Welcome to the jungle ...

Wednesday, July 4, 2012 - 08:00

Whew, what a busy time in our community! In just the past week, Eagle River has hosted a pair of huge events, including a sun-drenched Highland Games and an explosive fireworks show and July 3 celebration. Then just yesterday, Chugiak hosted its 42nd annual Fourth of July parade, an annual American tradition that proves there isn’t a more patriotic town anywhere.

Now comes the grand finale, with the annual Bear Paw Festival set to begin July 11. The theme this year is “It’s a Jungle Out There,” and in this week’s Star you’ll find this year’s festival guide, your map through the “jungle” of food, fun and games that will sprout up in downtown Eagle River.

Things officially get going July 11, with an awards ceremony during the Chugiak-Eagle River Chamber’s luncheon at the Bear Mountain Grill in Eagle River.

The festival really comes to life on July 12, when Golden Wheel Amusements begins their four-day stay at Town Square Park. That night, the Bear Paw Pageant — in which our community’s brightest (and bravest) young men and women will compete for scholarship money — hits the stage at Chugiak High.

After Thursday, things really start getting hectic. From the Teddy Bear Picnic Friday to the I-Did-a-Duck race on Sunday, the list of events is far too long to print here.

That’s why the chamber has once again provided today’s full-color festival guide. It includes everything from maps and vendor guides to entertainment schedules and even the best place to find salmon…slippery or otherwise!

The fact that little ‘old Chugiak-Eagle River puts on so many big events in such a short period of time is a testament to this community’s incredible spirit and willingness to pitch in for a common cause. Without an army of volunteers, none of these community events could be possible. And without strong involvement in community groups like the chamber and local service organizations, the organizational effort needed to put these things on could never be accomplished.

While you’re enjoying the Bear Paw Festival this year, take a moment to stop by the new playground that’s recently been completed in Town Square Park. Thanks to the efforts of the local Rotary Club and Focus Inc., there’s now a fully-inclusive playground there designed for children of all ability levels. The playground came about because a group of people in this community got together and decided to make their home a better place.

That’s the kind of spirit that makes Bear Paw — and the Highland Games, and the Fourth of July parade, and the fireworks — possible.

We’re proud to live, work and play a community where people are so enthusiastic about pitching in for the greater good.

Thank you to all the volunteers, organizers and officials who have come together once again to make this the best time of year to live in Chugiak-Eagle River.

Now…let’s have some fun!

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