BEST BOOK BET: The last time Sharon Bushell had an autograph party for her book, "We Alaskans: Stories of People Who Helped Build the Great Land," the event turned into a big party with some of Homer's local pioneers a hootin' and hollerin' and carrying on. Sharon signs again from 1:15-4 p.m. Friday at the Homer Senior Center dining room. Boogie-woogie boy Mr. Johnny B plays piano.
BEST THE BIRDS! THE BIRDS! BET: In a normal year, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count can be a challenge. Oh no, not for the 103rd annual event Saturday, at least in Homer: bird watching should be cushy, barring a major storm blowing in. Show up at 8:30 a.m. at the Alaska Maritime Refuge Visitor Center on the Sterling Highway next to Ocean Shores Motel. Dress for the weather and bring spotting scopes, binoculars and field guides. There is a $5 fee to help with publishing the results.
BEST ICKY BOYS AND OOKY GIRLS BET: The Betster got a trip to the principal's office in 6th grade for painting my arms green in art class -- right before square-dancing the next period for P.E. OK, that was, like, so immature, I know. Kids and adults, go dancing when Dance Circle North sponsors a square and contra dance starting at 7:30 p.m. Saturday at the Homer Boys & Girls Club. Rather Be Dancin' plays and Rich Kleinleder teaches and calls the dances. Beginners are welcome. The cost is $6 and children under 12 are free and must be accompanied by an adult. Bring clean-soled shoes.
BEST BE AWARE BET: For a while there in the 1990s, the Betster dreaded reading alumni newsletters for fear of reading that another friend died of AIDS. We've learned a lot about AIDS, but misconceptions remain. The Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic is hosting its annual gala, the 2002 AIDS Awareness Ball, starting at 8 p.m. Saturday at Alice's Champagne Palace. Though there's a memorial corner to remember friends and family, it's not only a somber event. As usual, they have a great spread, with appetizers from Fritz Creek General Store, Kachemak Bay oysters, a silent auction and raffle drawings. Too Fat to Fly performs. Tickets are $20 in advance for members, $25 for nonmembers and $30 at the door.
BEST FROM KLAWOCK TO AKIACHAK BET: They'll be coming from all over Alaska, the few, the hardy, the 224 wrestlers of the small-schools division 1A-2A-3A representing 47 teams. Homer High is the host, but won't be competing, though teams from Seldovia and Ninilchik will be there. Competition begins at 3 p.m. Friday and goes through Saturday night.