Liam is bringing his insider knowledge of competitive sports to transform a 1/2 mile circuit of asphalt and city block, including 4th and 5th Avenues between Lacey Street and Barnette Street, into a closed-loop track for a Downtown Criterium exactly one month from today (May 9th). Liam promises high stakes, blurs of neon motion, and unlimited front row seats that will put you within inches of passing cyclists.
“They’re fast. They have very tight corners,” Liam says of Criteriums. “Your adrenaline will be pumping. To race a Crit is actually quite nerve-wracking. It’s a great spectator sport- you can see almost the entire course and a cyclist is passing you every few seconds. Cycling in Fairbanks isn’t usually in front of an audience, but the Crit puts it directly in front of spectators and brings a great event to downtown Fairbanks.”
The Downtown Criterium is set for Saturday, June 9th, 2012. This type of race has never before been held in Fairbanks. A traditional Criterium is a fast-paced timed bicycle race completed on a 1/2 mile track often set in urban centers. Liam says the combination of speed racers and spectators who can see, smell, and feel the action match up well with crowded, high-energy downtown settings. The ‘Crit’ (for short) is a project of Liam’s nonprofit, Driven to Move.
Liam created the Criterium with everyone from professional-caliber cyclists to weekend warriors and families in mind. Race classes will be open to kids and adults of all ages, with any level of experience. Adults may compete in a Community Race, or sign up for the Tour of Fairbanks with the Fairbanks Cycling Club which will include the most competitive classes of the Criterium as one stage of the Tour. Even a Costume Race is being planned for those looking to just get in a few good laughs (and laps).
“It’s a very welcoming race for new riders,” Liam is quick to point out, despite the competitiveness and pace of elite classes.
All proceeds from the race will benefit after school programs that Liam conducts through his nonprofit, Driven to Move. He founded the nonprofit during his two year recovery from a traumatic brain injury following a serious speed skating accident. After lying comatose for a day with brain swelling and a fractured skull, Liam had to work to regain his abilities to walk, lift, smell, and skate. This slow and steady recovery made him an expert in the art of setting and working toward manageable goals, and he passes these lessons along to 240+ local students through activities based in nutrition, physical fitness, and mental focus.
“If I neglected one aspect of my recovery, it didn’t go as fast as I wanted it to,” Liam puts simply. “I’ve always enjoyed working with kids and Alaska has incredible depth of talent. It’s about putting kids in the driver’s seat of their goals and decisions.”
Here’s the tentative schedule for the Criterium on June 9th, which will include door prizes, sponsor booths, race classes, sparkling cider, podium girls, firefighters, and crazy costumes:
Downtown Criterium – Saturday, June 9th, 2012
(schedule subject to change)
10:00AM Kids’ races begin with 8 and under age group – 1 lap
to follow 8-12 age group – 3 laps
to follow 13-16 age group – 3 laps
to follow Community Race – 10 laps (5 miles)
to follow Costume Race
3:00PM Tour of Fairbanks Classes Begin (45 minutes each)
including Masters, Sport, and Expert Classes for Men and Women
approx. 6:00PM Awards Ceremony
ALL DAY Vendors set up in Sadler’s parking lot with food, merchandise, bicycle gear, sponsor swag, and more. (Want to be a vendor? Fill out the application or contact Kara to at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (907)452-8665)
AFTER PARTY at the Big I Pub & Lounge to follow. Because beer tastes best after bikes.
Saturday, June 9th 10:00AM-6:00PM
4th & 5th Avenue
OPENING DAY of the 2012 Fairbanks Downtown Market is on Monday, June 4th from 4-8:00PM in Golden Heart Plaza on 1st Avenue. The Market will continue every Monday, with a Grand Finale on September 24th.
The Market has enjoyed a dramatic increase in vendors from the 2011 season. Patrons can expect twice as many booths this year as last, totaling around 40 vendors. The Golden Heart Plaza will be filled to capacity as word has gotten ’round and vendors continue to sign up to sell local food, artwork, and merchandise at the Market.
