Winter, vast and pure is filled with celebrations and festive occasions. Most events are exclusive to Fairbanks and showcase snow and ice through sports and activities. Other winter happenings highlight artistic and cultural events.
Check out North Pole's holiday-themed fun. The six week Christmas in Ice event takes place at the Winter Ice Park and features a variety of ice sculpting competitions where huge blocks of ice are carved into holiday-themed ice sculptures. A quintessentially family-friendly event, Christmas in Ice also has a frosty playground crafted out if ice equipped with a fantastic ice maze, ice twirlers and ice slides. More holiday fun can be found the first weekend of December at North Pole’s Winterfest which includes a candle lighting ceremony, a holiday bazaar, fireworks and a community tree lighting ceremony.
Downtown Fairbanks comes alive on and around the winter solstice, December 21 — the day that heralds the return of the light. Featuring fireworks that can’t be seen in the summertime, musical and artistic events and shopping for handmade Alaskan items. Stroll the streets and view delightful holiday decorations and light posts enamored with charming, lit-up snowflakes.
Now in its 17th year, the Denali Winterfest offers loads of outdoor fun and educational events. Featuring dog sledding, a 5K race, snowshoeing, hiking, park ranger programs and more. This engaging community-oriented festival starts off with a potluck and ends with a chili feed and cake walk—small town charm in the heart of Denali National Park.
Step back in time and you will discover that people of the far north have been celebrating winter in March for many years. Created in 1934, the Winter Carnival features arts, dog mushing and ice sculpting events. Times may have changed a bit since the 1930s but the energy and excitement of Winter Carnival still remains. Imagine the Winter Carnival Queen sitting on her throne carved out of ice or a team of dogs streaming down the frozen Chena River. Look for events hosted by the Alaska Dog Mushers Association, Ice Alaska and the Fairbanks Arts Association during this energetic time period.
In what is called the oldest sled dog race series on the planet, the three-day ONAC is a treat to watch. Teams from all over the world arrive in Fairbanks with their teams of sprint dogs to race in two 20.9-mile heat and one 28.6 mile heat to win the coveted dog mushing title. There are plenty of places to watch the race teams in action along the course which runs along the Alaska Dog Mushers Association’s trails, and during its journey, moves along the edge of Creamer’s Field, goes past the Tanana Valley State Fairgrounds and streams through the Fairbanks Golf Course before returning to Mushers Hall on Farmers Loop Road.
Although the Fairbanks Curling Club hosts a variety of events — big and small — each year, the Fairbanks International Bonspiel provides curling competitors with an atmosphere unlike any other. For over 80 years, curling enthusiasts from all over the country and Canada descend on Fairbanks for three rockin' fun days. The event is themed, which means teams are encouraged to dress up as they curl around the clock. In addition to the fierce competition, it also a legendary party atmosphere with a full bar, DJs, live music. It's open to the public and a fantastic way to mingle with the locals.