Second annual governor’s picnic
(Note to our readers: Many of our articles for this column come directly from the old Knik Arm Courier, which was this area’s weekly newspaper in the 1960s. Occasionally, an article of historical interest is too long for our space, or needs some clarification for today’s residents. Then the historical society relies on a small group of locals who meet weekly with author Darlene Halverson to improve their writing skills. Calling themselves the “Memory Retrievers,” they will be acknowledged whenever they have lent a hand in preparing our articles.)
A full page ad in the 1960 Knik Arm Courier contained the following information:
“The 2nd Annual Governor’s Picnic will be held at the Chugiak Carnival Grounds on Sunday, June 12, beginning at noon. Goveernor Egan will give an address. An invitation to President Eisenhower to attend has been sent by telegram. There will be a barbecue, rides and bingo at this grand community gathering.”
Local merchants who were sponsoring this event were also listed, and included Allen’s Grocery and Cabins, Bradley’s Market, Tip’s Bar, Far North Fuel, Lorraine’s Dept. Store, Besse’s Beauty Shop, Wallace Concrete Products, Birchwood Building Material, Eagle River Hardware, Half-Way House, Peters Creek Service, Spring Creek Lodge, Dee’s Texaco Service, Lamppost Inn and Tiny’s Tavern.
Local residents were requested to donate side dishes for the picnic. Anchorage Cold Storage and Alaska Fish and Farm Supply were donating 1,500 pounds of meat for the barbecue, while Matanuska Maid Dairy donated the ice cream.
There was also a request for volunteers to meet at the carnival grounds on Wednesday before the picnic to clean it up and get it ready for the big event.
Picnic chairman George Allen felt that a display of community spirit and industrious effort might indeed make Chugiak a consideration as the site of the new state capital, especially since U.S. Senators Bartlett and Gruening and Rep. Rivers and Lyndon Johnson would be attending.
A follow-up article in the next issue of the Courier reported that approximately 2,500 people attended the picnic, which was more like a carnival than a picnic. Gov. Egan’s address was the highlight. He spoke of Alaska’s progress since statehood. President Eisenhower did not attend.
This column is provided by the Chugiak-Eagle River Historical Society, which is located at 18606 Old Glenn Highway in Chugiak. Reach them at email@example.com or 688-4706.