Downtown Association of Fairbanks – Fairbanks Alaska


Downtown Fairbanks welcomes Two Street Gallery, the next in a series of new art-related businesses opening up in the Co-Op Plaza on 2nd Avenue, shaping this historical space into a gathering place for artists and art enthusiasts.

A First Friday show in April will mark Two Street’s debut and grand opening.

Kate Wood, Co-Owner of Two Street, says, “It’s not an exaggeration to say that Two Street Gallery’s ambition is to develop a show place in downtown Fairbanks that attracts the best works in the Interior.”

The artists who have signed up to contribute work to the gallery will exhibit Alaskan watercolors, one-of-a-kind jewelry, pottery, photography, sculpture, giclee prints, and metal crafts by Alaskan artists.

Two Street will be modeled off of other cooperative galleries that tradeoff shifts and member dues for wall space. (Interested in joining? Click here.)

“Operating as a cooperative, we’re cutting overhead costs and putting potential buyers in direct contact with the artists,” comments Kate.

The gallery owners will also provide space for workshops, literary readings, and demos, according to a press release.

Contributing artists of Two Street include Patricia Carlson, Wendy Croskrey, Margaret Donat, John Majak, Herb Melchior, Hilda Melchior, Shirley Odsather, Joe Paul, Douglas Yates, and Vladimir Zhikhatsev (view a gallery portfolio here). Each artist lives and works in Fairbanks and has a long history of exhibiting and selling professional art.


Grand Opening

Friday, April 6th 5:00pm-8:00pm

Regular Hours

Monday-Saturday 11:00am-6:00pm


2 Street Gallery

Co-Op Plaza

535 2nd Avenue, Suite 102



BEST PRACTICE: Flower Colors Announced!

The 2012 flower colors for downtown Fairbanks, as determined by Festival Fairbanks, are purple, orange, and white.

If Only… a Fine Store decorates their storefront in beautiful hanging baskets each year and matches their display to the official colors. If Only also plants beds of flowers along the sidewalk and maintains beds and baskets throughout the summer, bringing continuity and beauty to the streets for downtown residents, employees, and visitors.


The snow soon melts, flowers will be planted, and in a few short months local produce, handmade crafts, prepared food, refreshments, live music, and artwork will return to fill the Golden Heart Plaza.

The 2012 Downtown Market debuts from 4:00-8:00PM on Monday, June 4th and runs until Monday, September 24th in the Golden Heart Plaza.

NEW IN 2012

Market hours and easy parking access remain the same as in the 2011 season. Market programming (live music, theme days, hands-on activities) receives a boost this year thanks to additional planning time in the spring compared with last year. The mix of vendors is shaping up to boast a greater variety of groceries, souvenirs, and artwork to patrons. A grant from the State of Alaska Division of Agriculture, Division of Public Health, and Division of Public Assistance will increase outreach to and access for EBT (food stamp) customers.


Applications are being accepted for vendors interested in selling at the Downtown Market. Submit yours today to get first dibs on limited booth space and electricity.


The Market seeks 5-10 creative souls to serve on an events committee that will develop summer programming and may also address the Midnight Sun Festival, First Friday, or assist in the development of new downtown events. This committee would meet on an as-needed basis, no more than twice a month. The next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, March 22nd at 6:00PM at Big Daddy’s BBQ(appetizers provided). If you’re interested in playing a bigger role in downtown events, please email Kara and let her know you’d like to attend.


Local growers or affiliates interested in learning more about the Market can attend the 8th Annual Sustainable Agriculture Conference at the Fairbanks Princess Riverside Lodge this week for a session titled, “Lessons from a First Year Market” to be presented on Thursday by Amy, Co-Manager of the Downtown Market.


Monday, June 4th- Monday, September 24th 4:00PM-8:00PM


Golden Heart Plaza

1st Avenue





The 67th Annual GCI Open North American Sled Dog Championship (ONAC), hosted by Alaska Dog Mushing Association, brings a flurry of events to downtown Fairbanks each March. Weekend festivities surrounding ONAC, the premier sprint sled dog race in the world, kick off on Friday and include a fur auction, weight pull, parka parade, street vendors, draw and award banquet, and the adrenaline-charged official start/finish on 2nd Avenue.

