Homer Alaska - Opinion

Story last updated at 4:13 PM on Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Winter Carnival offers fun ways to enjoy season

There's nothing like a long stretch of winter to bring out the worst in us.

In the beginning, we grump at too little snow. It doesn't take too many blizzards, however, before we grump at too much snow. We grump because the roads haven't been plowed. We grump because they have been plowed, leaving behind "driveway berms from hell," as Carey Meyer, the city's public works director describes them. We grump because our co-workers can't get to work. We grump because we can. We grump because a meeting has been scheduled and we grump because it gets canceled because of the weather. We grump because there's no warming trend in sight. And then we grump because warmer temperatures make everything so slick.

Thankfully, there's nothing like a long stretch of winter to bring out the best in us, too.

Neighbors helping each other shovel out. Folks sharing snow blowers and heavy equipment to make the task easier. Strangers stopping to lend a hand when they see someone stuck in a snow drift. Drivers taking care to warn each other of moose up ahead.

And there's definitely nothing like a long stretch of winter to help us begin to appreciate those whose work is keeping us safe. They can't be no-shows during bad weather, because we're all counting on them to protect us, keep the roads cleared and traffic moving, put out the fire and rush a loved one to the hospital.

This winter of 2012 is providing lots of good stories and bonding time. Our friends and neighbors who have headed for the sun are really missing all the fun.

There's no such thing as a fair-weather Alaskan, is there? Those of us who have survived the whiteouts, the close calls and yet another day of shoveling can take pride in the fact that we're not on the next plane south.

Starting today, there are four days of events planned to help us celebrate winter. Homer's annual winter carnival provides a great way to embrace a season that, at times, can get pretty dark and lonely. Sure, it's a cliché, but the weekend does include something for everyone to enjoy — even if you'd rather be soaking up rays on a hot, sandy beach. There are shopping opportunities, lots of great entertainment (both indoors and out), a home-brew contest, kids' activities and, of course, Saturday's parade.

Many thanks to the Homer Chamber of Commerce and area businesses for their work to make sure the carnival happens year after year. It's a great way to encourage all of us to get out and enjoy this place we call home — no matter what the season.

Also, many thanks to all the road crews (city, borough and state) and other public employees who have gone the extra mile in helping us navigate this winter's snow. You have a tough, mostly thankless, job. Please know the long hours you are putting in are appreciated by all of us.