BY: Melis Coady
This weekend scores of people turned out for a host of Winterfest activities despite unseasonably warm temperatures including rain and fog. Friday’s festival of lights brought holiday cheer to Main Street with its theme “reality Talkeetna.” A humorous tribute to the large influx of unscripted television shows that have ducked in and out of Talkeetna in recent history.
The parade included an appearance by Santa Claus, manger scenes with a live baby goat and rabbit, numerous public works and safety vehicles, and Sunshine transit’s new bigger 14-passenger van. The procession was brought up in the rear by dozens of real bachelors on what was fashioned to look like a multicolored ice sculpture- these dashing men in trench coats were hoping to find a mate at this weekend’s events. The men threw themselves out onto on-lookers quite literally when the brakes of the vehicle they were riding on seized up on Main Street.
The crowd then spilled over to the local VFW post where families and children were wowed by a vibrant fireworks display hosted by the Men’s Auxiliary and the Talkeetna Bachelors Society. Inside the post, however, single men and women were becoming acquainted in a meet and greet type game show event called the “Mating Game.”
On Saturday Talkeetna Elementary School was a buzz. The gym was converted into a winter wonderland where people could buy handmade crafts and treats, listen to music, and enjoy other live entertainment like dancers and the talented storyteller R.G. Denny recreate the story of the Grinch. The holiday bazaar is a major fund raising piece for the Talkeetna Parent Teacher’s Association. PTA president Noelle Carbone says this year wasn’t their most lucrative year, estimating they may have raised just under $1,000 but that it is a fun event for the community with a long-standing history. In combination with numerous grants the PTA uses the funds to fill in the gaps in student enrichment at the school.
Every other year fifth and sixth graders raise money so they can go on a field trip to Katchemak Bay. The halls of the school were lined with hundreds of silent auction goods generously donated by individuals and businesses to support the cause now commonly know as K-Bay. All but five items were purchased. Jim and Kathy Trump out bid their competitors to get one of the more interesting items in the auction- a private round trip excursion to Wonder Lake in an SUV with Denali Park superintendent Don Striker. The event organizer Tamara Harrison estimates that auction raised over $4,000 and that they are now over half way towards their funding goal of $12,000.
Winterfest activities will continue next weekend with live holiday music, open houses, a ski race, and the Taste of Talkeetna. The Talkeetna Chamber of Commerce website has a comprehensive list of events.