Beginning Friday morning at 5:00AM, ONAC volunteers truck in 50-60 loads of snow to cover 2nd Avenue with a fluffy white race chute lined by downtown buildings and landmarks, setting the stage for three heats (20 mi, 20 mi, 30 mi) held over the course of Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. The Open North American Championship earns its reputation as one of the most competitive sprint races on the globe from the grueling 30 mile run on the final day (most races top off at 20 mile heats). “Open” means teams may run with as many (or as few) dogs as they wish.

Wednesday night, Fairbanksans and visitors can get acquainted with ONAC competitors as they draw starting numbers at a “Meet the Mushers” Banquet at Westmark Hotel & Conference Center.

The start line on 2nd Avenue heats up each afternoon at 1:00PM, when teams line up and start their runs at two minute intervals to the cheers of race fans lining the street, part of the Chena River, looking down from rooftops, and peering through windows from the Marriott and within nearby businesses. Teams begin returning to the downtown track at around 2:00PM on Friday and Saturday and 2:30PM on Sunday.

On Saturday, fans can also catch the North American Weight Pull at noon in the Big Ray’s parking lot. Each year, the Interior Freight Dog Association (IFDA) pits the burliest (and lightest) breeds against one another in a trial of strength- strapping a 200lb. sled to a harnessed dog and cheering it 25 feet to the finish to qualify for the next heavier load. Four classes (ultra light, lightweight, middle weight, and heavy weight) separate the dogs into relative size and the top three finishers in each division earn cash prizes. Owners itching to get in on the action (and cash) can register with their dog at 10:00AM on Saturday and IFDA will provide professional harnesses and training tips before the event.

“It’s a crazy exciting thing to see,” Dan Bates, Vice President of IFDA, describes. “You get one minute to pull and for 30 seconds, the crowd has to be quiet. But when they announce the 30 sec. mark, people can start cheering for the dog and it can get really loud.” Last year’s weight pull set new state-wide records in every weight division. Dan says a friendly rivalry with weight pull enthusiasts in Anchorage has heated up in recent years as the strength of Fairbanks dogs has consistently beat out their competitors.

Saturday also marks the start of the Fur Auction by the Alaska Trappers Association.  Furs from local trappers and surplus and
confiscated hides and horns from Alaska Department of Fish and Game will be auctioned off. Viewing starts at 10:00AM and the auction runs until 2:00PM on both days. Fur may be dropped off at the auction site before 10:00AM on Saturday morning, but may not be up for bid until Sunday’s auction.

On Sunday, the Parka Parade sponsored by the Fairbanks Arts Association (FAA) displays the finest handcrafted traditional winter coats in the Interior sewn from beaver, fox, seal, and wolf pelts and donned by proud Native Alaskan artists or children who have inherited these cultural and familial heirlooms. Each parka is simultaneously an artistic masterpiece and storyboard that details local and family history in the “language of the parka,” says June Rogers, Executive Director of FAA. To sign up for the parka parade, look for the booth with a pink banner at ONAC on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday. To watch the fashion show and vote by applause, look for participants between the time of the final start and first finisher on Sunday (approx. 1:30PM).

2012 brings more street vendors than in recent years to ONAC for easy access to food, drinks, and retail without sacrificing your spot on the sidewalk. River City Cafe and Espresso will sell coffee in front of their 2nd Avenue storefront, Brazil Nuts (a Downtown Market vendor) plans to set up inside Co-Op Plaza, and Loose Moose Cafe is serving signature burgers, caribou steak sandwiches, and hot dogs made from local meat. Brick-and-mortar businesses including Arctic Traveler’s Gift Shop, If Only…. a Fine Store, Alana’s Espresso Escape, Gallery 49, Big Ray’s, and the Mecca will also be open during the race on Friday, Saturday, or Sunday.

