A brand new store and a two year anniversary provide cause for celebration this First Friday, featuring beadwork, paintings, photography, and the written word in addition to the usual mix of great music and fine dining. If you’re in the mood for a makeover, sign up for discounted feather hair extensions or make an appointment at your most artistic downtown salon while viewing the latest exhibits. Teddy bears made out of beaver fur and a watercolor commentary on the unique character of Alaskan men will round out another incredible evening downtown.
Claire Fejes Memorial Exhibit @ Alaska House Art Gallery, 1003 Cushman Street
“Alaska Men,” Margaret Donat @ Co-Op Arts, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 103
Kelsey Park and Deanna Hennen @ Cribs, Cradles & Things, 610 Cushman Street
Patricia Carlson @ If Only… a fine store, 215 Cushman Street
“A BeautiFALL World,” Kristi Sandberg & 2 Year Anniversary @ Chartreuse, 729 1st Avenue
For the Love of Books! @ Lady Lee’s Bath House Emporium, 825 1st Avenue
“Outside the Lines,” Brianna Reagan @ S Salon & Studio, 901 Cushman Street
Feather Hair Extensions @ The Cat’s Meow, 212 Lacey Street
Snappy Ron’s Photography @ Morris Thompson Center, 101 Dunkel Street
Pony Rides @ The Dawg Wash, 541 9th Avenue
“The Fur Bearer,” Angie Hickman @ Arctic Travelers Gift Shop, 201 Cushman Street
Open House @ Taoist Tai Chi Society, 407 1st Avenue, Suite 219
Portrait of Alaska by SJ Powell Photography @ Fairbanks Community Museum, 410 Cushman Street (photo pictured)
Fall for Beads @ Beads and Things, 537 2nd Avenue
Coffeeshop Art @ Alana’s Espresso Escape, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 101
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
Looking for a place to stay on a visit to Fairbanks? Need some extra room for an out-of-town guest? Four bed and breakfasts in downtown Fairbanks carry all the class and charm you want, at prices you can afford. The feel of these accommodations range from historic frontier days to country kitchen, and offer full breakfasts served hot at your convenience.
Alaska Heritage House
410 Cowles Street
“This is like staying in a museum. You get to taste Fairbanks society at the turn of the century.”
–Van Newstrom, Owner
Special Amenities: piano, WiFi, marble fireplace, handmade soaps, locally-sourced foods, laundry, bicycles, cable TV, close to central bus station, flexible arrival times.
A stay at the Alaska Heritage House is a lesson in early Fairbanks. Walk up the narrow wooden stairway and pass antique bed warmers used to heat the linens of its first residents. The building is listed on the National Register of Historical Places and was one of the city’s grandest homes when built in 1916. Slanted ceilings, bottom-clawed bathtubs, lace curtains, and handpainted wallpaper make the Heritage House the most elegant stay in Fairbanks. The owner, Van, has extensive knowledge of the home’s early history and a collection of first editions from an author who once lived there. Cuisine from all corners of the globe is served up at breakfast. Food grown in the yard or greenhouse will likely make it to your plate, and you’ll find handmade soaps waiting when you arrive.
Ah, Rose Marie Bed and Breakfast
302 Cowles Street
“These are 1920s houses- the kind of houses where you find nooks and crannies everywhere.”
–Chris Davis, Co-Owner
Special Amenities: picnic area, high speed internet, enclosed front porch, friendly dog, family rooms, luggage storage, complimentary snacks, trip planning, monthly rentals in winter.
Great service at Ah, Rose Marie B&B is a family affair. Owner John has worked with son, Chris, to run the bed and breakfast for many years. Now with a second house next door to the original, Chris is taking over the business with the aim of keeping it up with his father’s high standards. Rooms in two neighboring houses are available for rent, each built in the early 20th century and decked out with modern renovations that preserve the early homestead ambiance. John is particularly well-known for serving up huge breakfasts, and is a valuable resource for guests looking for local advice. Chris grew up with the bed and breakfast and looks forward to gradually acquiring the family business, which is named for his grandmother. Ah, Rose Marie is just a “hop, skip, and a jump” to downtown restaurants and shops.
