My daughter and I went to the fair last weekend. The Alaska State Fair has several locations, but the biggest is in Palmer, in the Matanuska Valley. The Matanuska Colony was started by the federal government during the Great Depression as a way for Midwest farmers to get a new start, and the area still has some farming. A great middle grade book about the Colony is Carole Estby Dagg’s Sweet Home Alaska (http://caroleestbydagg.com/books/sweet-home-alaska/overview/).
Like many other fairs, the Alaska State Fair has the carnival rides, fun foods, and other attractions of a standard county-type fair. We ate our way through the day, and enjoyed a wine tasting, too. I always have a salmon quesadilla, and the cream puffs are to die for!
We also checked out the booths and spent a little money. It’s amazing how many companies make their own stylish Alaskan shirts and hoodies; I could easily have one for every day of the year. And the concerts are always fun–we saw Kansas (the 70s band) this time. The performers usually comment on their view of Pioneer Peak on stage.
But the highlight for me is seeing the animals (including a reindeer this year!) and giant vegetables. This area is known for huge veggies, especially cabbage and pumpkins. We went too early to see the big weigh-off this year, but the past records are a 138.25 pound cabbage and 1469 pound pumpkin. (See more at http://www.alaskastatefair.org/site/exhibits/giant-fruit-vegetable-records/.)