Starting next week we enter the Twilight Zone of not-quite summer but not yet fall. Here in Alaska, traditional definitions of fall like the autumnal equinox don’t always work. Alaska, living true to its motto of “North to the Future,” starts fall early. Consider these upcoming dates:
• At 12:01 a.m. Friday, snagging for silver salmon starts in some parts of the Spit;
• At 1:30 p.m. Saturday is the first Homer High School Mariner football game of the season;
• On Tuesday, the academic year starts at most Kenai Peninsula Borough School District facilities;
• Also on Tuesday is the primary election of state and federal seats as well as Ballot Measure 1; and
• Next Wednesday, moose hunting starts in most areas of Game Management Unit 15 on the peninsula.
Snagging, football, school, elections, moose hunting: If that doesn’t mean fall in Alaska, what does?
On the other hand, for those of us not teaching or who don’t have children in school, it still feels like summer. Although tourist biz worker drones are running on impulse power out on the Spit, the place is still open. Holy Starship Enterprise! Isn’t it Labor Day? Not yet.
Despite a typical stretch of rainy weather, when the sun shines, it blazes with bravo. The silver salmon keep jumping and tempting us. Up in Anchortown, they’re talking about the annual bird exchange, when ravens replace gulls as the scavenger of choice. Hah! In Homer, we have ravens and gulls year round, with bald eagles and crows vying for turf.
Nope, even though signs of the season can be sussed out, autumn is at least weeks away. The Betster has always liked how crainiac Mavis Muller defines spring and summer: from when the sandhill cranes arrive in late April and when they leave in late Septmeber — Earth Day to the equinox, more or less.
So don’t give up yet, Betsteroids. There’s still lots to do, like these Best Bets:
BEST A FAIR BET BET: Oh, and did we mention the Kenai Peninsula State Fair? That’s another sign of late summer. The fair starts at 9:30 a.m. Friday for its 63rd year. There will be music, exhibits, carnival rides and the ever popular racing pigs. See story, page 2, for the fair’s history.
BEST OUTRAGEOUS, DUDE, BET: Here’s a little secret about Alaska’s musical community: Whether jazz, folk, classical, hip hop, rap and rock ’n’ roll, we have musicians here with talent just as great as Outside. Musicians who stay in Alaska keep growing and getting better, like the group that makes up Outrageous Jazz. Some of them have been playing together so long they click into the groove effortlessly. Check them out in two shows at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. See story, page 10, for details.
BEST A GREAT WALK BET: How can summer be over if we’re still playing golf? If you want proof, sign up for the Homer Hockey Association Golf Fundraiser starting at 8 a.m. Saturday at the Tips Golf Course. Registration is $50 in advance or $60 the day of the tournament.
BEST SWEAT IT BET: If you’ve enjoyed hiking, skiing and running the trails in the Homer Demonstration Forest off Rogers Loop, help spruce up the trails from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday. Meet at the Rogers Loop trailhead. High school seniors, this is a good chance to knock off some of those volunteer hours you need to graduate.