5 things to do in the Mat-Su: Weekend of July 7, 2017

5 things to do in the Mat-Su: Weekend of July 7, 2017

WASILLA — A most nostalgic weekend will see more Wasilla Centennial celebrations ahead with a car show and rodeo. Wasilla High School’s Class of 1997 will be having a two-day reunion party. It will also be an artistically-organic weekend as well. The Palmer Museum is having its annual Garden and Art Faire. It is also time again for the Fireweed Race Across Alaska, where cyclists compete on courses of various lengths between the Sheep Mountain Lodge on the Glenn Highway and Valdez. It is the first weekend of July and the forecasts look bleak. It’s unlikely Valley residents will be deterred by any rain since they know they have to make the most of the ever-fleeting summer. Locals can go back in time with old photos and vintage engines, jolt into the here and now with bucking broncos or leisurely walks through the garden, or propel into the future on two wheels and dream. Past, present and future come together as we all try make the best of our time Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Wasilla Centennial Rodeo

Rodeo Alaska will begin the weekend of events tonight with the gates opening at 4 p.m. and first show at 6 p.m. It all takes place at the Curtis D. Menard Sports Center. It is part of Wasilla’s Centennial Celebration and the rodeo’s Champions Tour.

There will be several events featuring Alaska’s top cowboys performing in bull riding, team roping, breakaway roping, chute dogging, calf riding, double mugging, barrel racing, ribbon roping, and mutton bustin’. There will also be junior rodeo riders showing their skills.

On Saturday, gates open at 4 p.m. with the first show at 6 p.m. and Sunday gates open at 12 p.m. with the first show at 2 p.m.

Centennial Car Show

The 2017 Centennial Car show weekend will begin Friday at 4 p.m. with a shine up and matinee until 8 p.m. It’s an indoor and outdoor event located at the Curtis D. Menard Sports Center. The show will be hosted by the 49th State Street Rodders, a non-profit car club based in Palmer. There will be an assortment of cars and motorcycles. Expect to see vintage rides, supped up hot rods, Harley Davidsons, and even a hearse decorated with skulls.

“There will be everything form 1929 Model A’s to 2017 Corvettes, and everything in between,” said John Trout, founding member of the 49th State Street Rodders.

Those wishing to get a taste of the Harley life can jump on Harley Davidson’s JUMPSTART Rider Experience, a “treadmill on steroids” that fuses a motorcycle to a stationary support stand. The bike is secured and will not tip over so this allows sample-riders a feel for riding a bike safely, without having any prior experience. There will be trained staff in-site to guide would-be cyclers.

The car show is yet another segment of Wasilla’s Centennial Celebration. Admission and parking will be free.

The car show is going rev up all weekend:

Friday 4-8 p.m – opening night, “Shine-M-Up” and Matinee

Saturday 10 a.m to 8 p.m. All day show

Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Show then trophies are awarded

 Palmer Museum Garden and Art Fair

The annual Palmer Museum Garden and Art Fair will be Saturday from 10 a.m. To 6 p.m.

Growing each year in both scale and attendance, the event is a chance for the community to immerse in local art, gardening, music, and food. With 63 participating vendors, there will be a plethora of activities to indulge and goods to browse.

Those looking to sharpen their skills or learn something new can attend an array of workshops covering art, gardening, and even brewing 101. There will also be garden tours around town.

Friday will be the Palmer Wine Walk from 6 p.m. To 9 p.m and the Rhubarb Rumble will also be on Friday from 4 p.m. To 6 p.m.

“It’s showcasing the best in Palmer,” said. Selena Ortega-Chiolero, Executive Director for the Palmer Museum.

Hosted by the Palmer Museum, the Art Fair will have a “ridiculous amount” of workshops, fresh food and local talent on stage throughout the day.

Entry, music and all of the workshops are free. According to Ortega-Chiolero, any money spent goes directly to the nonprofits and local vendors fueling the community. Businesses across town have donated thousands of dollars to fund the event. She said that says a lot and means they have put a lot of faith in the museum.

“It shows they have faith in us because they believe in this event,” she said.

There will also be survey that requires no personal information and enters participates in a raffles to win a basket that has a collection of items donated by the local vendors.

2017 Schedule:

Palmer Public Library (meeting room)

11 – 11:45 a.m. Growing Award-Winning Peonies in Your Home Garden with Sue Lincoln                                                     

12 – 12:45 p.m. Going Bananas? with Charles

1 – 1:45 p.m. Growing the Blue Ribbon Specimen for the State Fair with Jaime Rodriguez                                                                                                    

3 – 3:45 p.m. Successful Cannabis Cultivation with Charles Stillman         

10 – 10:45 a.m.   Dirt’s Great for Depression with Jodie Anderson               

1:45 – 2:30 p.m. Colored Pencil Garden Impressions with Rose Hendrickson                    

1 – 1:45 p.m. The Art of Encaustic with Judy Vars

2 – 3:00 p.m. From Ground to Skin with Peggy

On the Borough Green

10 a.m. – 6 p.m. (at the Sahara Storm Productions Booth)

