Fur Rondy Perspectives

Alanis Berger, Reporter

Fur Rendezvous, also known as Fur Rondy, is an annual event during the chilly winter in the month of February in Anchorage, Alaska. Many locals do not understand the true meaning behind it and don’t even know how it started.

According to furrondy.net, Vern Johnson “and his friends decided to establish a 3-day winter festival that would coincide with the time that miners and trappers came to town with their yield.” Ever since the 1930’s, the Fur Rondy has brought much joy to many people in the community of Alaska.

Everyone participates in the Fur Rondy for several different reasons. There are various activities to do.  Either taking part in the blanket toss, or simply having fun at the carnival, which takes place downtown. There are rides like the Ferris wheel, the favorite The Apollo and a recent thriller, The Zipper.

A local Alaskan named Mariah Jueneman has been going to Fur Rondy ever since she was a child. Jueneman was born and raised here in Anchorage, Alaska. Jueneman believes the Fur Rondy is the time and place for fellow Alaskans to come together and appreciate what Alaska is about. Jueneman likes the rides but said, “The funnel cakes are my favorite”.  In fact, the first thing Jueneman does when she gets there is find the funnel cake line, because she must be the first one to get one. Jueneman finds the Apollo to be one of the only exciting rides here in Alaska, as well as the slingshot. When asked if there were any disappointments this year, Jueneman said, “Not really, just kind of more cluttered, just because we’re growing up.”

The Fur Rondy has had some definite changes in the past few decades. Especially in Ronald Berger’s perspective, a local Alaska who has lived here for the last 50 years. Berger has been going to this event since he was 23 years old. Berger says some differences are, “it was more competitive, meaning competitive with Alaskan people. People from the bush. There’s lots of mushers who were born and raised in Alaska and their dogs were raised in Alaska.”

        Berger said “in the olden’ days”, that local merchant employees would dress in costumes during Fur Rondy, to celebrate Alaska. He described the clothing to be traditionally warm; with the furs they would catch themselves. Berger remembers on the first day of the week long event, he would see everyone wearing Fur Rondy pins and everyone was excited because instead of doing the regular last frontier activities like going to the bank or grocery store, people would set displays in their stores and get ready for the locals to stop by and enjoy the Fur Rondy.