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  • Writer's pictureCassie Schirm

Rendezvous at Fur Rondy!

The Fur Rendezvous winter festival, known locally as Fur Rondy or "Rondy" is a significant part of the Anchorage's history and tradition.

During this time you will find many Alaskans showing off their fur. If you don't own fur many of the stores do big sales. So that is the best time to get them.

In the mid-1930's, Anchorage was just a small town of about 3,000 people that stretched between Park Strip and Ship Creek. There were no televisions, malls or movie theaters, no video games, ipods or computers, not even an Iditarod!

It began as a sports tournament, Feb. 15 - 17, 1935,  and featured skiing, hockey, basketball, boxing and a children's sled dog race down Fourth Avenue. Nearly the entire population of Anchorage turned out for the bonfire and torchlight parade.  Now it is a ten day festival.

The Official Rondy Fur Auction has been a staple since the beginning. Given that the fur trade was Alaska's third most valuable industry in those days, incorporating the industry into the celebration was a logical idea.

This has been one of my favorite parts because there is so much to learn about trapping.

The Blanket Toss, an ancient Alaska Native tradition, joined the festival in 1950. Native Alaskans were flown into Anchorage from Nome and the Little Diomede Islands to participate in the Blanket Toss and showcase their captivating tribal dances.

The World Championship Sled Dog Race debuted in 1946 and has become the cornerstone event of the festival, bringing teams of sled dogs and mushers to Anchorage from across Alaska and all over the world.

It’s cool to have a fair steps from downtown. There are lots of fair foods and rides for the kids! I had some fun taking pictures with Bore Tide Photography around the auction and carnival and it’s the perfect backdrop.

Another cool event to see at Fur Rondy is the snow sculpturs. There is so much detail in the sculptures that came from a block of snow.

Other crowd-pleasing events include the Rondy Grand Parade, Outhouse Races, Snowshoe Softball and Running of the Reindeer – a mellower version of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls and much more.

The last day of Fur Rondy starts the beginning of the Iditarod with the ceremonial start.

It‘s definitely one of my favorite events to go to in Anchorage!

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