Two of the most unique events in Alaska kick off Saturday in Talkeetna, as the world famous Wilderness Woman Competition and the Talkeetna Bachelor Auction bring plenty of laughs, good times and fun.
The Talkeetna Bachelor Society hosts the events each year. They start it off with the Wilderness Woman competition, which tests the contestants' abilities to perform everything vital to living with a bachelor in the Last Frontier. The contestants start by hauling full, five-gallon water buckets up and down Main Street - if you are living in a "dry" cabin, this is an important skill to have! After the field is trimmed to six semi-finalists, it's time for Round 2, in which the single women make their bachelors a sandwich and deliver it to him with a beverage, then sawing and chopping wood. The final round includes all things adventure - the finalists must snowshoe around a course, "shoot" a ptarmagin and a moose (no real animals are harmed in this adventure!), catch a fish and of course, ring the dinner bell.
The hilarious event kicks at noon on Main Street, and sign-ups are at 10 a.m. at the Fairview Inn, with a limited number of spots available. All contestants must be over 21 and single, according to the Talkeetna Bachelor Society.
That evening, the men take center stage - literally. The Talkeetna Bachelor Society, consisting of single men ages 21-70 from all walks of life, are auctioned off on stage at the Sheldon Community Arts Hangar. Presumably, it's for a dance and a drink, but who knows where it'll lead - we've heard stories of marriages coming out what happens at the Bachelor Ball, which immediately follows the auction. Only women are allowed to attend the auction, and tickets can be purchased at www.denaliartscouncil.org. Doors open at 6 p.m., with the auction starting at 7 p.m.
The event, while good-natured and hilarious, is also important. The Talkeetna Bachelor Society has used the auction as a way to fund social causes in the upper Susitna Valley. The society has donated thousands of dollars to the Fund For Women and Children in Crisis through the Alaska Community Foundation, as well as the Families in Crisis Fund, administered by the Sunshine Community Health Center.
Winterfest actually gets started on Friday night, with the Motorized Parade of Lights. The parade begins at 6:30 p.m. at St. Benard's Catholic Church, and goes through Main Street (twice!) and ends at the Village Park.
The following weekend, on Saturday, Dec. 9, the Taste of Talkeetna event is one not to miss. For $50, participants can enjoy "tastes" at seven Talkeetna restaurants, beginning at 4 p.m. Come hungry, because this even is sure to fill you up. Better yet, make it a weekend and stay at one of the cozy B&Bs or cabins in the area. Tickets available at Talkeetna Roadhouse, and more information can be found at www.talkeetnachamber.org.