Visit Anchorage in Winter – Fur Rendezvous!
The Fur Rendezvous winter festival – known locally as Fur Rondy or “Rondy” – is a significant part of the Anchorage’s history and tradition. In the mid-1930’s, Anchorage was just a small town of about 3,000 people that stretched between Park Strip and Ship Creek. There were no televisions, malls or movie theaters, no video games, ipods or computers, not even an Iditarod! Winters could be brutal and stoking fires, shoveling snow and surviving the elements was a basic daily pastime for some in those days.” FurRondy.net is your first stop when researching this premier winter event.
There are winter festival all over the world. Some more famous than others – other more, well attended, but none compare to the adventures we have #DowntownAnchorage. Tree huggers beware, this is not your typical “PC” event. The Fur Rondy was first established as an opportunity minors and trappers from around the state, to cash in on their winter spoils. Yes we have an active, (real-fur) auction. We hold a blanket toss on a walrus skin blanket. We mush dogs in below zero conditions and we coral 10 or so reindeer and let them loose into a screaming crowd of 1000s. The adventure is real, but it takes the right frame of mind to appreciate it’s glory.
“Vern Johnson, the father of Fur Rendezvous, was a likable, outgoing Anchorage citizen with a keen understanding of social conditions. He and his friends decided to establish a 3-day winter festival that would coincide with the time that miners and trappers came to town with their yield. It began as a sports tournament, Feb. 15 – 17, 1935, and featured skiing, hockey, basketball, boxing and a children’s sled dog race down Fourth Avenue. Nearly the entire population of Anchorage turned out for the bonfire and torchlight parade.”
Rondy has earned national and international notoriety, and visitors from throughout the world make Anchorage a destination for winter fun.
A day at Rondy may include the Frostbite Footrace & Costume Fun-Run 5k or 2.5 run. A Grand Parade down 5th Avenue. The Snow Sculpture Championship – at Ship Creek or the OutHouse Races on 4th. Since the 1970s the focal point has shifted to the Open World Championship Sled Dog Races. A prelude to the World Championship Sled-Dog Race to Nome.
For those who lack the mushing enthusiasm there is much to do. Snow Shoe Softball, on Kosinski Field. Kid’s events like the “Minors & Nappers” for a afternoon of Rondy fun. They create trapper hats, pan for gold – dress up like a sourdough or even design their own Rondy-inspired pin. We have a Talent Show a carnival, snow machine demonstration and an occasional race through the streets of downtown Anchorage.
One of the most popular events is the Running of the Reindeer nothing gets your heart pumping more than running down the middle of 4th Avenue with thousands of screaming spectators while being chased by a dozen stampeding reindeer.
Fur Rondy is two weeks of Alaskana – followed by the Last Great Race and 1049 miles to Nome. Make downtown Anchorage your next destination for winter adventure.