Fur Rendezvous, Anchorage, Alaska,  1956

Fur Rendezvous, Anchorage, Alaska, 1956

The 78th Fur Rendezvous starts tomorrow in Anchorage, Alaska, and runs through March 3, 2013. The event started in 1935. I’d love to see the Outhouse races, Snowshoe Softball, Running of the Reindeer, Great Alaskan Bed Races, Snow Sculptures, Snowball Fight Tournament, Ice Bowling – and more!

My one and only time at the Fur Rendezvous was …a long time ago…..

Naomi, Ruby, Ruth Gaede

Naomi, Ruby, Ruth Gaede

(Excerpt from Alaska Bush Pilot Doctor)

Anchorage, Alaska 1956

As told by Elmer E. Gaede

“The Anchorage Fur Rendezvous, held in February, provided more entertainment. Originally a celebration when trappers came to sell their winter’s cache of furs, this annual, ten‑day cabin‑fever antidote attracted crowds of Natives and whites. The hustle and bustle of dogsled races, dog‑pull contests, snow‑shoe races, and fur auctions nearly shut down 5th Avenue. In one of the open lots there was a platform with hundreds of raw furs, sectioned off for red fox, white fox, mink, beaver, muskrat, lynx, and wolverine. ..

…. At the first of the Rendezvous, I bid on the red fox and got two for $5 each. The next day, some of the same quality of fox went up to $20 each. I was told that I did well to bid early since the furs usually sell low the first few days before the buying interest is up. Later, when the buying fever was aroused, the prices would go up.

When the furs were brought in from the cold and into a warm room The odor went up later, too. Some of the furs came from villages where they had been tanned in barrels of human urine… I learned that in fur selection, one needs to use both eyes and nose.”

Ruth and Naomi with fox skins

Ruth and Naomi with fox skins

(Excerpts from http://www.anchorage.net/articles/anchorage-fur-rendezvous)

Fan favorites, such as the Outhouse Races, always draw a crowd. Dog teams and their mushers complete three 25-mile loops over three days. One of the newest events is Yukigassen, a team snowball fight tournament that joined the lineup in 2011.

 Native culture is celebrated in many ways.

Blanket Toss at 1956 Fur Rendezvous

Blanket Toss at 1956 Fur Rendezvous

–        The Blanket Toss mimics the Alaska Native whaling tradition. Everyone can have a turn to either jump or grip the (walrus skin) blanket’s edge while tossing others as high as 20 feet into the air.

–       Arts and crafts are displayed.

–       Tribal regalia, customs and culture vary greatly between Alaska’s distinct Native cultures. The Multi-tribal Gathering celebrates their diversity, joining cultural performers and visual artists in a one-day extravaganza

Fur Rendezvous - 1956

Fur Rendezvous – 1956

 

Fur Rendezvous - 1956

Fur Rendezvous – 1956

For more information, including the schedule of events and travel specials, visit http://www.furrondy.net/ or

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