Winter carnival to jazz up the town
February 9th | Carey Restino
For at least two decades, and likely a good bit longer on an unofficial level, Homer has gathered in February to shake off cabin fever, get outside and celebrate a little. The Homer Winter Carnival changes each year — ice racing events on Beluga Lake are weather dependent, for example. But there's always a parade, family-friendly activities and a chance to get together with friends, said Jan Knutson, who is organizing this year's parade for the Homer Chamber of Commerce.
"It's the time of year to bring the community out, young and old, and for those people who have a little cabin fever," Knutson said. "This really is about bringing people together for this joyful time."
Knutson said this year's theme is "Jazz it up," drawing from the community's reputation as a center for the performing arts.
"Jazz just fits right in," she said. "We're going to jazz up winter."
Events start on Friday night with the Mr. Homer Contest, which will be held at the Homer Elks Lodge starting at 9 p.m. The contest, which has run for several years now, includes an extensive vetting process for candidates, who must qualify in three categories including a talent section, a business section and of course, the bathing suit contest.
"It's a hoot," said Knutson, who attends the event in order to be able to properly introduce the new Homer royalty at the parade the next day.
This year's parade will start at noon and organizers worked to make sure it was family-friendly and non-partisan. All ages were encouraged to participate, Knutson said. The parade will start at the Homer High School and continue down Pioneer Avenue.
Elsewhere around town, some traditional events will continue this year — the day will start off with the traditional pancake breakfast at the Homer Methodist Church starting at 10 a.m. The ever-popular Homer Homebrew Competition will be held at the Beluga Lake Lodge on Saturday following the parade.
For the younger crowd, Paul Banks Elementary School will host its annual Winter Carnival from 1-4 p.m. with games and activities for the young ones.
And if all this talk about jazz has you craving some up-tempo tunes, come to Alice's Champagne Palace on Friday night for a free show with Emma Hill and Kat Moore and Kevin Worrell from the Super Saturated Sugar Strings.
If a sophisticated night on the town is what the doctor orders to kick out those winter blues, on Saturday night, the Super Saturated Snowball will be held in cooperation with the Bunnell Street Arts Center at Alice's Champagne Palace. This costume party is $15 and features Super Saturated Sugar Strings. Tickets are available at the Bunnell or Alice's. The show starts at 9 p.m.
Knutson said she encourages everyone to get out and enjoy the activities and their wonderful community this weekend. Weather forecasters are calling for a dramatic drop in temperatures, so wear your long johns.