Downtown Association of Fairbanks – Fairbanks Alaska


The Alyeska 21 Days of Solstice launch on Thursday, December 1st and will count down until the darkest day of the year. This new campaign matches Fairbanksans with the best of downtown during the holidays (including special events, featured products, and daily giveaways) through online and social media.


Each day, a giveaway donated by a local business or sponsor will be up for grabs on Facebook.
Simply comment to win!

Fans can win a range of prizes (total est. value of $2500) from wine tastings and fine art to dance classes, hotel stays, outdoor gear, holiday gift baskets, and dining gift cards.

Week One prizes are products or services offered by the following businesses. We’ll reveal the details of each prize daily on Facebook.

Thurs, Dec. 1st: Fairbanks First and GVEA

Fri, Dec. 2nd: Beads & Things

Sat, Dec. 3rd: Fairbanks Community Museum

Sun, Dec. 4th: Alaska House Art Gallery

Mon, Dec. 5th: MAC Federal Credit Union

Tues, Dec. 6th: l’assiette de Pomegranate

Weds, Dec. 7th: If Only.. a Fine Store

Check Facebook daily for your chance to win! Giveaway value increases over the course of the month, so the more you follow us- the better your chances of winning big.


Of course, the holidays are a time during which downtown businesses, churches, and community organizations host open houses, caroling, special services, in-store sales, and holiday parties. Each day on the Winter Solstice website, we’ll share special events that you can catch downtown as part of the Alyeska 21 Days of Solstice, including visits with Santa every Saturday at River City Cafe!

Week One events include:

Thurs, Dec. 1st: World AIDS Day @ MTCVC

Fri, Dec. 2nd: First Friday!

Sat, Dec. 3rd: Holiday Bazaars @ Doyon and MTCVC

Sun, Dec. 4th: Pets with Santa @ Sadler’s

Mon, Dec. 5th: Think Local Cafe Club @ Julia’s Solstice Cafe

Tues, Dec. 6th: Open Mic @ The Big I

Weds, Dec. 7th: Wine Wednesdays @ Lavelle’s

Click here for details on these and other events.


And if that’s not enough to get you psyched about the darkest month of the year, check out an online holiday gift guide published through the Downtown Association of Fairbanks, making it easy to check off your shopping list right here in the city’s most local business district.

Join us to win prizes, celebrate the holidays, and find great deals as we count down until December 21st!

The Alyeska 21 Days of Solstice is brought to you in part by Alaska Gold Rush Fine Jewelry, Fountainhead Antique Auto Museum, GVEA, HOPS Hallmark, Stephenson CPA, Actus Community Fund, Lavelle’s Bistro, and River City Investments.



Holiday anticipation, cheer, and a welcome Chinook wind warm the December air during phonics games for kids

ng>First Friday for the return of signature candlelight shopping, a birch-inspired jewelry showcase at a new First Friday venue, and an annual earring sale. Old Thyme Fairbanks is memorialized in watercolor at the Fairbanks Community Museum, while photography lines the walls of an upscale menswear store and hair salon. Unique handmade raven sculptures commemorate perhaps our most famous northern bird. And for those who can’t splurge on gifts this year, a fine art gallery is hosting an affordable sale with items priced as low as $1.00. Join us on the streets for December First Friday!

Book Signing @ Arctic Travelers Gift Shop, 201 Cushman Street

Tom & Nelda Nixon and Matt Moberly @ Fairbanks Community Museum, 410 Cushman Street

Latte Art @ Alana’s Espresso Escape, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 101

Annual Candlelight Shopping Event @ If Only… a fine store, 215 Cushman Street

Wildlife Photography by Coby Brock @ Frank’s Menswear, 535 3rd Avenue, Suite B

Tin Cup Designs @ Alaskan Gold Rush Fine Jewelry, 531 2nd Avenue

Affordable & Unique @ Co-Op Arts, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 103

Jess Peña & Charms by CJ @ Chartreuse, 729 1st Avenue

Phillip Carrico’s “From Palette to Palate” @ S Salon & Studio, 901 Cushman Street

Glenna Gannon @ Alaska House Art Gallery, 1003 Cushman Street

Holiday Art Bazaar @ Morris Thompson Center, 101 Dunkel Street

Alaskan Outpost Photo Fundraiser @ Space for Movement Studio, 410 2nd Avenue

Annie Sargent & Lois Hardesty @ Beads and Things, 537 2nd Avenue

Jordan Melendez @ Hair, Body and Sol, 1221 Noble Street

Raven Spirts by Mary Anne Fortune @ Lady Lee’s Bath House Emporium, 825 1st Avenue

Annual Earring Sale @ The Cat’s Meow, 212 Lacey Street

Live Jazz @ Bobby’s Downtown, 609 2nd Avenue

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

Weekend Entertainment @ The Big I Pub & Lounge, 122 N Turner Street

Arly—Jylz @ Big Daddy’s Bar-B-Q, 107 Wickersham Street



The popular Pets with Santa returns to Sadler’s this weekend, as the Fairbanks North Star Borough Animal Shelter sets up furry friends for photos with Santa Claus while simultaneously raising money for the nonprofit Animal Shelter Fund, which contributes to medical treatment of shelter animals from broken legs to vaccines and dental treatments.

On Saturday from 10am-4pm and Sunday from noon-4pm, stop into Sadler’s with your dog, cat, guinea pig, or iguana (on a leash, please), and walk away with a drop dead adorable photo to show off to coworkers and fellow neighborhood dog walkers. Though Santa poses with all pets, he does have his personal favorites.

“Santa’s a big dog lover,” Mary Ann Fortune, Vice President for the FNSB Animal Shelter Fund, says of his preferences. Mary Ann has organized Pet Photos with Santa since 1996 and runs it with the help of volunteers Christel Emery, Jane Smith, and Richard Bratten.

Match your pet to the holiday backdrop by dressing it in red and green. The shelter provides a bench for you to pose with your pet, if you choose- or you can leave that to the big guy. You’ll receive a digital photo disc from which you can upload the photos or print as many copies as you wish, all for only $15. Multiple pets are welcome. Many pet owners add a small donation for the shelter fund to their payment.

Pet Photos with Santa are great for greeting cards, Christmas ornaments, or refrigerator pick-me-ups. The FNSB Animal Shelter has held photo shoots throughout the city for the past few weeks, but this is your last chance to take advantage of this opportunity for the 2011 holiday season.


Saturday, December 3rd 10:00am-4:00pm

Sunday, December 4th 12:00pm-4:00pm


Sadler’s Building

(use 7th Ave entrance)

610 Cushman Street




The effort to remodel downtown’s main arteries is reviving.   To get the ball rolling again, Fairbanks Mayor Jerry Cleworth named a steering committee to become acquainted with the issues, limitations and potential of Cushman and Barnette streets as one-way facilities.  Members of the steering committee – Scott Allison, Tim Cerny, Mary Nordale, June Rogers, and Eric Stoner – will help develop “complete street” alternatives and take public comment and answer questions about the alternatives at springtime public workshops.  The steering committee is ultimately answerable to the Fairbanks City Council since the chosen alternative will require Council’s support.  Construction will start in 2013. 

Kinney Engineering is the primary consultant on the project. Crandall Arambula is sub-contracted to help in the development of design alternatives. 

Click on these links to the minutes of the steering committee’s inaugural meeting, Kinney Engineering’s traffic engineering results and more on complete streets.  The steering committee’s next meeting is at City Hall December 13 at 6 PM. 





Downtown Fairbanks is stepping up this holiday season with a brand new campaign to connect Fairbanksans with the finest products and festivities available in the heart of the city.

Celebrate the Alyeska 21 Days of Solstice from December 1st to December 21st with daily giveaways, an exclusive gift guide of new items, and a calendar of events (including visits with Santa!) that will keep you busy and warm as we count down until the darkest day of the year.

And we’re thanking YOU for supporting local, downtown businesses with a giving spree worth thousands of dollars in downtown products. Log on to our facebook page each day to see what’s up for grabs and follow the simple instructions for your chance to win. Products range from wine tastings to parkas, upscale menswear to baked goods, and fine art to holiday baskets.

Businesses on board (thank you!) include:

Lavelle’s Bistro, Chartreuse, Frank’s Menswear, If Only…a fine store, Alaska Rag Company, Forget Me Not Books, Arctic Travelers Gift Shop, l’assiette de Pomegranate, Alaska House Art Gallery, Bridgewater Hotel, Actus Community Fund, Dance Theatre Fairbanks, Alaskan Gold Rush Fine Jewelry,  Alaska Public Lands Information Center, Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau, S Salon & Studio, Big Ray’s, Co-Op Arts, Alana’s Espresso Escape, River City Café & Espresso, Julia’s Solstice Café and Lady Lee’s Bath House Emporium.

