The 2012 Iron Dog is back and ready to traverse 2,000 miles by snow machine from Big Lake, AK to downtown Fairbanks. Iron Dog teams look forward to another exhilarating sprint to the Chena River, and race fans in Fairbanks have the best seats in the house for a world-class finish.
“We hope to be there on time this year,” jokes Kevin Kastner, Executive Director, after heavy snow and stormy weather caused several delays in the 2011 race.
This year’s Pro Class Finish is scheduled for 1:00pm on Saturday, February 25th. This time is approximate, and race fans should check the Iron Dog website as GPS trackers help form a close estimate of arrival times for all teams. The race finish will be broadcast on Channel 2 KTUU through television and the KTUU website.
New for this year is the Iron Dog raffle, a fundraiser for a program called Alaska’s Healing Hearts that serves Alaska veterans. The grand prize drawing will take place in conjunction with the Iron Dog finish on the Chena River. Five winners will be drawn just before the first team arrives, receiving prizes like a 2012 Polaris Rush PRO R 600, a Hawaiian vacation for two, and a year’s supply of NOS energy drinks.
The grand prize winner scores a 2012 Toyota Tundra and will be announced right after the first team cruises past the finish line. You don’t have to be present to win, but it’s much better if you are. Tickets ($60; only 2,000 available) will be sold at race headquarters at the Marriott Hotel on 1st Avenue until noon on Saturday. Fans can also call (907)563-4414 to purchase tickets.
Kevin encourages race enthusiasts to use the Iron Dog Facebook page to post videos, photos, stories, or ask questions about the race, though he cautions recreational users to avoid the river on Saturday for their safety and the safety of competitors.
Just like in years past, the Iron Dog and Tired Iron take place at the same time, allowing snow machine enthusiasts to enjoy both events simultaneously.
“We’re tied together with the Tired Iron so there will be a little racing to watch before we start that morning,” Kevin points out. Just after the Iron Dog finish, the “Wired Iron” races for kids on 120cc sleds will heat up – making for a full day of snow machine guts and glory.
2012 TIRED IRON
The Tired Iron is a series of races for sled heads who prefer “throwback” models crafted before 1980. This year, races are schedule for Saturday, February 25th from 10:00am-3:00pm and Sunday, February 26th from 11am-3:30pm.
The Tired Iron has a reputation for being a bit more… irreverent… than most races. Race divisions include the Jurassic Classic, a ride “intended for sleds no faster than 25 MPH, and for drivers that still have their faculties, but not necessarily their original teeth, hips, or knees,” as stated in the official rules. The Wet Iron and Fun Run, for liquid and air cooled sleds respectively, follow a 24-mile river track and are two of the most popular.
“The Classic and the Wet Iron are getting very competitive. The most popular is the Fun Run because normal people get to get out and ride,” David comments.
Speaking of friendly competition, David says rivalries continue to grow among old-timers who have competed in Tired Iron for years. One race veteran, Urban Rahol, recently traveled to Michigan just to pick up a 1965 Polaris sled for the race. He drove it back to Fairbanks in the bed of his truck.
David chuckles while remembering a recent conversation amongst competitors, “I heard one 90+ guy about the other 90+ guy say, ‘I’m cleaning his clock this year.'”
Tired Iron is one of the most family-friendly events in downtown Fairbanks, due in large part to the dozens of contests and activities hosted on the river between races. New games include Human Moose Turd Bowling, in which contestants slide down an ice track in a saucer to knock down brown bowling pins. In another new event, a portable restroom with door removed will serve as the target for a wedge shot with a golf club, and extra points go to anyone who makes it in the urinal. A Mini-Arctic Man competition for kids simulates the big race with a short ski down a small ramp, a hookup to a snow machine, and three loops around a circle at the center of the river for the grand prize.
Alaska BBQ Association hosts the Alaska BRRRRBQ on Saturday, February 25th in the courthouse parking lot at the corner of 1st Avenue and Lacey Street. Teams are invited to compete for the best pork ribs and/or chicken BBQ.
WHERE TO PARK?