All Seasons Bed and Breakfast
763 7th Avenue
“We as innkeepers not only provide a place to sleep and a good breakfast, but we also have the knowledge of Alaska. People have a natural curiosity about our lives here.”
–Mary Richards, Innkeeper
Special Amenities: WiFi, laundry, common areas, luggage storage, trip planning, private baths, free local calls, computer access, lending library, cable TV, free parking with plug-ins.
All Seasons B&B Inn dwells in a cozy log building with a deeply carved birch tree and a sunroom for soaking in the summer rays. Rooms are themed by color and once served as living quarters for employees of the First Fairbanks Airport. The innkeeper, Mary, has many stories and a former column in the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner dedicated to colorful experiences with guests. Each is paired with a recipe from her scrumptious breakfasts including egg puffs, apple oat muffins, cheese grits, glazed bacon, and spinach quiche. All Seasons is open year-round and Mary is happy to share the knowledge of Fairbanks she’s amassed over 34 years of life in the last frontier.
Minnie Street Bed and Breakfast
345 Minnie Street
“We try to make each person special. They haven’t come to just lay in a bed somewhere.”
–Marnie Hazelaar, Co-Owner
Special Amenities: WiFi, bathrobes, gift shop, lending library, cable TV, computer access, luggage storage, laundry, trip planning, ticket sales for community events, free parking, hammock. Suites- heated floors, Jacuzzi, electric fireplace, massage service.
Several growth spurts since its grand opening 21 years ago have made Minnie Street B&B into a collection of four homes that now cover an entire city block. Yet the owners, Lambert and Marnie Hazelaar. manage to retain all the charm and coziness of a homestay. Minnie Street is the perfect place for large family gatherings or parties with a long out-of-town guest list. Individual rooms are also available. Each room is named and decorated after an Alaskan flower. A wide outdoor deck is a favorite spot for dinner and parties. Suites (with Jacuzzi tubs and massage service) are available and each guest is entitled to amenities like WiFi, soft bathrobes, a four-course breakfast, and a lending library.
This grassroots service began as a way to make it easier for businesses and residents of downtown Fairbanks to recycle. Curbside recycling is not available in Fairbanks and, before this program, a downtown recycling dropoff didn’t even exist.
Project Fairbanks compiled a survey last spring to gauge interest in recycling and received overwhelming positive response.
Now, the group is taking action to help spur enthusiasm for and bring attention to the relative lack of downtown recycling infrastructure. Volunteers from the group collect recyclables each week at the Downtown Market and accept items from households and businesses as well as Market patrons and vendors. Though the first few weeks of the Market were slow with the early phases of outreach, Project Fairbanks is now seeing a steady stream of recycling enthusiasts who cart bags and boxes of cardboard and cans to their booth each week.
Patrons can bring glass, aluminum, paper, cardboard, and plastic to Project Fairbanks each Monday in Golden Heart Plaza. Project Fairbanks asks that recyclables be clean and placed in the proper container. The group delivers the recyclables to a local facility, serving as the in-between for downtown residents and distant waste handlers.
Project Fairbanks is a nonprofit dedicated to revitalizing downtown Fairbanks through public art, popular events, and charitable volunteerism. The group consists of Isaiah Mangum (907group), Sheri Olesen (Chartreuse), and Scott Allison (S Salon).
The Downtown Market continues every Monday night from 4-8pm in Golden Heart Plaza and will open through the third week of September.
June 6-September 19th
Golden Heart Plaza
Opposite the gleaming Alaska State Court building, the moldering Polaris has long eluded revitalization and demolition.
The City Council will hold a work session August 22 with the Polaris’ owner Marc Marlow to review his plan to refurbish the Polaris building. Following the Alaska Design Forum’s Looking for Love Again installation in April of this year, a May 3 letter from the City Building Official brought the question to a point: what plans does the owner have for the Polaris building? The meeting is at 6 PM in Council Chambers at City Hall and is open to the public.