Plus free midday parking in the parking garage beginning Monday and running through the holidays (11am-2pm, M-F) so that you can park, shop, and eat lunch downtown during the festivities.

Businesses- sign up immediately if you haven’t already registered to be highlighted during this campaign. Sponsor information available here.

More details to come!


The bazaar season is in full swing, and you might be surprised by how many downtown players can be found in the frenzy.

The Holiday Marketplace at the Carlson Center was a case study in downtown outreach, vendor recruitment, and the breadth of individual retailers and crafty folks that come downtown throughout the year. We’re happy to see these friends of downtown spread across the city, and hope you take the chance to connect with brick-and-mortar retailers or independent vendors from the Downtown Market when you see them at a holiday bazaar. If you’re a business owner, you may even use these events to create hype for your own store/restaurant and downtown in general.

Here’s the behind-the-scenes scoop on the many ways downtown Fairbanks interacts with holiday bazaars:


Though bazaars tend to feature crafters and artists, businesses can register and use the forum to reach new clientele. Downtown businesses or programs represented at the Holiday Marketplace included The Fudge Pot, Chartreuse, Julia’s Solstice Cafe, Alaska Rag Company, and Fairbanks First.

The Fudge Pot participates in the Holiday Marketplace each year, and staffs a fudge stand during many Carlson Center events including Nanook hockey games. Bobbi McLean, an employee, says the shop uses bazaars and special events as an extra push during the tourism off-season. The Fudge Pot sold holiday-themed products like decorated apples dipped in chocolate and mix-and-match holiday tins of fudge.

“It was a really good weekend for The Fudge Pot,” Bobbi reports. “Being at the show reminds people that we’re here and several people have come in to have holiday tins made up after seeing us at the Marketplace.”

Julia of Julia’s Solstice Cafe was selling Diving Duck coffee at the Marketplace, but also ended up taking orders for vegan holiday meals after talking with folks about her restaurant and knack for accommodating special diets.

“We got a lot of exposure,” Julia says. Diving Duck had a booth at the Tanana Valley Fair this past summer and Julia says several people who first tasted the coffee at the fair stopped in to the Marketplace and were happy to find the coffee again. Julia reminded them the cafe is open all year long.

Because of the expense, Julia would recommend opting for a smaller bazaar (she plans to do A Women’s Affair in spring) or teaming up with another vendor or business to split the cost.

Sheri, owner of Chartreuse, was approached by several vendors who sell soaps and jewelry through her store on consignment. They wanted a booth at the Marketplace but couldn’t afford the high cost. Sheri used Chartreuse to help defray the expense, and three vendors staffed the booth for her all weekend. Each made a profit, though Sheri’s biggest success was wandering through the Marketplace and finding a bright new artist with whom she hopes to contract for sales in her shop.

Sometimes, products found at local bazaars are also carried by downtown retailers. Sarah Holm of Fish Head Studio crafts beautiful fused glass serving plates, dishes, and jewelry. Though you might have met her at the Holiday Marketplace, a selection of her work is available at If Only… a Fine Store all year round.


It’s no surprise that Downtown Market and Midnight Sun Festival vendors are selling around town this time of year. Fans of Alaska’s Angels Farm, Aronson Designs, TNT Seasonings, Alaska Wilds, Earth Link Jewelry, Carpe Diem Creations/Smiling Planet Felt, and Tundra Walker Studio (all from the Market) can find these vendors at many of the Fairbanks bazaars. Bigger events like the Holiday Marketplace attract Midnight Sun Festival vendors who live in Anchorage and aren’t always in town. Over the weekend, we spotted Miche Bags, Jerky Hut, Charms by CJ, Art Glass by Sarah Chatfield, Alaska Girls Kick Ass, and others from the Festival.


Kara and Amy walked through rows of vendors at the Holiday Marketplace to scout out potential new names for the 2012 Downtown Market and Midnight Sun Festival. Business cards, Kara’s iPhone, and quick hellos helped us compile a brief list of candidates. Vendor relationships fostered at this time of year can turn into a cool new craft or printmaker in the Plaza on Mondays next summer. We left with the names of a half dozen prospects, whom we look forward to contacting once sign-ups are back up for the Festival and the Market.


