Bear Paw is here

Annual event runs through Sunday


Published:

Participants in the 2011 Bear Paw Festival show their enthusiasm for the annual event, which runs through Sunday, July 15.

MATT TUNSETH

Get ready for all the activities you can handle.

The 2012 Bear Paw Festival runs today (Thursday, July 12) through Sunday, July 15 in Chugiak-Eagle River.

“The focus of this is to have fun and focus on community,” said Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Susie Gorski.

Gorski said this year’s theme “It’s a Jungle Out There” should make for plenty of humorous floats in the parade, which starts Saturday at 11 a.m.

“It’s kind of a play on words,” she said. “It’s a jungle out there in more ways than one.”

The parade is one of Gorski’s favorite aspects of Bear Paw, she said.

“It’s just a real representation of every kind of group in this area,” Gorski said. “The parade is really amazing.”

Those seeking a free lunch need look no further than the Teddy Bear Picnic in the Eagle River Commons.

“We probably serve 1,000 hot dogs,” Gorski said.

The picnic — which includes a Lunch Box Derby, Odor Eaters Rotten Sneakers contest and games — runs from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Friday.

The always-entertaining Running with the Bears, which starts at 1 p.m. on Sunday, has a new twist this year.

The animals will be carrying “you’ve been bit” stickers, Gorski said, and seek unsuspecting victims during the race.

Anyone suffering from a “bite wound” must report to the first-aid tent to receive medical attention, and of course, a prize.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a festival without food and entertainment, and this year there’s plenty. At the festival’s vendor court (located next to Garcia’s), dozens of food booths will compete to grab your taste buds’ attention.

For the kids (and kids at heart), Golden Wheel Amusement’s carnival will be running on the festival midway at Eagle River Town Square Park through Sunday.

There’s also almost nonstop entertainment at the festival’s two stages. At the Matanuska Valley FCU Main Stage, everything from live music to special events will be held, while at the vendor stage, more than 20 local musicians will play for the thousands of festival-goers expected to take part in the weekend event.

A complete festival guide was inserted in last week’s paper. For a copy of the guide, visit www.bearpawfestival.org or stop by the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber of Commerce or Chugiak-Eagle River Star office.

Throughout her 24 years at the chamber, Gorski said the tremendous amount of work that goes into putting on Bear Paw each year is always rewarding.

“You stress a little bit,” she said. “But, it’s fun to see the community come together.”

 

Contact Mike Nesper at 694-2727 or mike.nesper@alaskastar.com

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