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.
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.
In Fairbanks, ice art is not only remarkable, but common place during the winter months. The World Ice art Championships, held late February through March, is one of the largest art exhibitions in the world and boasts over 80 exquisite ice sculptures created by international carvers from faraway places. Another ice event in Fairbanks is the International Ice Art Classic that also features numerous ice sculptures, ice slides, and an extensive ice playground. Ice art sculptures vary each year and never cease to capture both the mind and the imagination.
For more than 15 years, 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.
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, including along the edge of Creamer’s Field, the Tanana Valley State Fairgrounds and 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, and live music. It's open to the public and a fantastic way to mingle with the locals.