ONAC will be broadcast by webcam through the Alaska Dog Musher’s Association website, and via local radio (also streamed online) through KFAR 660AM.

Parking for ONAC is available in the parking garage, in the lot in front of Immaculate Conception Church, at Sadler’s on Cushman Street, in the courthouse parking lot on 1st Avenue, and along the street.



Wednesday, March 14th
6:00PM Meet the Mushers Banquet at Northern Latitudes, Westmark Hotel

Friday, March 16th
10:30AM Teams begin setting up on 2nd Avenue
1:00PM First ONAC heat (20 miles) begins on 2nd Avenue

Saturday, March 17th
10:30AM Teams begin setting up on 2nd Avenue
11:00AM-2:00PM Fur Auction by Alaska Trappers Association on 2nd Avenue (Big Ray’s Parking Lot)
12:00PM North American Weight Pull on 2nd Avenue (Big Ray’s Parking Lot)
1:00PM Second ONAC heat (20 miles) begins on 2nd Avenue

Sunday, March 18th
10:30AM Teams begin setting up on 2nd Avenue
11:00AM-2:00PM Fur Auction by Alaska Trappers Association on 2nd Avenue (Big Ray’s Parking Lot)
1:00PM Third ONAC heat (30 miles) begins on 2nd Avenue
1:30PM (approx) Parka Parade on 2nd Avenue
3:00PM Governor’s Cup Awards Ceremony on 2nd Avenue
6:00PM Finish Banquet at Gold Room, Westmark Hotel


(907)385-7322 Kathy Fitzgerald, Co-Chair at Open North American Championship

(907)451-0668 Dan Bates, Vice President at Interior Freight Dog Association

(907)456-6485 ext. 226 Anna Gagne-Hawes, Program Coordinator at Fairbanks Arts Association




They both herald spring.  But bright orange vests will seize the lead.  Next week, after the Open North American Championship, crews will begin hanging conduit for utilities beneath the Barnette Street Bridge while DOT sets up the Illinois Street Reconstruction headquarters at 505 Illinois Street.   In mid-April, HC Contractors and DOT will host an open house with stakeholders involved in the right-of-way and another open house a week later will be held for the interested public.  By May 1, expect the first traffic restrictions to northbound traffic on Illinois Street.  For this and subsequent restrictions – presumably all north of the Chena this summer – DOT will issue two-week advance notice of closures, followed by detailed traffic control plans which can help downtown businesses help their clientele navigate summer construction.  Sign up for Illinois Street project updates.

The only other road construction work downtown this summer will be a slew of sidewalk upgrades on the periphery of downtown’s core.  Taken together with Illinois Street sidewalk improvements, pedestrian access within and around downtown will be significantly improved.

Design work continues on the Cushman and Barnette Complete Streets project, which will go to construction in 2013.  Members of the steering committee advising Mayor Cleworth have met numerous times this winter to hammer-out design elements of downtown’s signature streets.  Advised by traffic engineer Kinney Engineering and urban planners Crandall Arambula, the steering committee comprised of Scott Allison, Tim Cerny, Donna Gardino, Mary Nordale, and June Rogers will finalize the design features and bring design alternatives for public review sometime this spring. 


March heralds in sprint dog sled races, longer and brighter days, and 18 new exhibits opening in downtown Fairbanks. Cast your vote for the official logo of Alaska’s largest single-day event, narrowed to six finalists from 60+ entries. Join the Chamber of Commerce in recognizing Fairbanks’ Artist of the Year. Expand your palette with a hands-on exhibit encouraging you to taste, touch, and mix ingredients while viewing photography of food (like bright green artichokes). Visit the grand opening of a new art gallery and enter to win an original watercolor painting. The exhibits are up all month, but the energy of opening night can’t be relived. See you on the streets!

