Top Events and Festivals in Alaska
Explore this selection of the top annual events and festivals, fairs and celebrations (listed in calendar priority) in the State of Alaska
Please note: Top Events USA does not include every single event on offer in Alaska – only those recognized as the best by residents of Alaska and visitors to the "Land of the Midnight Sun", the team of travel writers working for Top Events USA and officials of the state of Alaska too.
åaska is sometimes referred to as the “Land of the Midnight Sun” because the sun never sets below the horizon in the heart of the summer.
Anchorage Folk Festival
For two full weeks in mid-January, the Anchorage Folk Festival, now recognized as the best free music event in Alaska, showcases more than 120 singers, dancers, storytellers, and groups from throughout Alaska and around the world as they perform traditional and original material in styles ranging from folk to Celtic, bluegrass, jazz, klezmer and more. The concerts and workshops are open to the public and are free.
For more information about the Anchorage Folk Festival visit:
Wasilla to Nome to Fairbanks, Alaska
An exiting event for over 30 years, the Iron Dog race, formerly known as the Iron Dog Gold Rush Classic, is still the world's longest and toughest snowmobile race covering 2,000 miles from Wasilla to Nome to Fairbanks. The course covers remote and rugged Alaska terrain in a harsh winter climate in which teams of two people and two snowmobiles work together and share their survival skills.
For more information about the Iron Dog race visit:
Fur Rendezvous Festival
late Feb – early March
Alaskans know how to make the most of the short winter days and in the week leading up to the start of the Iditarod sled dog race, the Fur Rondy festival is one opportunity to get out and enjoy the snow. The celebration dates back to the early 1900s when trappers and miners emerged from Alaska’s wilderness to trade, socialize and compete in survival-type games. Nowadays the week-long event contains a weight pull, sled dog races, snowshoe softball games, outhouse races, snow and ice sculpture competitions and more, as well as the popular Miners and Trappers costume ball.
For more information about the Fur Rendezvous Festival visit:
World Ice Art Championships
late February to end March
The World Ice Art Championships, one of the largest ice sculpting competitions and exhibitions on earth, showcases the huge, intricate ice sculptures of over 100 ice artists representing nearly 50 countries. All ice sculptures are finished and lighted the day following the end of the competition. The public is invited to watch the sculptures while they are being created during the first two weeks in March, and to view the finished pieces during the final two weeks in March. The event is staged by Ice Alaska at the 27-acre George Horner Ice Art Park, centrally located in Fairbanks. A Kid’s Park has slides and sculptures. There are also ice mazes, a skating rink, an “ice stage” for various performances and a concession area.
For more information about the World Ice Art Championships visit:
Click here – Fairbanks, Alaska – for events taking place particularly in the city of Fairbanks, Alaska
Iditarod Sled Dog Race
early – mid March
March is a month-long celebration in Nome. Teams competing in the 1,150-mile Iditarod Sled Dog race begin to arrive under the burled arch in Nome the second week in March. The Iditarod Sled Dog Race is an internationally known event and has been nominated as one of the top 100 events in the USA by American Bus Association (ABA). Local residents and visitors from around the world await to celebrate with grand banquets, art and craft shows, reindeer potluck, Native dancing, golf tournament on the Bering Sea, The Miners and Mushers Ball and more.
For more information about the Iditarod Sled Dog Race visit: http://iditarod.com/
The Iditarod Sled Dog Race is one of the TOP 20 EVENTS in the whole of the USA
Alaska Folk Festival
early to mid April
The Alaska Folk Festival brings the entire town of Juneau together for performances ranging from school groups to professionals to at-home hobbyists. Many people come from miles away to see and participate in this festive event. The event is held in mid-April, and admittance is free.
For more information about the Alaska Folk Festival visit:
Stikine River Migratory Bird and Garnet Festival
3rd week in April
Held towards the end of April, the Stikine River Migratory Bird and Garnet Festival marks the beginning of spring in Alaska and celebrates the arrival of the largest springtime concentration of bald eagles in the USA (some 3,000) as well as 200,000 shorebirds, 15,000 Snow Geese and more than 10,000 Sand Hill Cranes. This great event also offers golf tournaments, live concerts, birding and kayaking workshops, a public market, an arts and crafts fair, island and river birding opportunities, and tours.
For more information about the Stikine River Migratory Bird and Garnet Festival visit:
A growing event for more than 26 years, the 16-day Juneau Jazz & Classics music festival offers a wide variety of blues and classical music concerts, workshops and educational programs, and even fun family entertainment. More than 30 artists attracting over 10,000 visitors from Alaska and around the world showcase over 50 events throughout Juneau – in hotels and bars, schools and the University of Alaska Southeast, and even aboard boats and in private gardens.
For more information about the Juneau Jazz & Classics event visit:
May Day Fly-In & Air Show
early to mid May
One of the USA aviation events of the year, the May Day Fly-In & Air Show attracts more pilots, vendors and spectators than ever before. The pilot competitions include the spectacular STOL (Short Landing/Short Take Off) contests featuring the best pilots in the USA and around the world. Other events include the Poker Run (more easily understood when witnessed than explained), flour bombing (more obviously anticipated), spectacular high flying aerobatics, the Unusual Attitudes’ daring stunt shows, an US Coast Guard Helicopter simulated rescue and a team of skydivers.
For more information about the May Day Fly-In & Air Show visit:
Gold Rush Days
A popular event for many decades, Gold Rush days officially began in 1990 as Juneau’s two-day annual mining and logging competition. The first day (Saturday) concentrates on mining events with rock slab drilling competitions, hand mucking and spike driving contests and the second day (Sunday) focusses on logging events with log rolling, speed climbing, cable splicing, chopping and axe throwing contests. Events especially geared for children include carnival games, gold panning and hand mucking.
For more information about Gold Rush Days visit:
May Day Fly-In & Air ShowSitka Summer Music Festival
Every summer in June since 1972, the Sitka Summer Music Festival (SSMF) attracts classical musicians to Sitka from Asia, Europe, Canada and the United States for three weeks of concerts and musical events. There are typically 30 evening concerts as well as free informal concerts and multiple fundraising events and cruises.
For more information about the Sitka Summer Music Festival visit:
Each year on the Fourth of July, the population of Seward swells from around 2,500 to around 40,000. The annual Mount Marathon footrace draws runners from around the world and is a favorite hometown event that has drawn Alaskans to Seward for the Fourth of July since 1915. The route climbs 1.5 miles up the face of mountain – complete with steep cliffs, waterfalls and a spectacular view – and back down. The Independence Day festivities include a fireworks display, street vendors, contests, street parade and other special events.
For more information about Mount Marathon visit:
Midnight Sun Intertribal Powwow
As they have done at the Tanana Valley Fairgrounds in Fairbanks since the year 2000, Native Americans, Alaska Natives and First Nations people of Canada gather to share similarities and diversities, dance, song, stories, and traditions, and to educate the general public about the heritage of the indigenous people of North America.
For more information about the Midnight Sun Intertribal Powwow in Fairbanks visit:
Recognized as a Top 100 event by the American Bus Association, Golden Days, a fun event for all the family, has been celebrating the founding of Fairbanks for more than 60 years attracting thousands of Alaskans and people from all over the USA and the world. Five days of events include everything from Alaska’s largest parade, sourdough pancake breakfasts, a popular street fair, kids day, the rubber ducky races, historic reenactments and a comedy night.
For more information about Golden Days visit:
Click here – Fairbanks, Alaska – for events taking place particularly in the city of Fairbanks, Alaska
For one day each August, the Southeast Alaska town of Ketchikan celebrates the Panhandle’s favorite fruit – the blueberry. Tourists and locals alike turn out for blueberry pie, the best blueberry art exhibit, best blueberry dish, a beard and mustache contest, Haiku poetry slam, pie eating contest, slug races, trivia contest, spelling bee, fun runs, pet and doll parade and with more activities on Main Street.
For more information about the Blueberry Festival visit:
Alaska State Fair
late August - early September
Rated as one of the Top 5 American State Fairs, the Alaska State Fair has been a popular event for more than 75 years attracting over 300,000 visitors with a variety of attractions including record breaking vegetables in events like the giant cabbage contest, exhibits of everything from rabbits to soda pop, and featuring performances by the likes of Bill Cosby, and more.
For more information about the Alaska State Fair visit:
Alaska Day Festival
The Alaska Day Festival commemorates the transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States on October 18, 1867 on Sitka’s Castle Hill. The celebration spans four days and includes concerts, a reenactment ceremony, a period costume ball, dances, dinners, contests and a parade. The festival is held in mid-October each year as the rest of the state celebrates Alaska Day as a state holiday.
For more information about the Alaska Day Festival visit:
A popular event for more than 15 years, the Sitka Whalefest focusses on both entertaining and educating visitors about the diverse and abundant marine mammals population of the area, complete with whale and marine mammal viewing trips, workshops, whale-watching tours, slide shows, workshops and discussions, and a concert and other community events.
For more information about the Sitka Whalefest visit:
Over 3,000 eagles gather along the Chilkat River to feast on spawning salmon. The festival is crammed with events catering to birdwatchers, photographers and nature lovers, and include photo workshops, speakers and presentations, guided eagle viewing, featured entertainers and the release of wild rehabilitated Bald Eagles. Most Festival activities are held at the American Bald Eagle Foundation museum. Daily buses and/or vans commute to the Alaska Bald Eagle Preserve.
For more information about the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival visit: