One of the top community events in all of Alaska kicks off this weekend in Palmer, as Colony Days takes over the downtown area with three days of activities.
Colony Days celebrates the Matanuska Colonist project, which relocated more than 200 families to the Palmer area from the Midwest as part of the New Deal under FDR. Those families helped establish Palmer as a farming community, and today, they are celebrated every year during the second week of June.
This year's event begins on Friday with an entire day of events. Friday Flings, Palmer's downtown outdoor market, runs throughout the day with food vendors, live music and booths selling Alaska made gifts and goods. The Carhartt Brothers take the stage at 11:30 a.m. From 1-4 p.m., there will be free kids activities in the Palmer Library parking lot, along with pony rides and a bungee trampoline. At 4 p.m., make your way to S. Valley Way and Elmwood Ave. for the ever-popular bed races - its a hilarious race in which team members push a a bed around an obstacle course in a timed event. The first evening winds down with a classic car and bike rally from 6-8:30 p.m., and the junior rodeo on the Alaska State Fairgrounds.
Saturday is jam-packed with events. Throughout the day, the Colony House Museum is hosting an open house, there will be vendors selling food and goods, there will be a display of antique farm equipment, a blood drive and lots of other events. At 11 a.m., the Colony Day Parade begins and winds throughout downtown Palmer. Other Saturday highlights include a tractor pull at 1 p.m., free kids activities and a reindeer petting, free flower kits and the egg toss. At 5 p.m., the Rodeo Alaska Champions Tour begins at the Grandstand on the Alaska State Fairgrounds. Following the rodeo, there will be a cowboy barn dance in the Farm Exhibits Building to finish off the day.
If you've eaten your way through Colony Days, work it off during the Bill Mitchell 5K Fun Run/Walk, which begins at 11 a.m. Saturday's day-long events continue on Sunday. At 1 p.m., the Rhubarb Recipe Contest is judged. Colony Days winds down with two events - the first ever Colony Days Street Dance featuring the Denali Cooks band from 1-5 p.m., and then the Rodeo Alaska Champions Tour at 2 p.m.
Grab the family and head to Palmer this weekend for three days of fun and good times!