Fresh produce and handmade delicacies are a big draw each week, and are set to continue their well-deserved popularity this season. Microgreens, heirloom tomatoes grown by Dave’s Greenhouse, plant starts, cut flowers, salad mix, herbs, spices, Moosetard, flavored honey, fresh pasta, cream cheese dip, and gourmet chocolates sold by Tundra Walker Studio will be available throughout the summer. Salad mix, root vegetables like potatoes and turnips, cabbage, fresh berries, and chard, kale, chives, and broccoli will come into season soon at Calypso Farm, Rosie Creek Farm, and the school garden at Effie Kokrine Early College Charter.
Visitors and locals alike will also be able to browse folding tables draped with crafts, clothing, and artwork including mammoth ivory pendants by Alaska Village Arts, ulu knives, handpainted aprons, glass bowls and necklaces by Fish Head Studio, fair trade creams by Birch Creek Body Silks, and handmade guitars by Garrity Craft Guitars.
For those who need a quick snack or appetizer after work, Fairbanks Youth Advocates will serve rosettes (deep fried cookies of Scandinavian origin) and Crepes! will return with their trademark mouth-watering pockets of sweet and savory filling including Alaskan salmon (sprinkled with dill) and fresh-picked berries toward the end of the season. Along with all-beef hot dogs and reindeer sausages courtesy of Celi’s Full Belly Hot Dog Deli, vendors and nearby restaurants should keep Market-patrons happily stuffed while shopping and socializing.
Keep an eye out for a schedule of live music that will light up the Market each week again this season.
Parking is available on 1st Avenue, 2nd Avenue, across the river at Immaculate Conception Church, and in the parking garage. Please approach the Market from the south, or take the Wendell Street Bridge from the east, since there is no southbound traffic on Cushman Bridge due to Illinois Street reconstruction.
Monday, June 4th 4:00-8:00PM
Golden Heart Plaza
You’ve heard it on the radio, read about it in the News-Miner, and seen it on Facebook. The 2012 Salute to Our Military Parade (STOMP) is happening this Saturday, May 12th at 10:00AM, and downtown Fairbanks is center stage for the celebration.
The point? To welcome home thousands of recently deployed military service members and honor Interior Alaska veterans, military families, and wounded warriors.
The dress code? Red, white, and blue.
The parade (billed as the biggest downtown Fairbanks has ever seen) was inspired by the patriotism of a few take-charge individuals who convened a planning committee of influential agencies and local players to throw a Welcome Home Party that would do proper justice to the magnitude of challenges faced and sacrifices made on behalf of Americans by Fairbanksans in the 25th Infantry Division of the 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, United States Armed Forces, other military units, and veterans in Interior Alaska.
A flurry of planning and promotions has built up to this Saturday, when 5,000+ soldiers, airmen, veterans, and wounded warriors will make their way from Fort Wainwright, up Noble Street, across 2nd Avenue, over to 1st Avenue via Barnette, and westward to Pioneer Park. The parade kicks off at 10:00AM and a post-parade celebration at Pioneer Park is schedule for noon.
The procession will pass in front of a reviewing stand on 2nd Avenue and bleachers for dignitaries and families of soldiers who have been killed or wounded. Downtown businesses including Big Ray’s, Frank’s Menswear, Bridgewater Hotel and River City Cafe have spruced up their window displays with military-themed decor. New cables installed on 2nd Avenue will sport parade banners and provide a home for others throughout the year advertising downtown events. (To volunteer to help decorate 2nd Avenue, email David).
Best places to watch the march? Wherever you can find space on 2nd Avenue including parking lots outside of the Mariott, Bobby’s, Big Ray’s, and Key Bank. Another great vantage point will be the second floor of the parking garage, where you can watch participants turn from Noble onto 2nd Avenue with a bird’s eye view (just ask the pigeons).
Arrive early and bring signs, banners, or noisemakers to cheer and say thank you to fellow Fairbanksans as they settle back into life in the far north.
Please note that at 9:00am on Saturday, the cross streets along the parade route will be closed due to the volume of spectators along the parade route. Travelers are encouraged to seek alternative routes. Fairbanks Police will direct traffic at all major intersections along the route.
See you on the streets!
Saturday, May 12th 10:00AM-2:00PM
Noble Street & 2nd Avenue
Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce
The Downtown Market has received two grants this year, including funds to increase food access to low-income residents of downtown Fairbanks and a matching grant to create programs and activities that highlight Alaska Grown produce. With these awards, the Market is poised to launch summer 2012 with even more spunk and asparagus than 2011.