Taking into account current and desired future uses downtown, the Vision Fairbanks land use framework identified the Polaris site – situated as it is – as ideal for offices as a principal use, a part of a future ‘Chena Office District.’
Drag queens working for charity on Saturday, August 20th will happily accept your donations and photo requests at a pink carpet fundraiser in the former firehouse studios of Dance Theatre Fairbanks (DTF).
“You’re going to see over-the-top dresses and lots of heavy makeup,: says Jay Howe, Ensemble Co-Director and charitable queen. He adds, with emphasis, “It IS appropriate to tip a drag queen.”
Why pink? DTF staff often jokes about how students love dressing in “pretty pink recital costumes” for performances, Jay explains, and this show needed a theme to make it fun and engaging. Wearing the color will get you in the doors for $5 less, and helps demonstrate your support.
Thus- The Pink Party.
“When you come in, everyone’s wearing pink,” Jay describes. “It’s an opportunity to support it visually.”
Alongside drag queens, staff at Dance Theatre Fairbanks will perform as the Safety Dancers and a few brave parents of DTF students are busting out hiphop moves as the Dance Revolution Crew. A burlesque troupe known as Crazy Shakes is also set to make an appearance.
The evening will include a silent auction featuring products and services from local salons, donated artwork, gift certificates for dining out, and a hand-painted toilet seat adorned with a pin-up girl from Chartreuse. Admission (21+ only) ranges from $10 for those who wear pink, to $15 for those who don’t, with a limited number of $25 VIP tickets for the first three rows.
The doors open at 8:30pm to give show-goers time to mix, mingle amongst the queens, and settle in with drinks before the performance. DVDs of the show, digital albums, and professional photos with drag queens will be available for purchase, with all proceeds (and tips) benefitting Dance Theatre Fairbanks. Attendees are encouraged to stay after the performance for a dance.
And if that weren’t reason enough to come- your first drink of the night is on the house.
Jay points out that dressing in drag and throwing a great party is a chance for DTF staff to do their part in earning money for student performances.
“We’re doing this as a gift to our students,” Jay says. “They work really hard to raise money for the studio, as well.”
Funds raised during The Pink Party will help cover expenses for the scheduled winter performance of Vavaldi’s Four Seasons, and a spring ballet of Peter Pan.
“Productions are no easy task and without funding and donations, they can’t really happen,” Jay explains. “Costumes alone cost about $50 apiece and each performer wears an average of four costumes per show.”
Dance Theatre Fairbanks teaches around 130 students each year in classes ranging from hiphop to ballet, and for ages from “3 to 103,” according to the DTF website.
Dance Theatre Fairbanks is located at 656 7th Avenue. Look for silhouettes of performers adorning the old firehouse doors. The studio has also recently released its fall schedule.
Saturday, August 20th, 2011
Doors open 8:30pm
Performance at 10:00pm
Dance Theatre Fairbanks
Edna Wise Theatre
656 Seventh Avenue
Spectacular landscape photography and watercolors debut downtown in at least three locations this Friday. Mix in a one-year anniversary celebration, quirky takes on femininity in Alaska, and a florescent exhibit on the walls of a favorite boutique- and you’ve almost covered the range of options available at August First Friday. Don’t forget to check out the activities like pony rides, live music, scrapbooking, and dancing to round out a perfect late summer evening in the heart of Fairbanks.
