The Fur Rendezvous, or Fur Rondy as it is known by the locals, is an annual festival in Anchorage during the last week of February. Founded in the 1930’s, Rondy was initially a three day celebration which coincided with the return of the trappers and miners, who had goods to sell.
Now, Rondy is a ten day party that includes parades, a carnival (yes even in the snow), and a fur auction that has been a feature since the beginning. Oh, yes, there are also outhouse races. Apparently you strap a porta potty to skis and race it through town. Look people, we’re going on five months of winter! We are desperate for entertainment! I’ll have to feature that one next year.
The morning of the parade was cold and somehow the weather didn’t exactly say “celebrate” to me. But, since we were walking in the parade with the Anchorage Figure Skating Club, we were committed.
We actually really enjoyed searching for our group because we passed all of the parade entries. There were classic cars,
tricked out Jeeps (I guess that is parade worthy?),
and dogs, there are always dogs.
Finally, we found the Anchorage Figure Skating Club, and the girls were excited to get started! They also skated at an event later in the week, on an outdoor pond, more on that later.
We walked the parade route handing out free skate lesson coupons to the crowd. (I am teaching figure skating lessons again, and after three years off the ice, it’s been great to be involved again.) Ella said that being in a parade had always been a bucket list item for her. I hope it lived up to all her expectations.
At least we followed a jazz band, so we had music on the route. It was fun! We all enjoyed being out, even on a cold morning.
After the parade, we popped into the mall to warm up and grab a bite to eat. Then it was time for the World Championship Sled Dog races. This race began in 1946 and brings mushers from all over the world. The dogs absolutely love the race.
Speaking of dogs, reindeer dogs are always on the menu around here. I haven’t tried these yet, but I’ll let you know when I do.
And in honor of our time in Japan, a picture with a face cut-out sign. The Japanese LOVE these things!
Next, we wandered over to the main event, the fur auction. It looked like they had some pretty good customers in the audience. Check out the moose antlers that the man in front is carrying! Totally normal around these parts.
We really enjoyed watching the fur auction, and I finally asked the man next to us why someone would purchase this stuff. He said that it depends on the piece and if it is tanned or not. A tanned item can be made into clothing, untanned items are probably strictly for decoration. The foxes were tanned and went for close to $500 a piece.
Beaver for sale? Anyone? Slightly creepy, but they sold. I guess I’m not ready to embrace local decorating trends, yet.
With all of the fur, I halfway expected a protest of some sort. Not even one. Maybe because you’d have to deal with him? Just a guess.
This was a first. A winter carnival. Literally.
On our way out, Ella chose a lucky rabbit’s foot. I hope she wished for an early spring. Wishful thinking?
Later in the week, the girls performed with the Anchorage Figure Skating Club, on a frozen pond. All of the Fur Rondy royalty were there, too.
I even got to meet Lord Trapper! I asked how he won this title. He said that he found out someone nominated him, then he found out a few weeks later that he was picked. The grand prize? Making 100+ appearances in 10 days! Lucky! (But, he said he was having fun with it.)
It was an absolutely frigid day, at 13 degrees, but the girls were tough and did a great job.
Appropriately, they skated to Let it Go, from Frozen. I think they were all a little frozen by the end, as well. I know I was!
We had a great week at Fur Rondy, but the thing the struck me the most were the people. Here is a little glimpse of the faces of Rondy.
(He said this was his wife and child. Not sure how to take that…)
Typical transportation around the streets of Anchorage, and easier than a stroller!
Shrek and Fiona made the trip up.
This cute lady was thrilled that I asked for her picture.
So many interesting characters. As you can tell, we were severely underdressed.
And the lovely Miss Cama-i. Her coat was incredible!
I am really glad we braved the cold, and attended Fur Rendezvous. It was a fun week and we learned more about this unique place we call home. Next year, outhouse races!
Makes you proud to be an American. The frontier spirit still lives!