The celebration of Fur Rendezvous started as the end of the trapping season, when fur trappers would come to town to sell their pelts and enjoy the benefits of town life for a little while. I imagine some festivities took place in saloons, but they trappers also enjoyed good food and the company of friends. It was a great way to celebrate the growing daylight and shake off the doldrums of winter. That tradition grew into the Anchorage winter festival of Fur Rendezvous (Fur Rondy for short) that is celebrating its 78th year!
Even if you haven’t spent most of the winter out in the boonies by yourself on a trapline, it’s the perfect way to blow off a little steam and have fun. Activities include sled dog races, outdoor hockey, a snow sculpture contest, outhouse races, snowshoe softball, and the running of the reindeer. If it’s Alaskan, quirky, or involves the winter outdoors, it’s probably on the list! There are also indoor activities, from the oyster shucking contest to the Native musicale to the Miners and Trappers Charity Ball, known for its outlandish costumes. The last day usually coincides with the ceremonial start of the Iditarod. This year, Rondy is February 21 through March 2.
I enjoy going out to a few events each week that Rondy is held. My daughter and I usually attend the Rondy on Ice figure skating show. And I plan to browse the Native Arts Market and the Great Train Show. Maybe I’ll attend the melodrama and throw popcorn at the villain. It wouldn’t be right to miss out on Fur Rondy!