The Alaska Farmers’ Market-Quest Card Program is a new grant created in 2012 by the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services (Division of Public Health and Division of Public Assistance), Alaska Department of Natural Resources (Division of Agriculture), and University of Alaska Fairbanks (Cooperative Extension Service). The grant was designed to increase access to healthy, local foods in low-income areas of the state by encouraging farmers markets to accept food stamps on behalf of all qualified vendors. The award money will help the Downtown Market expand outreach to low-income customers this season by paying for a new wireless card machine, shiny new stickers to identify payment tokens, and staff time spent operating the program at the Market each week. The Downtown Market was awarded a total of $7,200 through this grant.
The 2012 Alaska Grown Cooperative Marketing Program offered by the Department of Natural Resources, Division of Agriculture, gives certified Alaska Grown producers a chance to collaboratively market a product that they sell. The Fairbanks Downtown Market has been awarded $2,000 to develop 3-5 programs throughout the summer that will highlight Alaska Grown products in Fairbanks and certified growers at the Downtown Market including Calypso Farm, Rosie Creek Farm, Tundra Walker Studio, and Dave’s Greenhouse. Patrons will be able to sample and learn about Alaska Grown products from these and other businesses, including downtown restaurants like Lavelle’s Bistro, l’assiette de Pomegranate, and Julia’s Solstice Cafe that make it a point to source Alaska Grown products. Stay tuned for a full schedule and details on these programs.
The 2012 Fairbanks Downtown Market and Downtown Association of Fairbanks Community Services would like to thank these grant administrators for seeing the potential of the Downtown Market and supporting efforts to revitalize downtown Fairbanks with the tried-and-true medicine of good food and strong community.
A 9-year-old girl named Rachelle will open her very own business in downtown Fairbanks on Sunday, May 6th. She has conducted price comparisons, signed contracts, courted investors, and undergone food safety training. Her hard work and entrepreneurial spirit will pay off for customers in the form of a cool, refreshing glass of Rachelle’s Berry Delicious Lemonade and/or gluten-free fluffernutter cookies (made of peanut butter and marshmallow creme by sister Leilani, 7) at her stand on Cushman Street, just outside of McCafferty’s, A Coffee House, Etc.
May 6th is Lemonade Day, a nation-wide initiative designed to encourage kids to learn about business by using the familiar model of a sidewalk lemonade stand. The concept is simple, but many lessons lie within the process of planning and opening a stand for even just one afternoon. Rachelle is one of 350+ Fairbanks students opening up stands all over the city on Sunday, and she decided to locate hers in downtown Fairbanks.
The UAF Associated Students of Business spearheaded Lemonade Day in Fairbanks in hopes of inspiring young entrepreneurs. Each student they signed up was given a backpack with a workbook containing instructions on how to open a stand. The Alaska Lemonade Day website posts a list of businesses which have agreed to host a stand, and kids are responsible (with help from parents) for developing financial backing, pricing, and the theme of their stand. Creative ideas and approaches are encouraged and rewarded with special prizes for the most sustainable stand or those with top-notch customer service.
Rachelle’s mom, Kim Kingston Eames, has been working closely with her daughters and Bill Rogers, Owner of McCafferty’s, to coordinate plans for their stand in front of McCafferty’s. They plan to open from 1:00-4:00PM on Sunday. A rainbow umbrella borrowed from their back deck will bring attention to the stand, and Kim plans to hang back and let the girls handle the customers.
Rachelle and Leilani have sold beaded jewelry and assorted crafts at holiday bazaars and Kim is hoping the business lessons of Lemonade Day will help the girls further develop this hobby.
For Bill, the chance to sponsor an up-and-coming entrepreneur was a no-brainer.
“The idea is to inspire and instigate entrepreneurial and free enterprise attitude in kids, and I think it’s a good thing. I think it’s such a good thing that I’m willing to allow a potential source of competition right in front of my business for a day,” Bill jokes.
To support Rachelle and her efforts, stop by McCafferty’s on Cushman Street this Sunday between 1-4:00PM for a glass of raspberry lemonade and a fluffernutter (or two).