Downtown does, in fact, host a few bazaars of its own, and they kick off this weekend:

  • Tanana Chiefs Conference Christmas Bazaar- Friday, November 18th
    9am-6pm in the Chief David Salmon Tribal Hall
    featuring nearly 50 vendors offering arts, crafts, refreshments, and massages.
  • Black Sunday Bazaar- Sunday, November 27th
    11am-5pm at Julia’s Solstice Cafe
    featuring handmade jewelry, clothing, crafts, and delicious food.
  • Holiday Art Bazaar- Friday, December 2nd and Saturday, December 3rd
    5-8pm (Fri) and 10-3pm (Sat) at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center
    featuring prints, jewelry, knitwear, paintings, and handcrafted gifts.
    (Food and drinks available on Friday night)

And remember- when you come downtown for a bazaar, you’re on the doorstep of dozens of boutiques, clothing stores, and restaurants. The parking garage is rolling out free midday parking (11am-2pm, M-F) beginning this Monday and running through the holidays.


Dance Theatre Fairbanks will go before the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly November 17th to seek relief from propery taxes on the old fire hall on 7th Avenue that DTF rehabilitated in the course of locating their non-profit dance school in downtown Fairbanks.  The News-Miner previewed tomorrow night’s action and you can read about it in the DTF’s own words here.  The Assembly is likely to take up the Ordinance shortly after 7 PM.


The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival (FSAF) is hosting a Ghanaian Dance, Drumming, and Song workshop this weekend at Dance Theatre Fairbanks. Visiting Instructor Okaidja Afronso will take participants through a series of six workshops in two days, teaching the techniques of Drum Language, African Dance, and Large Group Song.

Returning to Fairbanks for the fourth time over multiple years of festival instruction, Okaidja has been busy teaching in the music rooms of local schools and at Joel’s Place this week. Just like with younger students, his adult classes at Dance Theatre Fairbanks will open with an introduction to Ghanaian culture- outlining the country’s location, the similarities and differences between life in West Africa and the United States, and “what role music and dance plays in our lives as Ghanaians.”

Inspired by his family’s legacy of song in the small Ghanaian fishing village where he was raised, Okaidja says that dancing did not come as naturally to him at first. But its ability to transform a state of mind was too brilliant to give up. Eventually Okaidja was accepted into a prestigious dance program at the University of Ghana and later joined a professional dance troupe. Now he works as a private instructor in Portland and records music in his spare time.

“There’s this freedom in your heart and you just want to put everything outside- all of your problems- and enjoy it,” Okaidja says of traditional dance.

He jokes that adult classes can be more difficult to instruct because older students are so absorbed by daily stress that it’s harder to clear their minds. Regardless, those who witnessed his adult class perform at the FSAF World Music and Dance concert in July will remember that by the time of the performance, Okaidja’s students were all smiles.

“That’s the main goal,” he laughs. “It takes a clear mind. You should be up for a challenge. But by the time you’re done- you have worked for it.”

Students will also get a feel for how the rhythms of drum, dance, and song reflect ancient stories passed on through many generations of Ghanaian culture. Okaidja explains that drum language is usually tied to oral storytelling, so that the beats of a drum help you remember the next verse in the story- like a musical mnemonic device. Dance can be incorporated, as well- or “your footwork is what you are singing,” as Okaidja puts it.

He is quick to admit, however, that part of the fun is the flexibility of storytelling, and bringing new interpretations or twists to ancient dances and songs. First-time musicians often read messages in movements and melodies that others may not have seen.

Each workshop will include roughly an hour and a half of practice time, which Okaidja says is generous for beginners.

Registration is $110 for the complete set of six workshops, $60 for one day, and $25 for each individual session. Participants are encouraged to bring friends, family, and their favorite drum (though drums will also be provided).

Photo credit: Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival


Dance Theatre Fairbanks

656 7th Avenue


Saturday, November 19th, 12:00pm-5:30pm

Sunday, November 20th, 12:00pm-5:30pm






This month’s First Friday showcase draws inspiration from characters and places around the globe- particularly through the eyes, cameras, and paintbrushes of veterans and active duty military personnel who have contributed to a first-time mixed show at the Fairbanks Veterans Center (with hors d’oeuvres doubling as one soldier’s artwork). Pottery featuring a Japanese glazing technique will be on display just a block down from a collaborative art show and culinary specials commemorating El Dia de los Muertos. Like always, Alaskan themes dominate local artistic expression, with abstract landscapes, jewelry inspired by natural materials, photography of abandoned mines, and botanical prints of Alaskan flowers. And if these techniques or topics are too tame for your tastes, browse an acrylic show based on 1950’s cheesecake art and the psychedelic movement. First Friday in downtown Fairbanks promises another night of cultural, culinary, and creative delights.

Around Here @ Fairbanks Community Museum, 410 Cushman Street

Pauline Lian of Iceworm Studios @ If Only… a fine store, 215 Cushman Street

Phil Ackley @ Frank’s Menswear, 535 3rd Avenue, Suite B

“Raku and More,” Shirley Odsather @ Co-Op Arts, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 103

Calling in Art-Y @ Fairbanks Vet Center, 540 4th Avenue, Suite 100

“Alaskapes,” by Donna Lenard @ S Salon & Studio, 901 Cushman Street

Kristin Timm & Carrie Aronson @ Morris Thompson Center, 101 Dunkel Street

Lance Bifoss & Bradley Enzenauer @ Chartreuse, 729 1st Avenue

One of a Kind @ Alaska House Art Gallery, 1003 Cushman Street

Liz King @ Hair, Body and Sol, 1221 Noble Street

Co-Op Arts @ Alana’s Espresso Escape, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 101

Erin Otness @ Lady Lee’s Bath House Emporium, 825 1st Avenue

Day of the Dead @ l’assiette de Pomegranate, 414 2nd Avenue

Living Magic @ The Cat’s Meow, 212 Lacey Street

November Showcase @ Beads and Things, 537 2nd Avenue

Live Jazz @ Bobby’s Downtown, 609 2nd Avenue

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

Weekend Entertainment @ The Big I Pub & Lounge 122 N Turner Street

Arly—Jylz @ Big Daddy’s Bar-B-Q 107 Wickersham Street






Old t-shirts, jeans, fleece sweatshirts, towels, wool coats, and even grocery bags can find new life at the Alaska Rag Company, where fabrics of all types are stripped down and refashioned into hand woven rugs as part of a vocational training program for adults with mental illnesses.

Operated by the Fairbanks Community Behavioral Health Center for nearly twenty years, the Alaska Rag Company is a small but powerful operation that aims to develop job skills in clients through a multi-step program. A tidy and compact shop at the corner of 6th Avenue and Lacey Street houses half a dozen looms, racks of colorful products, and up to twenty beginning weavers with staff on hand to help them work through the many phases of recycled rug manufacturing.

Clients are referred to the training program by therapists or case managers who believe they are ready to re-enter the workforce. Most begin with simple tasks like cutting strips and removing buttons from donated fabric while learning basic job skills like arriving on time and taking direction. Weavers are in the final stages of training and aim to secure employment in the Fairbanks community.

The creative process begins at community drop-off centers, where items and materials from old t-shirts to corduroy are left for staff to gather. Making use of donated materials helps keep costs low, with the added environmental benefit of recycling old clothing back into a useful product. Drop-off bins are located in the Sadler’s parking lot and at Fred Meyer West. Donations are also accepted at the Alaska Rag Company.

From there, materials are sorted, with the best items sold as-is on a rack in the shop or donated to thrift stores. The rest are divided into piles used to make rags (available in bulk with free downtown delivery or in household bundles) and those that can be woven into rugs and other products. All zippers, buttons, and pockets are removed, the material is washed, and the fabric is cut into strips.

“Weaving is the fast part,” Monika Hebert, Employment Specialist, says of the entire process.

Even so- once on the loom, a standard rug takes at least ten hours to weave. Curious customers can watch the process, as two or three weavers are usually hard at work in front of looms scattered throughout the store. Prices range from $20-$300 depending on size, and custom orders are welcome. The AK Rag Company can weave an item from a favorite piece of clothing, or use paint and upholstery samples to match a rug with interior decor. Complete sets of table runners, placemats, and rugs are also available.

The woven products made in-house aren’t all you’ll find on the shelves at the Alaska Rag Company, though. The shop also carries consignment items from twenty local and Alaskan artists, including note cards, mittens, jewelry, pottery, wooden cutting boards, and pressed flowers.

This wide range of house wares, clothing, and gifts keeps customers coming back throughout the holidays.

“We have regulars,” Monika remarks about the shop’s clientele. “It’s kind of like a coffee shop, but without the coffee.”

Parking is available in a driveway adjacent to the Alaska Rag Company off of 6th Avenue, or on the street across from the shop.


Alaska Rag Company

603 Lacey Street


Monday- Friday, 10:00am-5:00pm



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Downtown Association of Fairbanks – Fairbanks Alaska