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Talkeetna Celebrates Hot, Eventful Independence Day

by Phillip Manning ~ July 7th, 2014

With Independence Day falling on a Friday this year, expectations were for a busy holiday weekend.  Visitors turned up by the hundreds for events in downtown Talkeetna on Friday, and many stayed throughout the weekend.  KTNA’s Phillip Manning was there as well, and has this report:

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The festivities kicked off on Friday at noon with the Fourth of July Parade on Main Street.  Local residents of all ages, as well as some businesses, took part on foot or on float.  While the parade itself was short, just over nine minutes, it heralded the beginning of a day full of activities.  

In the early afternoon, the Moose on the Loose auction began.  The auction benefits three local nonprofits, and involves selling moose decorated and sponsored by local businesses and individuals.  For the past two years, the auction has brought in a professional auctioneer.

The moose that brought in the most money this year was a quilt-inspired design by Laurolle Nichols, which brought in $805.  Once the accounting is done, the Talkeetna Historical Society, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Denali Arts Council will split the proceeds.

Afterwards, the fun continued in the park with Live at Five.  The Denali Cooks played, continuing their tradition of over two decades of playing in Talkeetna on Independence Day.

The two-hour concert in the park consisted of a number of fan favorites, as well as some new songs.  The Cooks even did a rendition of “Wagon Wheel,”  a song frontman Larry Zarella has said the band would never do.

After Live at Five, hundreds of people gathered at the Talkeetna VFW post for the annual moose dropping.  The event was at one time the centerpiece for an entire weekend of festivities by itself, but has now become part of the overall fabric of the Independence Day celebration.  Many of those in attendance were there in hope of winning the $1000 grand prize if their numbered moose nugget landed closest to a target after being dropped from about twenty feet.

I had gotten into the spirit and bought a moose nugget as well, but unfortunately did not walk away a winner.  After the moose dropping, the night was full of music and a party atmosphere at venues all over town.

The end of Friday did not mean the end of the fun, however.  On Saturday, the third annual Cardboard Boat Regatta was held at Christiansen Lake.  Kids, families, and adults all made vessels out of cardboard and duct tape.  The objective primarily to keep afloat, then worry about whether you’re the first across the finish line.

Most of the boats made it around the course, which was marked by buoys.  In all, nearly twenty vessels raced amidst the cheers of a crowd of more than a hundred.

The entire weekend saw locals and visitors mingling in the beautiful, warm weather.   As of Monday, there are no reports from the Alaska State Troopers of any serious incidents over the weekend.  For most people, it was a hot, sunny, happy Fourth of July.

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