Claire Fejes Memorial Exhibit & Don Standing Bear @ Alaska House Art Gallery, 1003 Cushman Street
Leonard Ward @ Chartreuse, 729 1st Avenue
“Peaks of High & Low,” Kate Wood @ Co-Op Arts, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 103
“Iron-y,” Aeron Henderson @ l’assiette de Pomegranate, 414 2nd Avenue
Jill Marshall @ If Only… a fine store, 215 Cushman Street
Scrapbooking @ Lady Lee’s Bath House Emporium, 825 1st Avenue
“True Horizon,” Alexis Vaught @ S Salon & Studio, 901 Cushman Street
Earring Sale @ The Cats Meow, 212 Lacey Street
Susan Stevenson Photography @ Fairbanks Community Museum, 410 Cushman Street
Pony Rides @ The Dawg Wash, 541 9th Avenue
907 Designs & Beads @ Beads and Things, 537 2nd Avenue
Tekenya Rosetta Photography @ Alana’s Espresso Escape, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 101
First Friday @ Space for Movement Studio, 410 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
The program, similar to that of many cities, handles non-criminal behavior that is dangerous to the individual or disruptive to downtown business. Though “protective custody” is mandated by Alaska Statute Title 47.37.170(b) for publicly incapacitated individuals, law enforcement agencies are unable to handle every call in Fairbanks.
Three CSP ambassadors from Securitas, Inc. fill this need in a specific area downtown. The entire program, including van maintenance, fuel, cell phones and wages, operates on an $185,000 annual budget.
These ambassadors are familiar faces on the streets of Fairbanks.
Officer David Edmond came to Fairbanks from South Carolina as an infantry soldier. He notices some differences in his newest line of work. “In the army infantry, you’re aggressive,” David explains. “(CSP) is about helping people the best you can. You’ve got to have patience. You’ve got to know how to talk to people.”
Officer Jacob Blackburn started work with the CSP in March. He grew up in Anchorage before moving to Fairbanks to earn a history degree. He likes to recommend the Fairbanks Community Museum when visitors stop him to ask for a local opinion. “I really, really wanted this post,” Jacob says of his new assignment. “It’s pretty much the best security post in Fairbanks because you actually get to walk around and meet people instead of just telling them to get off a lawn.”
Supervisor William (Eric) Yost has worked with the team since early 2010. He had ten years of hospital security under his belt before coming downtown, along with twelve years as a hunting guide. Does patience come naturally to him? “Oh no- no, no, no, no.” Eric laughs, eyes wide. He is quick to credit basic training in the military, where he served as a military police officer for five years.
Each ambassador follows protocol for finding an appropriate point of care for inebriated individuals, with home as the first priority. “You always ask them, ‘Do you have a home to go to?’” David outlines. “If they say yes, it’s best if they can give you a phone number. The person who answers has to be over 18, sober, and willing to accept them.”
Jacob and Eric reinforce that CSP can handle problems aside from inebriates. “Because we’re on foot in the downtown area- we can usually be there as fast as the police and we can help with any nonviolent problems,” Jacob emphasizes- from shoplifting to vehicle breakdowns. And the foot patrol has other advantages.
“It gives the downtown area a more personable feel because we talk to people and get to know them,” Eric says. Jacob adds, “We actually get to meet people- whether that be store owners, visitors, or the people we assist.”
David says his time on the streets has helped him get to know many of the individuals he transports. “From what I see, most of them don’t want to be an alcoholic.” David says. “They don’t want to live that life. When you see them sober- they’re different people. They’ll say hi to you, thank you.” Though misconceptions still abound, David takes to setting the record straight about his work whenever he gets a chance. “Most people think we’re just the jail van, that we automatically take you to jail,” he laments. “I hate the jail reference. Our main mission is to help you out.”
His coworkers share that sentiment. “There isn’t any quota and we’re not out to get people- we’re there to try to help them as much as we can, “ Jacob points out. “You can still catch hypothermia at 60 degrees in the rain.”
So -how do you know a CSP officer when you see one? In the summer, look for red polos with “Community Service Patrol” across the back. In winter? “We look like the big navy blue Michelin tire man,” Eric jokes. “Put the bibs on along with the overcoat and you could be a double.”
The patrol is available by phone at 907-978-6100.
Years ago, Katherine Mattingly was sitting in the waiting room of a doctor’s office when she overheard Sheri Olesen talking excitedly about opening up the 1st Avenue boutique known as Chartreuse- a colorful and clever combo of “art” and “reuse.”