2012 Midnight Sun Festival Logo Contest @ Chartreuse, 729 1st Avenue

“Reflection Collection,” Christina Chambers & Molly Hess @ Chartreuse, 729 1st Avenue

Matt Moberly @ Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce, 100 Cushman Street, Suite 102

Iris J.W. Sutton @ Fairbanks Community Museum, 410 Cushman Street

Taste Palette & “Gastronomic Photography,” Joseph Losinski @ l’assiette de Pomegranate, 414 2nd Avenue

Cathy Miller, Glass Art @ Hair, Body & Sol, 1221 Noble Street, Suite 201

Handmade Native Art @ Beads and Things, 537 2nd Avenue

Connie Stricks: Handmade Greeting Cards @ If Only… a fine store, 215 Cushman Street

Soul Focus Photography with Rebecca Cook @ Lady Lee’s Bath House Emporium, 825 1st Avenue

“Psychotropicart,” Lance Bifoss @ River City Café, 523 2nd Avenue

Jasper Blue: Boudoir Photography “Bring out your Inner Goddess” @ Frank’s Menswear, 535 3rd Avenue

Double Sandwich Day @ Del Ray’s, 455 3rd Avenue

Three Local Artists: Macy Possenti, Josh Spice, George Yaska @ Morris Thompson Center, 101 Dunkel Avenue

Best Friends Forever, Part 2 & Winter’s Flow @ S Salon & Studio, 901 Cushman Street

Grand Opening @ Gallery 49, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 103

Jesse Venable @ The Alaska House Art Gallery, 1003 Cushman Street

Picture this Photography @ Arctic Travelers, 201 Cushman Street

First Friday @ Alana’s Espresso Escape, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 101

Sand Castle @ McCafferty’s, A Coffee House, Etc., 408 Cushman Street




Six finalists have risen from a field of 62 entries submitted by 41 graphic artists for the 2012 Midnight Sun Festival Logo Contest hosted by the Downtown Association of Fairbanks. The Midnight Sun Festival is Alaska’s largest single-day event, scheduled for Sunday, June 24th 2012.

This is the first year that the festival logo is open for public submission and vote – formerly, professional designers in Fairbanks have been hired to create a logo. The design contest was developed as a way to gather community input and choose a logo proven popular among Fairbanksans. Contestants and designs in this pool have helped the contest surpass these expectations by a large mark.


The six finalists vary greatly in design experience, choice in professional tools and techniques, and creative interpretation of downtown Fairbanks and the Midnight Sun Festival. Click on their names to read insight into the designs they created, and why you should vote for their logo:








There are three ways to vote for your favorite logo, and voting is open until Friday at 8:00PM. Spread the word by sharing or linking to this post!

1.) Vote online through the Facebook page of the Downtown Association of Fairbanks by “liking” or commenting on your favorites.

2.) Vote in person during First Friday at Chartreuse (729 1st Avenue) from 5:00-8:00PM on March 2nd, 2012.

3.) If you can’t make it to First Friday or vote through Facebook, call our office at 452-8671 to cast your vote by telling us the name of your favorite designer.

The winner  receives a $250 cash prize and five complimentary festival t-shirts. The festival logo is printed on 1,000+ t-shirts and state-wide print and online marketing materials.



What makes a great house band?

For John Jackovich, owner of The Big I Pub & Lounge, the answer is musical expertise, a set list that crosses popular genres, danceability, and the kind of energy that keeps crowds happy and coming back night after night.

John has met his house match in Burnt Orange, a hot new group that formed less than a year ago (though members have a combined 120+ years of musical experience) and is now a weekend staple at The Big I Pub & Lounge on North Turner Street.

“When I first heard Burnt Orange I said – ‘That’s what I’ve been looking for,'” John recalls. “The feedback that I’ve gotten from patrons and my employees is that they love (Burnt Orange).”

Burnt Orange began in June as the project of Ted Coronel, a local musician who has 35+ years of strumming guitar, humming vocals, and writing songs under his belt. Ted dreamt of forming a band and recruited a few others to play with him at the Tanana Valley State Fair. The performance was a hit and the band mates had a blast, so they created a set list of forty songs, found a Marketing Coordinator, and started booking gigs at nearby bars.

