Alaska State Fair courtesy of alaskastatefair.org.
Palmer, Alaska is a small town that was populated during President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal. Part of the New Deal was the provision that, in order to help Americans recover from the Depression, the federal government would chose families from the Midwest to move to the Matanuska Valley to start new lives for themselves, living off of the Alaska land. By 1936, the colonists were ready for a celebration of their new Alaska lives and decided to hold a fair to honor their hard work – the Alaska State Fair was born.
More recently, the Alaska State Fair was named the second best state fair in the United States by Country Living magazine. Although the fair has grown significantly since its historic beginning, it continues to offer supersized portions of fun. If you’re in Alaska, or specifically in the Southcentral part of the state, between Aug. 22 and Sept. 2, make sure and add the Alaska State Fair to your travel itinerary.
Although Palmer is about 40 miles away from Anchorage, the Westmark Anchorage Hotel is your best bet for a budget-conscious, family-friendly option. When staying at the Westmark Anchorage, you can take the Valley Mover that will take you from Anchorage to the fair and back for only $10! If you prefer kicking back end enjoying the ride by rail, the Alaska Railroad Fair Train takes passengers from Anchorage to the fair on weekends.
Zucchini, pumpkin and cabbage, oh my! At the Alaska State Fair, viewing the giant vegetables is an absolute must. A variety of vegetables, to include some of the largest cabbages in the world, are available for daily viewing at the fair. While you’re by the farm exhibits, make sure to take the kids to the petting zoo where they can get up close to a plethora of baby Alaska animals.
Walking directly outside of the farm exhibits, you’ll spot Bushes Bunches. This Alaska Grown booth features delectable desserts, savory hot stew and fresh Alaska veggie packs to ensure that you don’t leave the fair without an unforgettable taste of Alaska. While you’re at the fair, you may notice the large mountain towering to the side of the fairgrounds. Pioneer Peak is a 6,398-foot mountain in the Chugach Mountain Range. At the fair, check out the mountain’s namesake, the Pioneer Peak Pretzel Co. for fresh, hand-rolled pretzel perfection.
While many visitors come to the fair explicitly for the food and scenery, others come for the nationally renowned musicians that who perform. This year headlining acts include 3 Doors Down, Foreigner, Bill Cosby, Phillip Phillips and more.
When you’ve had all the fun that you can muster and are sufficiently full of tasty fair food, the Westmark will welcome you back with comfortable rooms that make the entire family feel right at home.