Sunday, May 6th 1:00-4:00PM
McCafferty’s, A Coffee House, Etc.
408 Cushman Street
Despite the best efforts of the Alaska Department of Transportation, road construction often still has a negative impact on neighborhood businesses. Downtown bars and eateries are no different when faced with months of construction through the Illinois Street Reconstruction Project. Downtown Association staff recently visited with business owners who are feeling the effects, and talked about how they plan to adapt and make it through the summer.
JULIA’S SOLSTICE CAFE
Julia’s Solstice Cafe is a vegan/vegetarian cafe sourcing local and organic ingredients. It’s on Driveway Street and currently tucked behind piles of dirt, dump trucks, and large yellow backhoes.
Luckily for Julia Quist, Owner, her clientele is a dedicated and determined bunch with few options elsewhere in the city for the quality of vegan and vegetarian dining that she offers. Julia expressed her gratitude for these regulars but reported that business has dropped by about one-third since construction began.
Julia is looking for ways to adapt to the new conditions.
“We just try to give special, personalized attention to those who do come here,” Julia said of her staff’s approach. “We try to respond to customer wants and reward them for their effort.”
On Tuesday morning, she switched out the soup du jour after just one customer request for a favorite flavor. She’s serving meals more quickly to factor in the detour so customers can return to work within the lunch hour. Julia hopes to vamp up special orders and cafe bookings for private parties. On Monday, the Fairbanks First Cafe Club will meet at Julia’s at 9:00AM for coffee and networking- a day on which the cafe is usually closed. Watch for spontaneous events posted to the Facebook page of Julia’s Solstice Cafe.
Julia has been talking with neighboring business owner John Jackovich of The Big I Pub & Lounge about collaborating on summertime events and getting creative with customer outreach.
Julia is looking forward to the amenities she will enjoy upon the project’s completion. She praises the construction team for being extremely accommodating and David Hetman, the DOT Project Engineer, who stops into the cafe frequently to ask if there’s anything more he can do.
“I’m not unhappy about this—we knew it was coming and it’s going to be a very nice thing when it’s over. We’ve had ample warning,” Julia shares. “If this has to happen, it couldn’t happen in a better way.”
As if on cue, a woman in a yellow-and-orange construction vest climbed the ramp into the cafe on Tuesday morning (Julia’s birthday) in pursuit of fresh-roasted Diving Duck coffee.
THE BIG I PUB & LOUNGE
John Jackovich, owner of The Big I Pub & Lounge, has a firecracker personality that transmits over the phone with a friendly intensity. When asked to comment on Tuesday, he had plenty to say regarding the Illinois St. Project.
“There’s no doubt that road construction is a deterrent to pull right in (to the parking lot),” John says of his bar, located at the nexus of Cushman Street, Illinois Street, and the future Barnette Street extension.
Regardless, John says he tries to think of long-term improvements that will help his business in the future and dream up creative schemes to get folks through the door in the meantime.
“I’m more than tickled at the work they’re doing and how fast they’re getting it done,” John reports. He expects construction to have cleared out from in front of The Big I by October. “I’m so excited. When it’s all said and done—this location should be pretty special and interesting.”
His customers may have to deal with limited parking in the near future, but John says locals are still turning out and his staff is quick to give instructions to anyone who calls and needs help navigating the detour. The easiest path to the Big I follows the same route as to Julia’s, via Phillips Field Road and Driveway Street.
Known for its parties, The Big I isn’t letting the road construction slow it down this summer. John has booked DJ Ben Jammin’ to spin dance music on Thursdays at 9PM for the foreseeable future and Burnt Orange (house band) will play a series of Cinco de Mayo weekend shows this Friday and Saturday night. In June, you can expect a lineup of outdoor events including Midnight Sun Madness Fight Night on Sunday, June 24th (the day of the 2012 Midnight Sun Festival).
John’s not about to let the longest-lasting on-site bar in Fairbanks history be put off by a little summer road construction.
How can you help? Drink more beer. And bring friends.
SUNRISE BAGEL & ESPRESSO
The drive-thru business model of the bright yellow coffee stand on Illinois Street just north of Denali State Bank (one of seven across Fairbanks and North Pole) is meant to allow for a fast coffee fix in the morning or at lunch, but closing a lane of traffic has drastically reduced vehicle traffic through the corridor on which the stand depends.
