The “uglier” the better. That is, at least when it comes to holiday sweaters. While the cliche is that Alaskans tend to lag behind on styles, the ugly sweater trend is fully embraced on the Last Frontier this season. After all, these sweaters are warm and Alaskans do know a thing or two about piling on warm clothing.
Crafting enthusiasts in the Chugiak-Eagle River area have turned their artsy pursuits into much more than just fulfilling hobbies. From jewelry and soap-making to calendars featuring local scenes to a home-grown version of treats in a canning jar, area crafters fill a niche for gift givers seeking something unique. These are industrious side businesses showcasing local creativity as an alternative to the standard gift fare found at big box retailers or online.
Eagle River resident Bob Clark has been wood carving since he was a kid, he said, making household items for his family. He just re-finished the wooden highchair he made for his son 31 years ago when he was a baby, and gave it back to him for use by his six-month-old grandson.
It was all about the lights. But it was much more than that. Hundreds of people gathered in Town Square last Friday evening for the annual Winter Wonderland and the lighting of the Christmas tree, which marked the official kick-off of this year’s holiday season.
Local students, along with nearly 60 Anchorage School District students, took part in the 42nd annual Lager Nordlicht (Camp Northern Lights) at Birchwood Camp in Chugiak, Nov. 7-8. The camp was started 42 years ago by the venerable Jo Sanders, longtime Bartlett German Teacher and now curriculum director of the Rilke Schule German Charter School.
Class is in session Dec. 6 and 7 for Chugiak High graduate and Eagle River resident Dusty Moody’s how-to workshop on making fine leather bracelets. The course, at Tandy’s Leather in Anchorage, is the first time he’ll be sharing his craft with students.
When the next big shaker hits, there is a group of students at Eagle River Elementary School that are well prepared to handle it. As part of an after-school earthquake and disaster preparedness club, approximately 30 students grade three through six have learned much more than just the duck and cover routine. Their knowledge of what causes earthquakes, what to do protect yourself and others nearby during an earthquake and how to proceed after the ground stops shaking now somewhat rivals that of the experts at the U.S. Geological Survey.
Thrift, vintage, antique: when it comes to something old, Eagle River-Chugiak’s got a lot of something new. Two shops, Forget-Me-Not in Chugiak and Whatnot Consignments, established in 1985, have long been local favorites. The Possibilities Shop and Pretty Thrifty, another two, opened within months of each other at the end of 2013.
More than 130 girls, adult volunteers and community leaders turned out for the grand opening of Camp Singing Hills, a Girl Scouts of Alaska owned property in Chugiak Nov. 16. Speakers included Sen. Anna Fairclough, Senator-elect Bill Stoltze, Sen. Lisa Murkowski and Jane Angvik, Camp Singing Hills capital campaign chair.