Letter to Editor on Golden Days Problems
Golden Days Jail
March 24, 2002
To the editor:
Wayne Campbell stated in a News-Miner article, March 3, due to a lack of community support the Fairbanks Golden Heart Dancers would not be manning the Golden Day's mobile jails.
Lack of support, every city in Alaska loves the arrest warrants, the fine wheel and the loud blast of guns that shatter ears. Other cities know that visitors have departed Fairbanks in haste, due to the antics associated with the G.D. jail and spent visitor dollars in their cities. Quoting Mr. Campbell, "In the old days, businesses would dress up, decorate, have contests, pay wages and give workers half days off, to man the jail."
The word "apathy" appears in the article. I think the term should be "Fairbanks fed up." The old days that Campbell refers to, must be the time when we had only a downtown area. In the middle 1960s, you wore a costume or had a beard, if not, you bought a permit that kept you from jail. Now, the Chamber $5 warrants can get you tossed in jail no matter how dressed up you are. The jail brings in $20,000 according to the chamber. Why, if Golden Days is suppose to be a fun, community event manned by volunteers does the jail have to make any money?
G.D.'s used to raffle off a new car to raise money and you had chance to win something instead of jail time.
There is a long history with the Golden Days Jail. Women were introduced in the mid-'60s, because the prior marshals were manhandling people who didn't want to spend time in the jail that was anchored on a Second Avenue sidewalk.
Costumes then, as now, have been a sore subject. The Pioneers have said many times this is not a Wild West celebration. At other Alaska celebrations, they wear the costumes of Alaska, at the turn of the century. The ladies costumes belong in a dance hall, not on the streets.
Want Golden Days's to continue with costumes, beards, decorations, and parades worth watching, then take the dollar signs out and replace them with one word, FUN!
Reprinted from the March 30, 2002 edition of the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner.