Homer Alaska - Announcements

Story last updated at 9:30 PM on Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Homer's Best Bets

If you're driving by the airport or on Baycrest Hill about 4 p.m. Friday, watch out. A little after the last school bell rings, expect a stampede as hundreds of teachers, students, school employees and parents of students head out of town for spring break. It's kinda like Memorial Day weekend, except in reverse.

The town's gonna be a little quiet next week, pilgrims — too quiet. Wads of dried of pushkis will roll down the street and no one will notice. The swinging door on the saloon will bang open and shut in the wind. Cops cleaning their Glocks will glance nervously down the street. Somewhere, a harmonica plays, and then a stranger rides into town.

Holy Sergio Leone! Those of us who don't get vacations at the end of winter are stuck here. Those of us who do get vacations but can't afford 'em on account of the challenged economic recovery are stuck here. Those who can afford vacations might find their budget maxed out on the gasoline fill-up to get to Anchorage and points beyond. Even though most of America's foreign oil supply comes from the chaotic northern nation of Canada, what with revolution in the Middle East and stuff, oddly enough gas prices are spiking.


Photo by Lindsay Johnson, Homer News

School's out for winter Participants in the 2011 Snomads fun run prepare to ride last Saturday morning at McNeil Canyon Elementary School. About 140 riders enjoyed late-winter weather for the ride out to Caribou Lake. With schools closing for spring break, there are lots of activities this week. The Snomads hold an ice fishing tournament and halibut fry at 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Caribou Lake.

Something's going on, but you don't know what it is, do you, Mrs. Robinson? Wait — that's another song. Congress keeps getting worked up over the deficit. Wisconsin state senators remain on walkabout. Meanwhile, in Juneau the 90-day session has been so hectic legislators took a few days off to attend an energy conference in Washington, D.C.

Fortunately, here at the end of the road we're used to sudden and dramatic change. Don't like the shape of the beach? Wait for a big storm tide. Tired of shoveling snow? In comes a stretch of warm weather. Last week, puddles appeared on streets. Idiots yakking on cell phones drove right through them, splashing innocent pedestrians. The road takes its own revenge, for at the bottom of some puddles lurk axle-bending potholes. Seasoned citizens know that early March is too soon to count on break-up. Consider it a test to make sure you have enough wiper fluid in stock.

You might wish you were in Maui, but perseverance has its own rewards. There can be worse ways to spend time off than hanging out in town on a sunny day during the last gasp of winter. Empty or not, there's plenty to do still, like some of these Best Bets:

BEST THICK ICE BET: The puddles might be thawing, but out at the Kevin Bell Ice Arena the Zamboni still has work to do. If you're a home school family in the Connections program, enjoy a free skating party from 1-3 p.m. today at the arena. On Friday, don't forget the skating lessons from 2:45-3:45 p.m.

BEST BIG FRY BET: Here's a quick getaway. Hop on your sled and head to the hills — the Caribou Hills. Don't forget your fishing gear, because it's the annual Ice Fishing Tournament and Halibut Fry. The event runs 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. at Caribou Lake. See a brief, page 11, for more details.

BEST IT'S MOSTLY DOWNHILL BET: You'll lose a lot of elevation between Lookout Mountain and the Baycrest Ski Trails. That's the good news. The bad news is you have to climb Crossman Ridge and Diamond Ridge to get there. Once again it's the awesome Kachemak Nordic Ski Marathon from 9:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday. This year's event includes a tour division, so you don't have to push too hard to do the marathon. See brief, page 11, for details.

BEST OLD WEST BET: Put on your XtraTufs and hitch up the hoss for a ride downtown to the flickering picture place. Ayup, it's the opening of "True Grit" at the Homer Theatre. Go to the 6 p.m. Friday showing for a benefit that helps the Voznesenka School students visit Washington, D.C., and New York City.

BEST FINE FOOD BET: Enjoy some exotic cuisine and support nation building the old fashioned way — one well at a time. As part of International Women's Day events, get a great Iraqi menu meal at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at Latitude 59. Proceeds support Veterans for Peace and its Iraq Water Project. Tickets are $20 at Latitude 59 or the Homer Bookstore. There's also an art auction.

BEST CLEAN SHOES BET: Leave the XtraTufs at the door and put on clean-soled dancing shoes for the monthly square and contra dance starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at West Homer Elementary School. Laura Patty calls to music by the Spit City Slickers. Beginners welcome; admission is $6 and kids under 16 get in free.

BEST ART AND ABOUT BET: Do some cool art over spring break with "Art and Nature From Forest to Sea." The workshops for youth 10-14 are 1-4 p.m. daily March 14-18 at the Homer Council on the Arts. Beth Trowbridge leads field workshops and Lynn Marie Naden leads art studio sessions. Space is limited. The fee is $60; call 235-4288 to register.

BEST EASY EVENING BET: Homer's gallery concerts are always a treat. Local folk singer-songwriter Caressa performs at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at Bunnell Street Arts Center. In the poetic tradition of Bob Dylan and Joni Mitchell, Caressa blends funk, punk, country and rock. Caressa says her music is "inspired by Alaska at its core. The land, the seasons, the sea and sky are so bountifully inspirational." Tickets are $5 to $20 on Bunnell's "pay as you can" sliding scale.