Gigantic pumpkins at the state fair, an architectural tour of Anchorage by bike and more

By Anchorage Daily News

Updated: 4 days ago Published: 4 days ago

Alaska State Fair

Concerts — Celtic rockers Young Dubliners play at 7 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26, ($10). Indie band Dashboard Confessional at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 27 ($30-$40). Traditional country musician Jon Pardi plays at 7 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 ($40-$55). Classic psychedelic rock band The Guess Who are at 6 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29 ($25-$39). Christian pop/rock artist Zach Williams will be 7 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30 ($25-$35). See details and buy tickets for all concerts at

Giant pumpkin weigh-off — Will one of this year’s colossal squashes beat the state record of 2,051 pounds? Find out at 2 p.m. Monday, Aug. 30, at the Craig Taylor Farm Exhibit hall.

For a full schedule of events, visit the state fair site. $7-$15. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. through Monday, Sept. 6, (closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays) at the Palmer Fairgrounds (2075 Glenn Highway).

Bike Tour: Exploring the Complex Architecture of Alaska — Take a free tour via bike and learn about the building challenges and different architectural periods of Anchorage. Meet in front of the Anchorage Museum’s main entrance starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 26. Rain or shine. ( 625 C Street;

Hope wall mural project — Help Alaska artist Steve Gordon create a community mural downtown in a giant paint-by-numbers workshop. Experienced local artists will supervise 20 paint stations, which will be outfitted with all of the paint and materials needed. The mural pieces will be puzzled together and installed on the Halfling Building on the corner of Seventh Ave. and E St. in about two weeks.

Children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult. There will be a separate kids’ activity for children too young to paint a detailed mural design. 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 in Town Square Park. (Pre-registration is encouraged at

“Beat Back Bird Cherry” volunteer event — Join Anchorage Park Foundation in clearing bird cherry along the Chester Creek Trail. Also known as a chokecherry or Mayday tree, this is an invasive species that harms native wildlife and local vegetation. Safety vests and light snacks will be provided. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, at Valley of the Moon Park (see or Facebook for details).

Comedian Jessica Michelle Singleton — In addition to standup, Singleton hosts the popular podcasts “Ignorance is #Blessed” and “Two Filthy Nerds” and recently released a country music single that made it to the top 40 in the iTunes country charts. She’s back in her hometown of Anchorage and performing two shows this weekend. $20 plus fees. 7-9 p.m. and 9:30-11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28 at Koot’s (tickets at

Local music showcase — Medium Build, Bethlehem Shalom, Ed Washington and Jay Simmons will perform in one evening at Williwaw Social in downtown Anchorage. 7 p.m. Saturday Aug. 28. $5 cover. (609 F. Street; See Facebook for details)

Flower pressing workshop — Learn how to artfully preserve garden blooms and foliage through the practice of botanical pressing. Cost is $60-$70. 12-1:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28. at the Alaska Botanical Garden. (4601 Campbell Airstrip Road;

Aviation Hall of Fame gala — Ted Stevens, Bob and Marge Baker and Ronald C. Sheardown will be honored at a gala fundraiser for the Alaska Aviation Museum. $150. 6-10 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 28, at the downtown Marriott (820 W. Seventh Ave.). Tickets via

Friluftsliv for all — Sons of Norway is getting together a berry picking group Sunday, an event which particularly caught our eye because it introduced the term “friluftsliv.” A quick internet search promptly identifies this as a Norwegian expression that translates to “open-air living” (pronounced “free-loofts-liv”).

According to an article in the BBC, it’s a concept popularized by playwright Henrik Ibsen and refers to spending time in remote, outdoor places as a part of spiritual and physical well being (an interesting Scandinavian partner to the oh-so-buzzy Danish concept of “hyggy” coziness).

You can meet up with the Sons of Norway group at 2 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 29, at the parking area on the side of the road on Honey Bear Lane in Anchorage for the berry picking venture (see Facebook for directions and details), but be advised that parking is somewhat limited up there. Aside from any specific event, it’s a nice reminder that Alaska autumn is upon us — a wonderful time to embrace the friluftsliv life any time you can. (Sons of Norway invites social media users to tag #friluftslivak while you’re at it.)

— Victoria Barber, [email protected]