afternoon wore on. The annual midsummer festival was held under warm, sunny conditions all weekend, which made for large crowds at Saturday’s Grand Parade and throughout the festival grounds all weekend long.

Check back Monday for more updates, including a complete list of winners of all the Bear Paw events.

FESTIVAL WRAPS UP SUNDAY

With more sun expected Sunday, July 16, Bear Paw has a full schedule of events to tempt visitors on the festival’s final day.

Among Sunday’s highlights are a powerlifting competition at 9 a.m., the annual “Running with the Bears” 300-yard fun run at 1 p.m. and the always chilling ice cream eating contest at 1:30 p.m. The festival concludes with the Ididaduck rubber ducky race and raffle at 4:30 p.m. on the mainstage. See below for a schedule of events or visit the festival online at bearpawfestival.com.

GRAND PARADE FLOATS FORWARD

What’s a parade without a marching band?

Colony High School’s Thee Northern Sound did the honors at this year’s Bear Paw Grand Parade, serenading spectators along the mile-long downtown route.

“It’s fun to watch,” said 7-year-old Jade Wuollet, sitting on the curb and waiting for the parade to begin Saturday morning.

One of the most popular parts of Bear Paw, the grand parade featured dozens of floats, hundreds of spectators and almost enough candy to satisfy all the kids along the way. It all started around 11 a.m. near the corner of Old Eagle River Road and the Old Glenn Highway, but families began lining the parade route more than an hour before it began.

Thee Northern Sound, more than 100 musicians strong, warmed up on a side street. As the sound of trumpets drifted through the neighborhood, passersby and paradegoers paused to listen. Eagle River resident Holly Garcia hoisted her daughter, Emily, on to her shoulders to watch. After the parade, she said, they’d visit the carnival, another Bear Paw staple.

Nearby, Jon Nauman, owner of Chugiak’s Horse Drawn Carriage Company, waited to drive the carriage carrying parade grand marshall Virginia Lauer-McMichael. Nauman’s driven in the parade for around 20 years now, he said. He said he wouldn’t miss it for the world.

“I feel like I need to be here,” Nauman said. “It’s part of what I do.”

A few minutes later, the drums began to roll and off they went.

Watch video from the parade here.

BBQ BENEFITS EAGLE RIVER COUPLE

The annual Carrs Benefit BBQ near the mainstage is in its 32nd year, and this year the cause is close to home.

Volunteers staffing the booth are working to raise money for former coworker Melissa Roberts, an Eagle River woman who was severely injured in a moose attack earlier this summer. Melissa is a former Carrs employee and her husband, Steve, still works for the company.

Running the no-frills booth (hamburgers and hot dogs) Saturday were former Carrs employee Crandel Randall and current employees Roberts Vandenberg, Lisa Severson and Mary Casey. The four said helping out their friends from work was an easy choice.

“They’re family,” said Randall.

SLIPPERY FUN

The Slippery Salmon Olympics are always a festival highlight, and this year’s didn’t disappoint. In addition to the usual cast of locals and tourists, U.S. Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan turned out to participate in the annual dead-salmon-and-Coke relay. Murkowski — a veteran of about 10 such competitions — said being willing to get dirty is key to the fishy contest.

“You can’t be afraid to touch the fish,” she said.

Veteran savvy played a role in this year’s event, as 2015 champion Esteban Trujillo of Eagle River teamed up with Anchorage’s Ivan Cuevas to win the championship.

For a complete story about the event, click here.

ONE MOE TIME

Jake Moe won his ninth Bear Paw 5K and third in a row Saturday morning, completing the 5-kilometer course in 15 minutes, 39 seconds to hold off recent ACS grad Blake Bennett by 11 seconds. Houston’s Allison VanPelt won the women’s title in 19:09, putting 21 seconds between herself and second-place Morgan Ekemo of Eagle River.

Click here for a full recap and results.

PARADE SET TO ROLL

The Grand Parade is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. The Old Glenn Highway will be closed at 10:40 a.m. from Business Boulevard to the start of the parade route near Chief Alex Park. The parade will run along the Old Glenn from the park to Business Boulevard, where it will take a sharp turn left and circle back through the parade grounds before returning to the finish near Centerfield Drive.

ON THEIR MARKS…

Runners could be seen prepping and stretching Saturday morning for the Bear Paw 5-kilometer race, which was set to begin at 10:30 a.m. as a prelude to the parade. Runners will start at the corner of Farm Avenue and the Old Glenn (near AutoZone) and take a route through the streets and bike paths of Eagle River before finishing at the Eagle River Presbyterian Church.

TEDDY BEAR PICNIC DRAWS A CROWD

The 2017 Bear Paw Festival is in full swing in downtown Eagle River. On Thursday, the annual Bear Paw Pageant was held, while Friday’s events included the annual Teddy Bear Picnic, Day 1 of the Bear Paw Rodeo and a classic car show on Business Boulevard.

The picnic attracted hundreds of children, who were surrounded by kid-friendly games and events such ranging from the whimsical Teddy Bear Parade to the odorous rotten sneaker contest.

Winning that event (and a trip to New York City) was 7-year-old Hunter Hamm, whose fish-egg-splattered sneakers took the top prize over brother, Bennett, and third-place Ezekiel Vogel.

In the Lunchbox Derby contest — where participants built mini soapbox derby cars out of vegetables and raced them down a short track — Bryston Toth took first place with a distance of 9 feet, 10 inches, beating out Jayden Hollon (9’8”) and Caleb Bodoloski (7’5”).

Saturday’s events include the Bear Paw 5K race at 10:15 a.m. and the Grand Parade in downtown Eagle River at 11 a.m.

BEAR PAW ROYALTY CROWNED

After a one-year absence, the annual Bear Paw Pageant returned this year to crown new winners. Taking the titles at the Thursday event were queen Shannon O’Hare, king Michal Treader, princess Casey McCormick and prince Jon Streff.

PLAYGROUND REOPENED FRIDAY

Closed Thursday due to vandalism, the playground adjacent to the festival grounds was reopened Friday afternoon shortly after the conclusion of the Teddy Bear Picnic. The Municipality of Anchorage was forced to close the playground after someone sprayed fire extinguishers, broke glass and damaged playground eqiupment at the park, which is specially designed for children with special needs.

Saturday, July 15

10:15 a.m. — Bear Paw Classic 5K run/walk, AutoZone (12250 Old Glenn)

11 a.m. — Golden Wheel Amusement carnival begins, Town Square Park

11 a.m. — Bear Paw Grand Parade, Old Glenn Highway and Business Boulevard

1 p.m. — Bicycle Safety Rodeo, Mat Valley Federal Credit Union (11800 Business Boulevard)

1:15 p.m. — Slippery Salmon Olympics, Mainstage

2:15 p.m. — Alaska Moving Arts performance, Mainstage

3 p.m. — Bear Paw’s Got Talent, Mainstage

5 p.m. — Human foosball tournament, Mat Valley Federal Credit Union (11800 Business Boulevard)

6 p.m. — Bear Paw Rodeo, Eagle River Lions Park

Sunday, July 16

9 a.m. — Alaska Powerlifting competition, People Mover transit station

11:30 a.m. — VCA Dog/owner look-a-like contest, Mainstage

Noon — Golden Wheel Amusements carnival begins

12:30 p.m. — Candice’s Dance Studio, Mainstage

1 p.m. — Motorcycle show, Business Boulevard

1 p.m. — Running with the Bears 300 yard fun run, Mainstage/Business Boulevard

1:30 p.m. — Ice Cream Eating Contest, Mainstage

2 p.m. — Bear Paw Rodeo, Eagle River Lions Park

2:15 p.m. — Chopped Salmon Throwdown, Mainstage

4:30 p.m. — Ididaduck, Mainstage

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