Alaska State Fair
Alaska’s largest event takes place in Palmer every August and early September, as the Alaska State Fair is a showcase of giant vegetables, concerts, contests, rides and food. The event concludes on Labor Day every year, and begins the Thursday 12 days prior. In 2021, the Alaska State Fair takes place August 26 through September 6. Each day is packed with events of all kinds. The last Friday of the Alaska State Fair is one not to miss, as the giant cabbage weigh off is held that evening. These world-famous cabbages can reach up to 135 pounds! The event has a “gladiator” type of setting, as contestants enter their giant cabbages in a ring, with hundreds of bystanders on the bleachers overlooking the scene. It’s a quintessential Alaska event! Amusement park rides, Alaska Native crafts, foods of all kinds and exhibits, including the popular livestock pavilion, will keep you entertained.
The Alaska State Fairgrounds are just south of Palmer along the Glenn Highway. It's approximately a 45-minute drive from downtown Anchorage, but be prepared for traffic congestion, particularly on weekend dates. Also, be ready for road construction along the Glenn Highway from the interchange at the Parks Highway through downtown Palmer. If coming from Anchorage, riding the Alaska Railroad is an option on weekends. Parking at the fairgrounds is $5 a day per vehicle. There are extended options including RV parking available as well.
Ways To Save
There are a number of ways to save on admission. Season passes include daily parking permits and you can save 65 percent off regular admission. There are also six- and four-pack options that include discounts. You can even save up to 23 percent on general one-day admission tickets if purchased online. You can purchase online tickets HERE, including discounted tickets including carnival ride packages and more.
The Alaska State Fair is packed with fun events throughout the 12 days. The fair is open from noon to 10 p.m. throughout the week, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on the weekends and 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Labor Day. There are daily concerts scattered throughout the fairgrounds, performances by local dance groups, talent shows, Alaska Native dancers and similar events. All of these are free with fair admission.
One thing that makes the fair so fun is the exhibits. Photography, quilting, painting, pottery, woodworking - the talent on display by Alaskans is amazing! Stop by the Hoskins and Irwin Buildings to see these displays. Also, don't forget about the Farm Exhibits pavilion - you'll get to see all the livestock raised by local 4-Hers, as well as the giant fruits and vegetables raised under the Midnight Sun.