“Halfway through the first gig, (John) walked up to (Ted) and said, ‘I want to book you as a house band,” Marketing Coordinator Suzy Coronel recalls of their first show at The Big I. Burnt Orange has been playing their eclectic mix of classic rock, funk, and country rock about every two weeks on the Big I stage ever since.

“It’s a dynamite group of seasoned musicians,” Suzy raves. “The set list is pretty fun – they really appeal to all audiences. It showcases their talent but is also indicative of the band’s personality.”

The individual personalities that comprise the band are as strong as their layered harmonies. Angela Wright, vocalist and guitar player, got her start in classical violin but counts Fleetwood Mac and the Beatles as her greatest influences. Larry Fifer, on keyboard, is classically trained as well but digs Van Halen and Billy Joel as much as Mozart. Lead Vocalist Donielle Carroll started singing gospel at an early age and has won Alaskan Idol and competed in American Idol. Drummer Jana Malingowski once begged her parents to let her switch from the saxophone and piano to drums, and hasn’t looked back since. Dave Partee, bass and vocals, fills his spare time by owning and operating Sleddog Studios.

This mix of dedicated musicians with a grab bag of formal training and a common love of rock fuels Burnt Orange in this hectic year of first shows at local bars and community events.

“We’ve planted a seed – Burnt Orange is happy to play there, people are happy to see them, and we’re lucky to have local live entertainment in downtown,” John says of the advantages to both band and business in booking a house gig.

Burnt Orange is working hard to prepare for a St. Patrick’s Day show at The Big I, which is one of the busiest days of the year for the Irish pub.

“We’re going to just light this place on fire,” John promises with a grin.



A split in the original lineup gave rise to another new group that has found its home on the Big I stage, called The Ninths, set to perform next on March 23rd and 24th from 10PM-2AM and at the Elks Lodge on April 6th from 8PM-12AM.

“I feel like a double-barrel shotgun,” John boasts of his luck. “I’ve really got the best of both worlds.”


Friday, March 9th 10:00PM – 2:00AM

Saturday, March 17th (St. Patty’s Day!) 9:00PM – 2:00AM

Friday, March 30th 10:00PM – 2:00AM

Saturday, March 31st 10:00PM – 2:00AM


The Big I Pub & Lounge

122 North Turner Street




The 13th Annual Bard-a-Thon begins with one of Shakespeare’s most murderous works- Macbeth. From that point forward, 24-hours of nonstop readings will reach audiences around the globe with the language of comedy, romance, royalty, and betrayal as volunteers and staff of Fairbanks Shakespeare Theatre (FST) read the complete works of William Shakespeare aloud until every line has been uttered and broadcast to Shakespeare lovers by live phone and internet feeds from The Empress Theatre on 3rd Avenue.

Reading the complete works of Shakespeare back-to-back (full schedule here) is a format that Tom Robenolt of FST has never seen attempted by any other production company. Some theatres do script readings but none except FST has been so ambitious as to spend nine days reading ’round the clock, whether it’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream on a Saturday at midnight or Henry V during lunch hour on a Thursday.

“It’s a free community event and I think every year it grows into something new,” Tom explains. This year, fans can support FST productions by sponsoring a play for $200. Plays can be dedicated in honor or memory and businesses are welcome to sponsor, as well.

Advances over the years have also helped the audience grow from local Fairbanksans to troupes and individuals in England, South Korea, Japan, and Australia. Telecommunications improvements have allowed for collaborations like this year’s joint reading of Cymbeline with Portland Center Stage, which will be broadcast at The Empress Theatre via Skype.

“When (Bard-a-Thon) first started, we didn’t have a speaker phone where people called in from all over the world to participate in the readings, and we didn’t have live streaming over the Internet,” Tom recalls. “In this day and age, the question is – is technology killing theatre or is technology helping theatre? And this is a great example of how technology is helping theatre and making it more accessible and free to people.”

Tom envisions that the Bard-a-Thon may someday grow into a year-long round-the-clock reading by partnering with theatres throughout the world to create back-to-back Bard-a-Thons that would broadcast Shakespeare’s plays over and over.

