Midnight Sun Events
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Celebrate the Midnight Sunmidnight sun events

Introduction|Midnight Sun Soccer Tourney|Midnight Sun Baseball Game|Midnight Sun Fun Run|Midnight Sun Dances|Yukon 800 Riverboat Race|Midnight Sun Festival|Chatanika Music Festival|View the Midnight Sun|Shopping Under the Midnight Sun|

Activities Abound to Celebrate the Midnight Sun. 

No one sleeps during the Summer Solstice. (Actually, we try not to sleep much all summer - we have to cram in all the fun we can before winter!)

Summer solstice celebration begins during the third week in June although the actual solstice is not until June 21.

Those who enjoy "spectator sports" can see a midnight baseball game played with no artificial lights, only the light of the "Midnight Sun." Or, if you prefer to participate, you can take a midnight run or play a round of golf. Fairbanks has all of these if you can stay awake.

"A combination picnic, campout, and tailgate party" the News-Miner calls the small, impromptu, informal party held every year on a mountain top north of Fairbanks. Eagle Summit is the spot, 107 miles up the Steese Highway. It is a good place to set up your camera and tripod to take multiple exposures as the sun moves slowly across the horizon, never quite touching the Crazy Mountains in the distance.

June 21 marks the halfway point for summer and the beginning of our descent into another winter, so we use this time to celebrate warm weather while we can. Here are a few of the events that usually happen. Chances are, most will occur this year as well. See the event calendar for updates (When we have time and information!). Just in case, here is the official site for it - you can check there for yearly updates.

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The Midnight Sun Baseball Game

This one of Fairbanks oldest traditions. It features the local semi-pro baseball team, the Alaska Goldpanners, a club from which has come such former major leaguers as Dave Winfield, Tom Seaver and Graig Nettles.

The first Midnight Sun game was played in 1906. The News-Miner wouldn't give free publicity to the teams' sponsors so the competing squads were identified to readers as "The Drinks" and "The Smokes."

The annual game is occasionally moved to accommodate the weather. Sunset begins to the north when the game starts at 10:30 p.m. Before the end, the sun is back above the horizon.

We espect the annual midnight sun game will be held on Sunday, June 19, 2011 starting at 10:30 pm. The game is at Growden Memorial Park.

Never once has artificial lighting been used for this event, and never has the game been postponed or delayed because of darkness. As best can be determined, the midnight classic originated in Fairbanks in 1906. Every year since it has become a ritual to play the game on the solstice.

The tradition was adopted by the Panners in 1960, their first season of operation. Through 1962, the Panners met the North of the Range All-Stars but, since 1963, a different opponent - usually from out of state - has been invited each year to participate in the symbolic event. 

As always, play will be stopped at the half-inning nearest midnight for the traditional singing of the Alaska Flag Song. Fairbanks City Clerk Nancy DeLeon, often a Midnight Sun Game entertainer, led the celebration of the Midnight Sun with the singing of the Alaska Flag Song last in 2001. She died that year and is sorely missed.

If you miss the Midnight Sun game, you can still catch the Goldpanners. They are scheduled to play 26 home games at Growden Field off Wilbur St. this summer. Games usually start at 7 p.m. For more information on their schedule, check out their website. Click here for a report on the 2000 game.

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Midnight Sun Fun Run

This annual run in 2009 was on Saturday, June 20, 2009, 10:00 PM from the UAF Patty Center to Pioneer Park (almost downtown). It starts on the Lower Campus, University of Alaska Fairbanks. It is America's farthest north 10k run, begins at 10 p.m. and is usually sponsored by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. We have a picture of it for you, courtesy of Julie Coghill.

This third-largest foot race in Alaska attracts more than 3,000 runners from around the state and the Lower 49. It has become a tradition of sorts among some participants to wear costumes, for which prizes are awarded (costumes are optional). The race starts at the University of Alaska Fairbanks Patty Center, winding through residential neighborhoods, and finishing at Pioneer Park (formerly Alaskaland). For further information, contact the Midnight Sun Fun Hotline at 452-6046, or call (907) 452-7211. You might also try the United Way Web Site.

2009 Fees
     $15 until June 10th
     $20 after June 10th
     $30 Race Day
Registration Closing Date, Thursday, June 18, 2009 @ 1:00 PM

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Midnight Sun Dances

Local square and round dancers celebrate the Midnight Sun with square and round dances at the Alaskaland Dance Center at Alaskaland. The first Midnight Sun Dance, sponsored by the Polar Promenaders, was held on June 18, 1966. The Polar Promenaders are inactive at the present time, so the tradition is being carried on by the Santa's Swingers Square and Round Dance Club. Admission usually $5 each night. For dates and times, see Music/Dance Calendar, or call (907) 479-4522.

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Yukon 800 Marathon Riverboat Race

Another highlight of Midnight Sun Weekend is the Yukon 800 riverboat race. Run on the Chena, Tanana, and Yukon Rivers, traveling through hundreds of miles of vast Alaskan wilderness, it is billed as the longest, roughest and toughest speed boat race in the world. It's an 800-mile race from Fairbanks to Galena and back. We think this year racers will leave Pike's Landing at 11 a.m. on June 2o, 2009 and, after an overnight stay in Galena, return to Fairbanks the following day. For more information, check out their site at http://www.yukon800.com.

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Midnight Sun Festival

Midnight Sun Festival-(6/20/10). Celebrating the longest day of the year with music, shopping, crafts, special entertainment, and a downtown street fair. Many stores stay open until midnight. Organizers claim over 30,000 participated in recent years. We find that hard to swallow, but it is still a big event and worth joining in. (907) 452-8671

In the past, a total of 40 bands and live acts have performed between noon and midnight in the parking lot between First and Second avenues, between Cushman and Lacey streets. There are over 180 booths of arts, crafts, merchandise, information, food, and fun! Skateboarding, face painting, xtreme car racing, paddler’s river slalom race, break dancing, pony rides, vintage motors, BBQ cook-off, gold panning, break dancing, celestial shopping, fabulous food and so much more! Expect Alaskan-made arts and crafts. In 1998, the music, food and family fun was followed by a parade at 6 p.m. featuring the Red Hackle Pipe Band and Chinese Ribbon Dancers.

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Chatanika Music Festival

Music lovers may want to consider a trip out the Steese Highway for the Chatanika Music Festival, the largest musical event in Interior Alaska. The three-day event is at the Chatanika Gold Camp at 27.5 Mile Steese Highway. Thirty local bands are scheduled to perform. Food and beverage vendors will be on hand. Rental cabins & campsites are available, and so are food and beverage vendors. Exact dates vary. For information, call 389-2414.

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View the Midnight Sun

If you would rather just view the Midnight Sun, or try your hand at photographing a sun that never sets, head out to Murphy Dome or Eagle Summit on the Steese Highway for a view of the Midnight Sun. Murphy Dome is located 25 miles outside of town and provides a spectacular view of the Chatanika River Valley and Minto Flats.

Weather permitting, Eagle Summit provides a clear view of the midnight sun. It's the highest point on the Steese Highway with an elevation of 3,624 feet. This spot also provides a view of the Chatanika River along with the Chena River State Recreation Area and a pair of favorite local resorts; Chena Hot Springs and Circle Hot Springs.

"Soaring into Solstice"

Eielson Air Force Base usually has an open house from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. featuring aerial demonstrations, displays of military personnel, & equipment. http://www.eielson.af.mil .

Shopping Under the Midnight Sun

And if you are a mall maniac, you can indulge your hobby Midnight Sun Weekend when stores stay open late. Enjoy the street fair downtown! Watch for ads in the newspaper.


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