Parking is available in the lots at Immaculate Conception Church, The Big I Pub & Lounge, the courthouse, Mt. McKinley Bank, and in the parking garage with entrance on 3rd Avenue. On-street parking is also available, and fans are welcome to use the Sadler’s parking lot on Cushman Street if others are full.
Saturday, February 25th 10:00am- 3:00pm
Sunday, February 26th 11:00am- 3:30pm
One day before the start of the Yukon Quest, downtown starts the party early with a full-bodied shot of art
istic expression in the heart of the city! This month, listen to a traditional Japanese drum performance and view charcoal illustrations of world travels along with handmade snowshoes and fur clothing. Admire bright, bold strokes that harness the energy and joy of a dog team while learning about the history of mushing in Fairbanks. Handle handmade Alaskan jewelry and ask an artist about his unusual medium of choice- painting with vodka, gin, and coffee. Stop into an open house for a tour of the historic former Courthouse building, with spaces available to rent. Make it a weekend downtown, and kick it off with First Friday in February!
“Nature Photography,” by Roger M. Marty @ Frank’s Menswear, 535 3rd Avenue
Tin Cup Designs by Kristin Summerlin @ Alaskan Gold Rush Fine Jewelry, 531 2nd Avenue
Handcrafted Jewelry Made in Alaska @ If Only… a fine store, 215 Cushman Street
Handmade Native Art @ Beads and Things , 137 2nd Avenue
“Lima, Oscar, Victor, Echo” @ Fairbanks Veterans Center, 540 4th Avenue, Suite 100
New Artists @ Gallery 49, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 103
Laura Nutter @ Fox Realty, 1121 1st Avenue
Iris J.W. Sutton, Color of Winter @ Fairbanks Community Museum, 410 Cushman Street
ReUse, RePurpose, ReCreate @ Lady Lee’s Bath House Emporium, 825 1st Avenue
Amanda Gecas, Laura Sample & George Yaska @ Morris Thompson Center, 101 Dunkle Avenue
Yelena Petkova & Music by Michela Miller @ Chartreuse, 729 1st Avenue
Gramma Nanook’s First Friday Art Show @ Julia’s Solstice Café, 206 Driveway Street
Winter Flavors @ Alana’s Espresso Escape, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 101
Open House @ Courthouse Square
Explore Alaska: Jujiro Wada @ Morris Thompson Center, 101 Dunkle Avenue
Clarence Pate Project @ Gambardella’s Pasta Bella
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
Hear ye, hear ye! It’s time for the 2012 Yukon Quest, the epic 1,000-mile test of strength, willpower, and bootie warmth for 24 brave dog teams and their mushers. The race kicks off at 11am on Saturday, February 4th on the Chena River in downtown Fairbanks. Here’s the breakdown of the weekend’s fanfare for “the world’s toughest sled dog race.”
DOWNTOWN EVENT SCHEDULE
Wednesday, February 1st
5:00PM – The downtown party vamps up with the 2012 Start and Draw Banquet at the Westmark Hotel & Conference Center. A $60 ticket includes a buffet dinner, music, and a chance to mingle with the teams. Mushers will draw their place at the start line amidst an atmosphere of electrical anticipation. Purchase tickets at the Yukon Quest cabin on 1st Avenue or by calling (907)452-7954.
Friday, February 3rd
3:00-5:00PM – Tune into KSUA 91.5 FM College (stream live from the website) for The Downtowner radio show, featuring special guest Iris J.W. Sutton, the artistic genius behind the official 2012 Yukon Quest poster and a former Quest competitor. She’ll tell us what it’s like to run the Quest, describe the inspiration for her poster design, and talk about the pieces on display for her “Color of Winter” First Friday show at the Fairbanks Community Museum.
5:00-8:00PM – A stellar First Friday includes exhibits and activities themed around the Yukon Quest. The Alaska Public Lands Information Center presents a panel lecture at 7PM from the Alaska Historical Society about Jujiro Wada (a Japanese immigrant) titled “Blazing the Yukon Quest Trail, 1902″ as part of the Explore Alaska lecture series at the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center. Learn about Jujiro’s adventures through Alaska in the late 1800s and check out the craftsmanship of Amanda Gecas of Boundary Fur Sewing, an avid musher who makes clothing and gear that is toasty enough for the trail.
Fairbanks Community Museum debuts “Color of Winter” by Iris J.W. Sutton who designed the official 2012 poster for the Yukon Quest. Bold, colorful brushstrokes on oversized canvas bring subjects to life including a dog team painted in primary colors that emit a radiance of energy and warmth. The museum also houses exhibits on the history of dog mushing in Interior Alaska.
9:00PM – After First Friday, join us for karaoke at Big Daddy’s BBQ for the first time at this location!
Saturday, February 4th
8:00AM – Gear up with a hearty breakfast provided by the Farthest North Elks Lodge with all proceeds benefitting the Yukon Quest. Pancakes will be served up hot off the griddle at 8am and $10 will get you a plate (free for kids 6 and under).
10:30AM – Lavelle’s Bistro open for brats and beer in honor of the Yukon Quest! Open all day and switches to regular menu at 4:30pm, just in time for the YQ300 start.
11:00AM – 2012 YUKON QUEST OFFICIAL START TIME – Watch 24 teams take their first brisk steps toward Whitehorse. Line the Chena River on both banks and pack the bridges to catch a glimpse of Lance Mackey, Hugh Neff, Brent Sass, Mike Ellis, and an eager group of rookies as they mush forth into the great white wilderness.
5:00PM – 11 teams will start their run for the Yukon Quest 300 from the same location on the river. This is a chance for mushers to get a taste of the Quest trail without going all the way to Whitehorse, and they can qualify for future Yukon Quests or the Iditarod.
All Day – Dog mushing products are 20% off at Arctic Traveler’s Gift Shop on Saturday in honor of the race, patrons will receive 15% off store-wide at the Fairbanks Community Museum (except Ice Dogs merchandise) and Forget-Me-Not Books is having a buy one, get one free sale on chick lit so you can stock up for the rest of the winter. Julia’s Solstice Cafe serves up delicious Diving Duck coffee on the house with purchase of breakfast or lunch.
Many businesses will be open during the Quest start and welcome fans and visitors to stop in to warm up! Those closest to the river include The Big I Pub & Lounge, the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center, The Fudge Pot, Arctic Traveler’s Gift Shop, Lavelle’s Bistro, l’assiette de Pomegranate, and the Co-Op Plaza (home to the Co-Op Diner, brand new Gallery 49, and Alana’s Espresso Escape).
WHERE TO PARK ON SATURDAY
With thousands of people descending on downtown Fairbanks for the start of the Yukon Quest, it’s important to come with a parking plan in mind. Lots closest to the river will fill up fast – including those at the Big I, Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center, the courthouse on 1st Ave, and Immaculate Conception Church. The borough parking lot (and plug-ins) will be available for use and Graehl Landing has limited spaces.
Two of the best bets for guaranteed downtown parking within easy walking distance of the Quest start include Sadler’s parking lot on Cushman Street and the parking garage with entrance on 3rd Avenue.
SUPPORT THE QUEST
A race of this magnitude can’t happen without volunteers, corporate sponsors, and individual contributors. You can do your part to ensure the future of this great race by “sponsoring” one mile of the trail. Pick a number between 1-1,000 that is significant to you (a birthday, anniversary, or lucky number) and register your name as the official sponsor of this segment. It’s only $10 and you’ll receive a keepsake button with the mile of your choice. Call the Quest office or stop into the cabin on 1st Ave to contribute.
The Quest has a fabulous line of 2012 gear and memorabilia in the log cabin on 1st Avenue, and Saturday is a perfect time to stop in and pick up clothing, race posters, pins, patches, artwork, and stuffed sled dogs complete with a harness!
Glimpse into spaces available for rent in the historic Courthouse Square during an open house this First Friday with Coldwell Banker. Tour three floors of the building and peek into corners and rooms that are usually closed off to the public, from a hidden movie theatre to a penthouse office suite. The knowledgeable staff of Coldwell will lead you through Fairbanks history and maybe even into a new corner office during this insightful addition to First Friday. Whether you’re in the market for space or not, Fairbanksans are free to drop in to warm up, stroll the corridors, view commemorative photos and plaques, and marvel at the grandeur and beauty of this 1930s structure.
Courthouse Square has been called “(Judge) Wickersham’s greatest gift to Fairbanks” ever since he relocated his main district court to Fairbanks, gifting the burgeoning town a place of prominence in the young territory. The courthouse was built and burnt twice before its current form, finished in 1934, was able to stand the test of time. It was the first concrete building in Alaska, which was the topic of some controversy during a time when the extreme cold of Fairbanks was thought to turn concrete (a fairly new construction material) to crumbs.
Courthouse Square houses beautiful marble floors and restroom stalls, wood pilasters, and the first (still operative) elevator in Fairbanks. Many suites contain relics of the building’s former life as a post office, jail, and court of law including bronze postal boxes and reinforced walk-in safes. Current tenants make their living as lawyers, psychiatrists, and staff of the Fairbanks Amateur Hockey Association.
All common areas and three private spaces will be open to the public on First Friday in a rare opportunity to discover the ornate and impressive attributes of this downtown landmark.
AN UNDERGROUND LAIR – SUITE 1A
Occupying nearly half the full basement, this is the former home of Alaska Public Lands Information Center (now at the Morris Thompson Cultural & Visitors Center). Twelve thick, white columns provide the only visual or physical break in the open floor space of this cavernous underground lair. Recessed lighting makes practical use of the low ceilings while brightening up corners and wall space. A theatre tucked into the center of the building features a screen and 35 upholstered chairs in sloped seating alongside a handicap accessible viewing platform. This is the only section of the building with two private entrances in addition to the front doors. The Downtown Association of Fairbanks dressed up this space for our annual meeting a few years ago, and can testify to its incredible potential.
A CORNER SUITE ON THE STREET – SUITE 2D
Enter the front door, climb the wide stairs up to the main lobby, and take an immediate right –you’ve walked fewer than twenty steps from the intersection of two downtown thoroughfares and are standing in front of the heavy, dark doors and decorative black ironwork grate of corner Suite 2D. The doors open into a private lobby at the center of seven mid-sized rooms with one restroom. Stately bluebell carpet softens the formal charcoal trim and white paint. A jet black safe from 1932, still bearing a seal from the Diebold Safe & Lock Co. stand tall in one room. Daylight streams in through every window and street bustle is visible on both 2nd Avenue and Cushman Street from most rooms. This suite is the definition of dignified elegance right at the heart of downtown Fairbanks.
THE GOLDEN PENTHOUSE – SUITE 4H
A maze-like fourth floor penthouse, this 6-room suite has a hidden secret. A front lobby and corridor open up into a magnificent parlor. The ceilings rise high with golden tiles and dropped fixtures that give an immediate impression of great depth and romance. Turn back to the reception area with a large curved built-in lilac counter and ample cabinetry. Additional rooms offer space for staff, storage, conference tables, or exam rooms. With over 2,100 square feet, this space is particularly large and grandiose. You’ll find original embellishments and flair in the labyrinth of rooms and halls.
Join Coldwell Banker for a First Friday to remember by touring vacant spaces in the Courthouse Square. If you aren’t able to make it to First Friday but would like to schedule an appointment to view spaces at another time, contact Coldwell Banker at the number listed below.
Friday, February 3rd 5: 00pm-8:00pm
Cushman Street & 2nd Avenue
This year, we’re asking professional and amateur designers in the Fairbanks community to submit a logo that represents the beauty and brilliance of summer solstice in Alaska. The festival logo is worn on t-shirts, printed on marketing materials, and displayed by media outlets.
All submissions must be received by February 22nd, 2012. We’ll post our favorites on the Facebook page of the Downtown Association of Fairbanks and the general public will have an opportunity to vote on the top designs. Logos will be printed on t-shirts for a First Friday show at Chartreuse in March and the winner will be chosen by popular vote from Facebook and at First Friday.
Click here for full list of rules and to submit a logo!
Multiple entries are welcome, but contestants must submit each design separately. Companies may also participate and will receive a sponsorship package equivalent to or greater than the individual cash prize if their design is chosen. Self-employed graphic artists may choose the cash prize or sponsorship package.
Midnight Sun Festival Logo Contest Grand Prize
- $250 cash prize OR (for a company submission) a $500 equivalent sponsorship. The sponsorship package includes company name in the Midnight Sun Festival event guide, on a light post banner, on event sandwich boards, and at downtownfairbanks.com, plus banner space on a stage.
- Winner will have their design on all Midnight Sun Festival promotional materials including over 1,200 T-shirts, 25 light pole banners, posters, and
marketing collateral. The Downtown Association of Fairbanks will use the winner’s name in press releases, website and newsletter articles, Facebook, and other media.
- Winner will recieve 5 Midnight Sun Festival T-Shirts ($100 value).
- Logo MUST be original and incorporate the Midnight Sun, elements of downtown Fairbanks and the text “Midnight Sun Festival 2012”and “Downtown Fairbanks, Alaska”
- Designs may have a maximum of four (4) colors.
- Logos must be submitted as an ai, eps or high quality jpg.
- Deadline for entries is 5pm on February 22nd.
The 2012 Midnight Sun Festival will be held on Sunday, June 24th, 2012. If you have questions- please give us a call at the number listed below.
“Closet Artists” is a chance for the gallery to bring in fresh, new pieces from a wide variety of community members, and for amateur artists to exhibit their work in a professional gallery, often for the first time. The idea began as a way to mix up the cooperatively-owned gallery’s composition during January when business is often slow, says Gallery Manager Ken Kokjer.
Last year’s rendition was tremendously successful, with 75 pieces exhibited from 20+ artists. The owners of Co-Op Arts (also on Facebook) decided to make it an annual event soon after.
Pieces have already begun pouring in for the First Friday show on January 6th, which owners expect to grow in size and submissions from last year.
Julene Lowdermilk submitted the above photograph, titled “Just Because,” for what will be her debut exhibit after years of taking photos as a hobby. She was coaxed into submitting four pieces by a close friend.
“I’ve taken photos for a long time and I usually think I’m the only one who likes them,” Julene admits. “I worked in the art department at UAF for eight years but didn’t take a single class,” because she fretted that her work wasn’t good enough.
Julene’s story of this photograph shows how creative and passionate Closet Artists can prove to be.
“I had received some flowers and to be honest, I don’t even remember why—if it was a special occasion or what—but I have a fetish for taking photos of flowers. I like to try different things, like taking photos of the inside or just part of the flower,” Julene describes. She says the black backdrop of this photo is a refrigerator that used to be in her home.
“I’m born and raised in Fairbanks and the Co-Op (Plaza) has been here as long as I have, so it’s pretty cool to have my first show there,” Julene adds.
Fairbanksans can submit up to five pieces of artwork in any medium and must include a $5 entry fee per submission along with the gallery’s online entry form. The final chance to submit work is today from noon- 5:30pm. All ages, experience levels, and mediums are welcome. Last year’s show featured acrylic, watercolor, ceramics, fused glass, wire form, photography, and a diorama made from found materials. Show-goers select a “People’s Choice” winner, whose work is showcased in the gallery for two weeks.
“We encourage people to bring all their cousins and family (to the show) and stuff the ballot box,” Ken jokes.
Closet Artists will be on display at Co-Op Arts for at least a week, but First Friday is the best time to check it out so that you can cast your vote, get first dibs on any piece you’d like to purchase, and hit other exhibits on the downtown art circuit. Not all pieces will be for sale (that decision is up to the artist), but Ken says several pieces did sell in last year’s show.
Ken also says the gallery is always looking for new talent, and the Closet Artists show might spark relationships that bring permanent new artists into the Co-Op Arts rotation.
Friday, January 6th (2012) 5:00pm-8:00pm
535 2nd Avenue, Suite 103
A frigid First Friday it will be, but the exhibits set to debut this January in downtown Fairbanks will mak
e your chilly trek to the core well worth it! Consult with the experts and learn how to remake and reuse those lovingly worn household items and one-of-a-kind antiques. Cast your vote for “People’s Choice” at an art gallery that has opened its walls to the undiscovered talent of Fairbanks, featuring pieces submitted by community members in an annual “Closet Artists” show. Try Tai Chi on for size, an ancient art that will have you on the fast track to keeping that New Year’s resolution to improve your health. Snowflake lights adorn the streets, and take a special detour alongside Golden Heart Plaza and across Cushman Street Bridge to see the twinkling holiday lights and characters who brighten one of the darkest months of the year.