Queen Elizabeth appears for the opening ceremony at noon on Saturday, February 18th to grant permission to read through the complete works. School groups will participate each weekday at 8:00am by reading portions of select plays. The Bard-a-Thon wraps up with Sing-a-Sonnet Brunch on Sunday, February 26th at noon, with food provided by the UAF Alumni Association.

For those who really want to get in the spirit, a costume rack will be at the top of the stairs into the Empress Theatre. Community members who would like to participate in the readings are welcome to stop in at any time, free of charge, and find a spot at the large wooden tables luminated by green reading lights and stacked with bounds of reading material for participants to follow along. A facilitator will be on hand to help with pronunciation and provide background on each work. For those who misbehave during the readings, FST is reinstating The Pit, which was a tradition of early Bard-a-Thons. Unruly or disruptive attendees will be asked to spend twenty minutes in “time out” amidst a pile of reference books before rejoining the crowd. Tom describes this as a good natured way to keep the readings fun and safe for all.


Saturday, February 18th at noon – Sunday, February 26th at 4:00PM


The Empress Theatre

entrance on 3rd Avenue





Motorists traveling south on Noble Street have been watching the space in the northeast corner of the Northward Building slowly transform since September. First, the lights came on and relics of Chez World, its former occupant, were rearranged. Then new tables, chairs, and kitchen appliances were carted in from trucks parked on Noble St. Finally, menus written in neon pen on black marker boards were posted.

Earlier this week, Del Ray’s made its debut as the newest restaurant to open its doors in downtown Fairbanks.

Tiffanni Hatcher co-owns the sandwich shop with her husband and father. The name Del Ray’s comes from that of her father as well as her husband (both named Ray) and grandfather (Del), who passed away in July.

“My husband and I have been talking for years about starting something of our own. We wanted to do something we could pass on in our family,” Tiffanni says. “We’re very family-oriented.” Even Tiffanni’s children have been helping around the shop in the afternoon.

Perhaps because of their priority on family, Del Ray’s offers a kids menu along with sub sandwiches, garden salads, and homemade soups. A small sampling of baked goods and pastries are also available, including four different types of waffles. Your typical American “Belgian” waffle is a generic term that lumps many styles and flavors of waffle into one. Del Ray’s is bringing back the true distinctions between waffles by offering Brussels Waffles and Liege Waffles characterized by chunks of pearl sugar that caramelize within the waffle batter as it cooks on an iron. Del Ray’s also serves waffle boats and waffles on a stick, with or without toppings.

For lunch, customers can get a sandwich, 16 oz. drink, and a side of the day like pasta salad or deviled eggs for $10.00. Sandwiches include Meat Ball, Buffalo Chicken, Tuna Salad, Roast Beef, and Ham or Turkey with choice of toppings, spreads, and cheese. Bread is baked fresh daily. Homemade soups rotate daily but include Clam Chowder, Chicken & Dumplings, and Broccoli Cheese.

As Tiffanni and her family renovated Del Ray’s, they put careful consideration into the atmosphere of the space. Instead of cooking incognito, Tiffanni removed the walls dividing the cook/prep space from the dining area, creating the cozy impression that a friend is preparing a meal in their kitchen while carrying on a conversation and glancing at the latest hockey scores.

Tiffanni looks forward to years of putting family first and providing friendly service at Del Ray’s. She sees their proximity to several apartment complexes and residential districts as a major plus.

“We like this location- it’s close to the courthouse, right across the street from the parking garage, we have a lot of tenants, and will get foot traffic in the summer,” Tiffanni points out.

All orders can be take-out and Del Ray’s is happy to make special accommodations for kosher, gluten-free, lactose free, vegetarian, or other dietary preferences. The space is also available for parties, office lunches, and other group events.


Monday-Friday 10:00am-7:00pm

Sundays 11:00am-5:00pm


Northward Building

3rd Avenue




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Downtown Association of Fairbanks – Fairbanks Alaska