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Fairbanks is the Hot Spot of Alaska

A Guide to Fairbanks, Alaska

    After the winter snow melts and the brilliant cascades of the northern lights are no longer visible in the sky, the summer fun starts in Fairbanks the hot spot of Alaska!

    With days that are close to 24 hours long and with temperatures that can soar up to 90 F, it's easy to see how this Interior Alaska city got its well-deserved nickname. Summer in Fairbanks is as extraordinary as the land in which this season takes place. There's plenty for the visitor to do, from river rafting and gold panning to salmon bake feasting and midnight sun golfing. With the sun's constant presence the only limit is the energy to participate in the round-the-clock activities.

    The summer fun starts in June, when Fairbanks hosts a variety of events to celebrate the longest day of the year on June 21. The month gets kicked off with a foot-stomping good time with the Fairbanks Summer Folk Festival held at Alaskaland in mid-June. The Midnight Sun Festival is held June 21, and features late night shopping and entertainment. Also on June 21 is the Midnight Sun Baseball Game. The game features the Fairbanks semi-pro baseball team, the Goldpanners, who play a night game starting at 10:30 p.m. without any artificial lights. For running enthusiasts, casual strollers and spectators, Interior Alaska's largest race, the 10K Midnight Sun Run that starts at 10 p.m. on June 17th, and has divisions for runners and walkers as well as a colorful costumed division.

    In July, the temperature continues to rise and so do the number of activities. There are numerous events around town on the Fourth of July, including the North Pole Summer Festival, which is held in the community of North Pole, 13 miles from Fairbanks. Fairbanks celebrates its founding with Golden Days from July 13-23. This commemoration of the discovery of gold in Fairbanks in 1902 includes old-fashioned contests, a grand parade and races. Golden Days was named one of the Top 100 Events in North America by the American Bus Association. Spend a couple of days enjoying the festivities and you'll soon see why.

    If it's culture you're looking for, you'll find it in Fairbanks in July. The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, held from July 21-August 6, features two weeks of workshops, concerts and performances involving music, dance, theater and visual arts with guest artists from around the country. The Festival is held on the beautiful University of Alaska Fairbanks campus. The World Eskimo-Indian Olympics, held July 12-15, mixes culture with athletic excitement. The annual event features Native people from around the state competing in traditional games of strength and endurance, as well as native dancing.

    In early August from the 4th through the 12th, Interior Alaska showcases its best in crafts, food, music and fun with the Tanana Valley State Fair. Alaska's oldest fair is a treat for all ages and provides great exposure to true Alaskan hospitality.

    As September rolls around, the summer comes to a close in Interior Alaska. Visitors to Fairbanks in September sometimes get a chance to enjoy early snowfall or a glimpse of the northern lights. The Equinox Marathon, held September 16, is the grand finale for the summer season. The race has been billed as the second hardest marathon in the U.S.

    If you can't make it to Interior Alaska during one of the above events, don't worry. There's still plenty to do and see to fill every hour of your stay. Take a scenic and historical trip along the Chena and Tanana Rivers on the sternwheeler Riverboat Discovery. Try your luck panning for gold at a historical mining camp. Hop aboard a motorcoach (or drive your own vehicle) for a trip above the Arctic Circle. Enjoy a relaxing soak in one of the natural hot springs in the area. Get a bird's eye view of Interior Alaska in a hot air balloon or take a flightseeing trip aboard a bush plane to one of several neighboring Native villages. Explore the natural and cultural history of the state at the University of Alaska Museum, one of the top 10 visitor attractions in the state. Opportunities abound for the summer visitor to Fairbanks.

    Another popular destination for the summer visitor is Denali National Park and Preserve which lies only a short two-hour drive from Fairbanks. Visitors may drive, take a train or motorcoach, or even fly to the park. It is the perfect place to view Alaskan wildlife, including moose, bears, wolves and fox. Denali is also home to the 20,320 foot Mount McKinley, the highest mountain in North America.

    Exciting events, fun fairs, majestic mountains, terrific tours and trips, not to mention a sun that seems to never go down. These are just some of the reasons to come to Fairbanks, the hot spot of Alaska, for the summer of 2000.

    For more information, visit the FCVB web site at www.explorefairbanks.com.

Copyright Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau. Used here with permission.