21:00 – 12:45AM (at the Nourished Health Coaching Services Booth) Sauces and Sides with Fresh Herbs with Winona

1:00 – 1:45PM (at the All Dahlia’d Up Booth) Flower Halos with Misty VanderWeele

2:00 -2:45PM (at the Cook Inlet Bonsai Study Group Booth) Bonsai in Alaska Gardens with Paul

Around Town

11:00 – 6:00PM Artists Uncorked – Introduction to Open Studio with Diana Bland

4:00 – 5:00PM  Arkose Brewery – Brewing 101 with Stephen Gerteisen


2:00 – 2:45PM   Walking History Tour of the Mat-Su Agricultural Showcase Garden with Jaime Rodriguez

Live Music

Art Of Music At The Palmer Museum (12:00 – 4:00pm)

11:00-11:45AM  Palmer Arts Council Summer Youth Band                     

12:00 – 12:45PM MatSu Community Choir

1:00 -1:45PM         Jerry Wessling Band 

2:00 – 2:45PM        Meggie Aubie 

3:00 – 3:45PM        UTN (Hip hop group)

4:00 – 4:45PM       The Whee Duet Band

95.5 HATCHER PASS RADIO STAGE (12:00 – 5:00PM)

12:00PM    Adam Patterson

1:00PM     Devynn Maclure

2:00PM     Brothers In Arms

3:00PM     Earth 2 Travolta

4:00PM     Mountain Waxwings

5:00PM     Jerry Wessling Band


(11:00AM – 10:00PM)

11:00AM – 1:00PM     Megan Killoran

1:30 – 3:30PM            Tanana Rafters

4:00 – 6:30PM            Hannah Yoter Band

7:00 – 10:00PM          Blackwater Railroad Company

The Fireweed – Race Across Alaska

The annual Fireweed – Race Across Alaska, a series of bicycle races that all begin at the Sheep Mountain Lodge in Sutton and take racers to vast distances across the state starts today. There will be five types of races with varying distances ranging from 50 miles to 400 miles:

1) Great Alaska Half Century, Saturday: The 50-mile course heads east toward Glennallen.

2) Great Alaska Century, Saturday: The 100-mile course heads east toward Glennallen.

3) Great Alaska Double Century, Saturday: The 200-mile course finishes in Valdez.

4) Fireweed 400, Friday-Saturday: The 400-mile course goes to Valdez where it turns around and heads back to Sheep Mountain.

5) Great Alaska 2DAY300K, Friday-Saturday: The 300 Km (200-mile) heads east to Glennallen, then turns south and continues to Tonsina Lodge.

The race began in 2004 and has since grown in popularity. According to Jim Mendenhall, Board President and Race Director, the race gathered $ 3,100 last year. There are around 500 racers registered this year. The race is operated by volunteers and all profits fund local athletic youth programs like bicycle, swim, and ski clubs and high school sport teams.

According to the website, the Fireweed Race is the “largest Race Across America (RAAM) Qualifier in the world.” Finishers also qualify for John Morino points and Century points with the ultra-marathon bicycle association.

“We wanted an Alaskan experience with mountains, wilderness, wild animals, glaciers, and roaring rivers,” the website says.

All Races begin at the Sheep Mountain Lodge at 17701 Glenn Hwy, Sutton. The cut off for registration is Friday evening. For start times, additional information or to register, visit www.fireweed400.com or call Mendenhall at (907) 360-9390. Price: $ 100 to $ 120 

Riders may pick their bibs up and sign waiver at the Sheep Mountain Lodge greenhouse on Friday from 10-11 a.m. For more information, contact Veronica Beagan at [email protected].

2 day party for returning Warriors: Wasilla High class of 1997

Wasilla High School’s Class of 1997 is having their 20 year reunion party Friday night at Evangelo’s Restaurant, starting at 7 p.m. The event is RSVP but according to Micheley Kowalski, one of four coordinators (including Laura McCain, Johanna Kinney and Amanda Benson), there “may be some people that will arrive unexpectedly.” They will be welcome but may be asked to pony up $ 40. There will be a cash bar with appetizers “with maybe some 90’s music playing.” According to Kowalski about 60 people out of an estimated 100 or so will show up.

“It was really nice that there were four us to organize this,” Kowalski said.

On Saturday there will also be a tour of Wasilla High School to wander down memory lane at 10 a.m. and a family picnic at Wonderland Park at 12 p.m. where everyone’s kids, spouses and even any past teachers are welcome to join. The tour will be led Jeannie Heabert-Truax, head basketball coach and math teacher at Wasilla High for more than years.

“There’s a lot of folks in the Valley who I hope will show up. People are welcome to come who didn’t RSVP. They can come for sure. It will be really great to reconnect with everyone,” she said.

So, any 1997 Wasilla High School Graduates are welcome to throwback a few decades and check up on their old class mates.

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About Craig Ballantyne 16210 Articles
I love anything to do with Harley Davidson and have two beautiful children and a beautiful partner. In my spare time i like building websites and love anything to do with the internet.

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