Sheri chattered away about the clothes, jewelry, accessories, and artwork she hoped to sell, and her efforts to remodel the space. Katherine sat quietly, taking in the vision and mulling it over in her head.
“I just loved her energy,” Katherine recalls. “I remember thinking- Aww, she can paint! Good for her.”
Months later, Katherine saw a flyer advertising the official opening of Chartreuse. With the image of Sheri still fresh in her mind, she made copies of the flyer and posted it all over town. She and Sheri had not met or spoken, but Katherine wanted to help this bright young entrepreneur succeed.
Katherine soon convinced her coworkers at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game to take a midday field trip to visit Chartreuse and eat lunch downtown. As Halloween approached, Katherine heard about a haunted house at Chartreuse and made sure to copy and hang up posters for that, as well.
Katherine became a familiar face to Sheri, who took notice when months passed without seeing her in the store. On her next visit, Katherine explained that her daughter, Brianna, had life-threatening scoliosis. As her case worsened and her spine bent further, Brianna’s organs were slowly crushed and she had to seek emergency treatment to be able to properly breathe. Both she and her mother had been busy with countless consultations and a major surgery.
After a 10-hour surgery, 23 screws inserted into her spine, and 6 days in intensive care, Brianna is ready for a new and improved life. Though ecstatic at her daughter’s chance to live more easily, Katherine owes $209,000 after insurance and expects more bills from follow-up procedures.
Sheri realized it was her chance to give back to the family, and suggested a fundraiser at Chartreuse for 14-year-old Brianna Mattingly.
“Her mom has been very supportive of my business so I wanted to help her,” Sheri explains.
No stranger to fundraisers, Sheri is constantly working with community organizations and helping put together events with Project Fairbanks, the Breast Cancer Detection Center, the Street Outreach and Advocacy Program (SOAP), and others.
“That’s another thing I love about Sheri- her pull for the community,” Katherine says.
Sheri decided to combine a fundraiser for Brianna with a special debut of all-new items acquired from a major estate sale, including plus-size vintage clothing, scarves, heels, and accessories.
The fundraiser and estate sale will coincide with Chartreuse’s First Friday show featuring Leonard Ward, and live music by Emily Anderson. The joint sale/fundraiser/concert/exhibit will take place on Friday, August 5th from 5:00-9:00pm.
Sheri will donate all profits from the estate sale to the Mattinglys. With any luck, shoppers will walk away with some rare finds in addition to helping relieve the financial burden on this family.
Anyone interested in making a direct donation can contact Katherine by email or meet her and Brianna in person at Chartreuse on Friday. Brianna is helping raise money for her own surgery by distributing handmade books of her photos and writing, which are also available at Chartreuse.
Friday, August 5th from 5:00-9:00pm
11:00am-8:00pm, Monday- Saturday
729 1st Avenue
An Australian company that works with HAP Alaska – Yukon has requested another lunch option in Fairbanks, and the tour operator has responded by reinstating a select number of downtown lunch drops for the rest of this season to accommodate these guests.
Here’s the schedule for Scenic/Evergreeen lunch drops throughout August and September:
Approximate arrival: 12:15pm
Approximate departure: 1:30pm
8/3 1 coach
8/9 1 coach
8/30 1 coach
9/6 1 coach
9/13 2 coaches
9/14 1 coach
Though you may float the Chena in a canoe, kayak, or inner tube, you can never experience the river quite like a rubber duck during the annual Golden Days Rubber Duckie race, or a watercraft in the 15th Annual Red Green Regatta.
That’s why we’ve written our promotion of these events as a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure story, complete with parallel narratives depending on whether you fancy yourself a rubber duck or a duct taped watercraft.
Choose wisely- and proceed.
Chapter 1- ARRIVAL
If you picked a rubber duck- You arrive in downtown Fairbanks on Saturday, July 23rd tangled in a net with 5,999 of your closest friends. You soon find yourself suspended from Wendall Street Bridge awaiting your 2:30pm dump into the (freezing cold) Chena River. Accustomed to long months in a storage container, this is not how you typically spend a Saturday morning.
If you picked a Red Green Regatta vessel- You arrive at Graehl Landing in downtown Fairbanks on Sunday, July 24th around 10am for registration. Fellow watercraft are poised in trailers and pickup beds, looking intimidatingly swift and buoyant. Luckily, your own duct tape construction has been reinforced with inner tubes and milk jugs- both techniques stolen from last year’s crafty floaters.
Chapter 2- LAUNCH
If you’re a rubber duck- You plunge twenty feet into the frigid Chena waters, and come close to drowning as several hundred fellow contestants land atop you. Luckily, your rubber duck instincts help you pop up and stay afloat. Your beady-eye vision is too narrow to make out the thousands of spectators lining the banks and bridges, so all you see is a mass of bright yellow bobbing before you.
If you’re a Regatta vessel- Chaos ensues as launch time approaches, and your captain does a fair bit of elbowing to get you in the water- fast. The Regatta mantra of “It’s not a race- it’s about getting from one end to the other” seems to have escaped him. It seems your captain’s got a bit of a competitive edge in this annual “friend-raiser” for KUAC.
Chapter 3- THE FLOAT
If you’re a rubber duck- The Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce has marked you with a number to pair your placing in the race with a ticket holder, and thousands of dollars are at stake based on your performance. That said, you can only float so fast. So while the crowd’s jeers and cheers keep you plenty anxious and looking for breaks through which to maneuver with the best of plastic finesse, you’re not feeling particularly competitive.
If you’re a Regatta vessel- You’re cruising down the river, flag waving and duct tape holding strong, when a sudden collision with a makeshift pirate boat perched atop garbage cans leaves you springing a leak in your inner tube “hull.” Your captain is oblivious while he swordfights the pirates with a piece of PVC pipe he’s been using for a paddle. After a noticeable dip, he starts to unlash the faulty inner tube from the rest of the craft. You’ll have to make it to Pioneer Park -with thick crowds of people watching- on two tubes and a half dozen milk jugs.
Chapter 4- FINISH and TAKE OUT
If you’re a rubber duck- Nudging your way through a gap just before you pass under the Cushman St. bridge, you find yourself within stride of a first place finish. The ten duckies between you and the finish line are in close range. A lucky push by a sudden wave plops you down in front just as the course funnels to a close, making you the 2011 winner of the Golden Days Rubber Duckie Race. You can hardly believe it when you’re plucked out of the water to cries of “FIRST PLACE!”
If you’re a Regatta vessel- Paddle though he might, your captain and his PVC pipe can’t keep up with the best of ‘em, and you finish behind a collection of ragtag ruffians including pair of couches and a cardboard kayak adorned with floaties. Real prizes are awarded based on flair, though, and not order of finish. Your captain struggles to pull you ashore and falls back to rest on the bank after heaving you up to the Pioneer Park take-out.
Chapter 5- PRIZE CEREMONY
If you’re a rubber duck- Excitement abounds for your first place finish as you’re tossed up and around to have your number checked, double checked, and recorded. The ticket holder who matches that number will soon be privy to $10,000 and the rubber duck glory will be yours for the next year. Which seems pretty fair to you- you can’t think of a single thing you would buy with $10,000.
If you’re a Regatta vessel- Your position on the bank of the Chena is the best place to watch the other vessels float in. Once all are accounted for, spectators assemble for the awards ranging from a canoe to assorted items from Compeau’s. More colorful prizes are also handed out for “Best Viewed from a Distance” and “Judge’s Choice.” You and your captain don’t claim any winnings this year, but look forward to another round of the Regatta in 2012.
Don’t miss either of these spectacular events- and the stories that follow- this weekend during the 2011 Golden Days celebration in downtown Fairbanks!
Click here for a full schedule of downtown Golden Days events.
Picture from Traveling with Andrew and Jennifer