This week marks the one-year-out mark until the Mat-Su Borough welcomes the world for the 2024 Arctic Winter Games. The Games take place March 10-16, 2024, and this Friday marks the official one-year-out date.

To celebrate the one-year-out mark, several events are taking place around the borough. On Thursday, March 9, a free screening of "The Arctics" will take place at the Wasilla Public Library, with a lasagna dinner. Seating is limited to the first 60 people. On Friday, it's a family-fun day at the MTA Events Center in Palmer. At noon, the public is invited for free ice skating, including rentals, along with a food truck and other festivities. At 1 p.m., a fund-raising "bed race" takes place.

If you miss the One Year Out celebration, make sure to stop by the Arctic Winter Games booth at the Mat-Su Outdoorsman Show, March 24-26, where you can pick up new Arctic Winter Games gear, learn about the games and how to volunteer.

The Arctic Winter Games bring together 2,000 athletes from eight delegations around the circumpolar world, from as far away as Scandinavia and Greenland. These young athletes compete in 20 different sports, from ice hockey to gymnastics, along with traditional games like the one-foot high kick and "snow snake." As much as it is an athletic competition, cultural exchange is the essence of the Games. Pop-up cultural performances, a cultural gala and a sharing of culture among the participants is what makes the Games special.

The last time Alaska hosted the Games was in 2014 in Fairbanks.

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