If you are traveling through Alaska to celebrate Independence Day, look for a Westmark nearby. Endless hours of daylight and warmer temperatures bring out the cheer in everyone, not to mention all the festivities and events July brings with it. And July Fourth features some of the biggest celebrations of all.
Just because the sun doesn’t set until after 11:30 p.m., doesn’t mean Alaskans forgo the traditional fireworks celebrations. Equally spectacular under the evening sun, these popping displays attract people of all ages even as late as midnight. As long as the sun is up, the day isn’t over in Alaska, and even more so when the next day is a holiday. Parades are also a big part of the 4th of July in Alaska. The great land likes its parades loud, bright and colorful and full of humor and tradition. But that’s not all; baseball games, watermelon eating contests, pancake breakfasts, soapbox races and an elf run are just part of the exciting things going on all around Westmark communities in Alaska.
Below are all the main events for the 4th of July in Alaska, listed by community:
- Fireworks at Mulcahy Stadium – Midnight, July 3. Anchorage’s Independence Day events start the night before, on July 3, with a fireworks display right after the Alaska Baseball League doubleheader with the Anchorage Bucs and Anchorage Glacier Pilots.
- “Welcome Home” Parade and festival at the Park strip. 8 a.m.–6 p.m. starting at the Delaney Park strip. Events start with a traditional pancake breakfast and more than 50 different vendors and activities for all ages. The parade will leave the park strip at 11 a.m. at 9th Ave and K St., and will loop around the parks trip. Visit the Anchorage 4th of July website for a full schedule of the day’s events.
- If you go: Westmark Anchorage Hotel – 720 W. 5th Ave., Anchorage, 99501. Reservations desk: (907) 276-7676.
- July 4th Celebration at Pioneer Park – 1 p.m.–8 p.m. One of several 4th of July events in and around Fairbanks, this celebration features food, family activities, craft bazaar, entertainment, military colors ceremony and an Air Force fly-over.
- Friends of Creamer’s Fields nature walk at the Creamer’s Field Migratory Waterfowl Refuge – 10 a.m. – 11 a.m. Join FOCF naturalists on the refuge trails to learn more about the wonders of Interior Alaska and the Refuge. Walks begin at the Farmhouse Visitor’s Center. Groups of six or more may arrange for other times by special request. Phone: (907) 452-5162.
- “Santa’s Polar Party: Christmas in July!” at the North Pole Summer Festival – 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Join the city of North Pole as they celebrate Christmas in July in style. The day kicks off with a pancake breakfast at Santa’s Senior Center on 5th Ave. The pre-parade Elf Run starts at 11 a.m. and the parade begins at noon. Throughout the day, there will be hourly door prizes as well as games, entertainment, food and vendor booths. All activities are held at North Pole Elementary after the parade ends.
- If you go: Westmark Fairbanks Hotel and Conference Center – 813 Noble St., Fairbanks, 99701. Reservations desk: (907) 456-7722.
- “Red, white and blue” Firework over Gastineau Channel – Midnight, July 3. This year’s fireworks display pays tribute to Juneau’s own version of “red, white and blue”: Red for valor and hardiness; white for purity and innocence; and blue for vigilance, perseverance and justice.
- Annual Fourth of July Parade on Egan Dr. – 11 a.m.-12 p.m. The parade will begin on Egan Dr. and head down Main St.
- July 4th Celebration in Douglas – A three-day celebration, July 2-4. The community of Douglas will celebrate the holiday with activities for the entire family. Beginning on July 2, visitors and locals alike can enjoy music and magic with the Roustabout Circus Performers, Morgan Moonshine and Happenstance. And of course, no 4th of July celebration would be complete without a parade and fireworks display.
- “Communication through the Years” – July Fourth Celebrations – runs July 1-4. Four days packed with 4th of July fun including vendor booths at the Eagle Quest ministries, as well as 4th of July fireworks and a parade. Line up for the parade begins at 1 p.m. on the 4th of July and the parade begins at 2 p.m.
- If you go: Westmark Sitka Hotel – 330 Seward St., Sitka 99835. Reservations desk: (907) 747-6241
- Fireworks over the Lynn Canal – Midnight, on July 3.
4th of July Parade and Festivities– 10 a.m. Residents of Skagway are proud of their 4th of July parade that has been in existence since 1898, when the first parade was led by none other than town legend Soapy Smith himself. Celebrations continue with an old fashioned family fun day, a slow bike race, pie eating contest, horseshoe tournament and egg toss.
- Duck Derby – Another fun event held annually during the 4th of July Skagway celebrations is the ducky Derby. Individuals can purchase a plastic ducky to race down a waterway in town. More than 1,000 plastic ducks will compete annually as they float to dodge culverts, train tracks and dogs chasing them down the waterway. Duck tickets can be purchased at the Skagway Chamber of Commerce or online at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- If you go: Westmark Inn Skagway – Third and Spring Streets, Skagway, 99840. Reservations desk: (907) 983-6000.