Colleen Sackinger Photos @ Fairbanks Community Museum, 410 Cushman Street
Houston Llew @ If Only… a fine store, 215 Cushman Street
Re-purposing “Junk” to Usable Treasures @ Lady Lee’s Bath House Emporium, 825 1st Avenue
Mixed Show @ Chartreuse, 729 1st Avenue
Tin Cup Designs by Kristin Summerlin @ Alaskan Gold Rush Fine Jewelry, 531 2nd Avenue
Open House & Free Class @ Taoist Tai Chi Society, 407 1st Avenue, Suite 219
Winter Beads @ Beads and Things, 537 2nd Avenue
Closet Artists @ Co-Op Arts 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 103
Alana’s Winter Escape @ Alana’s Espresso Escape, 535 2nd Avenue, Suite 101
After First Friday
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
Downtown revitalization can’t happen without community support and sponsorship dollars, and the Downtown Association relies on generous companies, organizations, and philanthropists to make downtown Fairbanks a happenin’ place all year long.
Alyeska Pipeline Service Company has a long record of supporting winter solstice activities in downtown Fairbanks, and 2011 was no exception.
The Alyeska Pipeline 21 Days of Solstice counted down from Dec. 1st until the darkest day of the year, spreading holiday cheer with over $3,000 in downtown prizes and information on dozens of businesses and special events. Alyeska Pipeline provided the title sponsorship for this campaign, which included a grand prize giveaway valued at $650, a Senior Day with food and music at Golden Towers, marketing materials, and a series of safety tips for both business owners and the general public.
Alyseka Pipeline’s corporate consciousness helped shape the campaign, adding emphasis on safety during the holidays. Alyeska Pipeline also pays close attention to the welfare of elderly Fairbanksans, resulting in a Senior Day at Golden Towers Retirement Homes. We appreciate Alyeska Pipeline’s input, as the company always plays an active sponsorship role by providing program feedback and suggestions. Alyeska Pipeline also appreciated new strategies for creating more traffic in local downtown businesses that underscored major changes to the Winter Solstice Festival.
Alyeska Pipeline’s commitment to downtown is backed by their corporate philosophy. As stated on their website, “Philanthropy is vital to Alyeska’s mission, putting into practice the company’s desire to be an outstanding corporate citizen.” Building downtown spirit, growing great public spaces, and aiding small businesses also increases the appeal of Fairbanks as a place to live and work for the company’s many employees and contractors.
The Downtown Association of Fairbanks would like to extend a huge thank you to Alyeska Pipeline Service Company for their generous contribution to downtown improvements, and for being the title sponsor of the Alyeska Pipeline 21 Days of Solstice!
The Clean Team that keeps downtown’s sidewalks cleared of various messes and snow in a defined area downtown got a boost in the budget the City Council passed on December 12, 2011. Without funds to operate, the Clean Team would have dissolved had not the City Council voted unanimously to partially fund the Clean Team for $50,000 in 2012. The one-time appropriation sponsored by Council member Vivian Stiver comes from the city’s general fund and was moved from the $200,000 the Mayor had requested for abatements. (The $150,000 remaining for abatements is a sizeable commitment to that use, equaling actual abatement expenditures in 2010 and 2011.) The City’s 2012 budget also contained a general fund appropriation for the Community Service Patrol. This was the City’s second $50,000 contribution to the CSP in as many years; funding is expected to continue through 2014 if the CSP is able to match the City’s contribution.
In a related development, Council member Stiver circulated by hand delivery a draft resolution to form an ad hoc committee to study the formation of a local improvement district downtown to provide funding for the Clean Team and the Community Service Patrol. The committee would be comprised of four property owners in the downtown area, two business owners in the downtown area, one resident in the downtown area, and one council member to serve as the non-voting chair of the committee.
Did you know you can find hand-twisted candy canes, bright natural pastas colored with beets and squid ink, and cucumber wasabi dip at If Only… a Fine Store on Cushman Street?
And this holiday season, you can win a basket of the most coveted treats in their collection or a gift certificate during the Alyeska 21 Days of Solstice.
If Only… a Fine Store has debuted their annual line of specialty foods and some of the hottest (tastiest) products are going fast. Cocktail stirrers are a big hit this year, as are buttery caramels, dark chocolate bark, and artisanal crackers.
“We really look for quality product. We pay attention to ingredients,” says Georjean Seeliger, co-owner with Rebecca Morse. Each product has been tested for visual appeal, vendor integrity, and that “Wow” flavor factor.
Kosher, gluten-free, natural, and organic products are a big part of the 2011 mix as well as hard-to-find items like vanilla beans, bitters, vinegars, and spices (powdered jalapeno, anyone?).
“All of the balsamics we have are put in an oak cask and get their color through time. They’re aged—they don’t get color through additives,” Georjean points out. One of the fine oils she carries, Colheita Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil from Portugal, was named among the 2010 Top 200 Olive Oils Worldwide.
Georjean and Rebecca take pride in offering items that can be bought as personal treats, but also make great gifts.
As a gift to loyal customers, If Only… a Fine Store is offering a chance to win a basket of specialty foods for those who mention both “Specialty Foods” and “21 Days of Solstice” to the cashier when shopping in the store.
Stop in before noon on December 24th and your name will be entered into a drawing for each visit (where to park? look here.) On Christmas Eve, a lucky winner will pick up a basket of pastas, soups, spices, mustards, candies, and dips to share with family and friends.
Get a taste (har, har) of the selection and flavors now available at If Only… a Fine Store with the following products, diligently tested and reviewed by DTA staffers. (We love our jobs.)
- Classy Delites Pistachio Roasted Pepper Dip ($9.50 for 12 oz.) A favorite of both Kara and David. Comparable to guacamole but with a peppery kick. The label says “Wild Taste, Tame Heat.” We had it on crackers, but dipping white corn tortilla chips in it would taste even better.
- Dave’s Gourmet Butternut Squash Pasta Sauce ($12.75 for 25.5 oz.) Made from squash in Oregon and delicious with garlic, onions, and roasted red pepper. Georjean recommends pouring it over tortellini and ravioli, or mixing into lasagna.
- O Blood Orange Kalamata Olives & Capers ($15 for 8.4 oz) A citrus-y take on traditional olive spread, the orange olive oil brightens up the black olives in this chunky tapenade. Amy loves the rich, bold flavor and recommends a “less is more” approach when spreading atop crackers or breads.
- Elki Sundried Tomato Savory Crackers ($4.25 for 5.3 oz) Light and flaky with a buttery sweetness. The texture and ridges make it perfect for dips and spreads. David was a big fan, and is happy to munch on these sans toppings.
- B.T. McElrath Peppermint Buttercreams ($11 for 5-piece set) or “Salty Dog Bites” ($0.95 each) Crafted by a chocolatier with a passion for dark and delicious sweets and an eco-friendly conscience (does it get any better than that?) From milk to dark and mixed with holiday flavors like toffee and cranberry, every B.T. McElrath product is handcrafted to perfection. Plus- “I’ve met BT. He’s a very nice guy,” Georjean attests.
- Hammond’s Twist Lollipops and All Natural Candy Canes ($3.25 to $4 apiece) are hand-spun and make great stocking stuffers. Hammond’s is “a great traditional candy company,” describes Rebecca. Lollipops of red, white, or green swirls and thick candy canes in flavors like mint, butterscotch, cherry, apple pie, and cinnamon are now available.
Is your mouth watering yet? Throughout the Alyeska 21 Days of Solstice (Dec. 1-21st), Martha of If Only… a Fine Store will share a specialty food of the day (today it’s pasta!) in her online diary. She will provide insights, suggest pairings, and reveal recipes developed in-house. Like If Only… a Fine Store on Facebook to stay in the loop on Martha’s posts.
Need even more chances to test out a few of these tasty items? If Only… a Fine Store is sponsoring a giveaway for the Alyeska 21 Days of Solstice. Check the facebook page of the Downtown Association of Fairbanks on Wednesday, December 7th and follow the instructions to win.
If Only.. a Fine Store
215 Cushman Street