“With the traffic volume cut in half, it’s dramatically impacted our business,” Doug Whorton, General Manager, says of the Illinois Street branch. “We’re looking at adjusting hours and the number of staff we have to help out.”
Doug has rolled out extra radio promotions for the downtown branch, and shifts large pickup orders to the stand whenever possible and convenient for the customer. Sunrise is able to prepare a selection of their breakfast sandwiches, burritos, and pastries for an entire office if customers call in advance at 347-0208.
Doug has signed up Sunrise to participate in Clean Up Day and is donating coupons to the effort to encourage folks who are northbound through downtown Fairbanks to stop in to Sunrise Bagel & Espresso. For Cinco de Mayo, the stands are trying out a fancy new drink called horchata that mimics a Mexican specialty made with cinnamon and chocolate.
“We’re just going to try to outlast the construction,” Doug says of his outlook on the summer. If the stand isn’t able to break even, he may have to temporarily close its drive-thru windows.
Wondering how best to navigate the detours and support these great businesses? Click here for advice from David, Executive Director of the Downtown Association. For complete project details, visit the Department of Transportation website concerning the Illinois Street Reconstruction Project.
Pinks, yellows, greens, and… traveling pianos? First Friday in May will bring a spectacular springtime display to downtown Fairbanks, from the styles of the artists to the objects and ideas on which they choose to focus. Quilts, photographs, pressed botanicals, handmade birch books, fused glass jewelry, watercolors, and culinary art from a favorite local bakery will dot the streets and storefronts throughout the night. Tired of not being able to recycle glass in town? Draw inspiration from up-cycled glassware, and check out jewelry made from guitar picks while you’re downtown. The dynamite seasonal centerpiece is a collection of artwork from 40 Alaskan artists at If Only… a Fine Store on Cushman Street—guaranteed to please. See you on the streets!
“Pink Summer,” Randall Compton @ Lady Lee’s Bath House Emporium, 825 1st Avenue
DonBarrington Photography @ Alana’s Espresso Escape, Co-Op Plaza, Suite 101
Cozy Quilts by Sew in the Snow @ River City Café & Espresso, 523 2nd Avenue
Made in Alaska, You Bet! @ If Only… a fine store, 215 Cushman Street
Girl Scout Troop 175 @ Chartreuse, 729 1st Avenue
Phyllis Tate @ Morris Thompson Center, 101 Dunkel Avenue
A Season of Things to Come & Spring Sparklers @ S Salon & Studio, 901 Cushman Street
May Day– A Spring Celebration @ 2 Street Gallery, Co-Op Plaza, Suite 102
The Charm of Wood @ l’assiette de Pomegranate, 414 2nd Avenue
A Naturalist’s View @ Gallery 49, Co-Op Plaza, Suite 103
A Naturalist’s Retrospective @ Co-op Arts Learning Center, Co-Op Plaza. Suite 202
Arctic Memories @ The Alaska House Art Gallery, 1003 Cushman Street
Recipes from the Bun @ The Alaska House Art Gallery, 1003 Cushman Street
Sun Catchers @ Beads and Things, 537 2nd Avenue
One More Round & Samantha Miller @ Hair, Body and Sol, 1221 Noble Street, Ste 201
Joel Isaak @ Fairbanks Community Museum , 410 Cushman Street
Misalliance by George Bernard Shaw @ Empress Theatre, Co-Op Plaza, 3rd Ave Entrance
Sand Castle @ McCafferty’s, A Coffee House, Etc., 408 Cushman Street
The largest parade in Alaska in decades, maybe ever, will envelope 5,000 soldiers when they march through downtown. The Stryker brigade, with other units of the Army and branches of the United States Armed Forces, will march from Fort Wainright, up Noble Street to Second Avenue, then westward to Pioneer Park on May 12 starting at 10 AM. For more information, call 452-8671. To volunteer to help decorate 2nd Avenue, email David.
Think Airport Way and Wendell Street Bridge. These will get you directly to downtown.
Due to Illinois Street Reconstruction road closures, College Road and Phillips Field Road will still get you downtown – through a detour. For the simplest approach to downtown, enter from Airport onto Cushman Street. Or aim for the Wendell Street Bridge if you’re coming from the north.
Northbound traffic on Cushman Street goes all the way through to College Road. But southbound traffic across the Cushman Street Bridge will be closed perhaps until August. For project details and recent news and announcements, visit the Illinois Street Project’s website.
It’s bright and beautiful outside, and we here at the Downtown Association want to spread the summer cheer with the top meals + locations for a picnic lunch. Have your own ideas? Post them in the comments below.
1. Salads from Gambardella’s + Steps of Masonic Temple Lodge
A historical building on a breezy street with a riverfront view- what more could you ask for? Fancy salads like Pear Walnut Salad ($12.95) and Backened Salmon Caesar ($13.95) are made fresh just a block away and boxed to go.
2. Soup du Jour from l’assiette de Pomegranate + Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center
Just a short walk from the Morris Thompson Center, you’ll find the highest quality ingredients prepared daily by Joan at l’assiette de Pomegranate. Pick up a roast beef, turkey, or ham sandwich ($12.50) and cup of soup ($14.95 total) and mosey over to the picnic tables near the Antler Arch to escape the noise and bustle of downtown for a quick bite.
3. Paninis from Alana’s Espresso Escape + Rooftop
Downtown employees know that one of the perks of a tall office building is the escape it provides for a little fresh air during the work day. Alana’s Espresso Escape makes the best paninis in town ($6.75-$7.50), so invite your favorite coworkers and take in the panoramic view from atop your balcony or roof.
4. Ice Cream from The Fudge Pot + Golden Heart Plaza
Just a hop, skip, and a jump from the benches, live music, and pretty river views of Golden Heart Plaza is The Fudge Pot with soft serve ice cream ($2.75) and sandwiches like the BLT, Patrami & Provolone, and Tuna ($8.50). A cup of their delicious salmon chowder can be had for just $3.25 and side salads are available, as well.
5. “Original Monsters” from Speedy Subs + Graehl Landing
The brand new Speedy Subs location just happens to be a block away from the boat launch and picnic tables of Graehl Landing, so pick up a Speedy “Monster” like the Arctic Hillbilly (shredded beef pot roast) and Pepper Steak (sirloin with green peppers) for $10 or an “Original” like the Hawaiian ($8.50) or Cheese & Avocado ($9.25) on your way to the launch.
6. Pizza from Bobby’s + Veterans Memorial Park
The gazebo in Veterans Memorial Park is big enough for your entire office, and can be reserved in advance through the borough. Order a pizza (or several) from Bobby’s like the Aphrodite (white sauce, chicken, shrimp, and feta for $20.75-$26.75) or The Immigrant (prime rib, onions, bacon, sausage, and tomatoes for $20.75-$27.75). Bonus: You’ll get to chill out with the Occupy Fairbanks folks if they’re around, and they’ll be glad to help finish your pizza.
7. Wraps from Sunrise Bagel & Espresso + Immaculate Conception Church
Sunrise Bagel is as friendly to walk-up service as drive-thru. Their lunch menu includes sandwich/wrap options like Chicken Bacon Ranch ($6.75) and Reuben ($6.50). Wash it down with a milkshake ($3-4) or root beer float ($3.75) while watching the river traffic from the north bank of the Chena River on the grassy area in front of Immaculate Conception Church, perched atop one of several picnic tables.
8. Smoothies + A Local Cafe
River City Cafe and Julia’s Solstice Cafe both offer three things that picnic-goers love: 1.) outdoor seating, 2.) delicious daily specials, and 3.) smoothies! In all kinds of delicious, fruity flavors. Need we say more?
9. Sandwiches from The Red Couch + Canoe on the Chena River
Nothing says “picnic” like a float down the Chena River, munching and sipping your lunch as you row. Launch at Graehl Landing and bring your made-to-order sandwich ($4.50-$8.00) from The Red Couch for a leisurely float. Don’t be surprised if you don’t make it back to work… you’ll be tempted to just keep floating on…
Thanks to Sarah Smith, Kara Nash, Chartreuse Fairbanks, Sandy Magar-Speed, and Cindy Reichmuth for their valuable input into this article. Want to help us write articles? Find us on Facebook and watch for opportunities to submit your thoughts.