I first learned about Fur Rondy when I was in Denver one weekend talking to another patron at a bar while watching a football game. The topic of Alaska had been brought up and they started rattling off interesting items to do in Anchorage. This was the first I had ever heard of Fur Rondy but over the next ten minutes I quickly learned about the event and made a note to visit Anchorage during this time.
Since 1935 the Fur Rendezvous winter festival (Fur Rondy) has taken place in Anchorage. Over the years the event has transformed itself from a weekend of winter events to 10 days of events. Some of the original events remain but other events like Ice Sculptures, Outhouse Races, Running of the Reindeer and a carnival have also been added to the event. The one thing which still remains is the original staple of Fur Rondy. Since 1935 trappers will head to Anchorage to sell their goods and the audience comes prepared for the outdoor auction in their favorite furs as well and of course looking for their next purchase.
Visiting Fur Rondy: Things to Know
Fur Rondy covers 10 days at the end of February and early March. For 2018 the event will take place February 23 – March 4. There are larger events which take place on each weekend, however the ceremonial start of the Iditarod is the Saturday of the second weekend. This is also when the Running of the Reindeer takes place.
I have found the most central location to stay during Fur Rondy is the Downtown Anchorage Hilton. There are other hotels in the area like the Captain Cook, Marriott and Sheraton just to name a few. However the Hilton is no more than a block to the start of the Iditarod as well as the auction location for Fur Rondy.
Flying into Anchorage is quite easy with most major airlines offering service, however as this is still winter there are still some limitations. Alaska Airlines will provide the highest number of flights especially with a connection through Seattle on the way to Anchorage.
If you are just visiting Anchorage for the weekend and Fur Rondy, there is really no need to rent a car. However if you plan to explore outside of Anchorage it would make sense to rent a car. As I have mentioned this is the winter still so roads heading outside of Anchorage may be limited, but if you decide to explore I recommend picking up a copy of Mileposts. This is an extensive travel guide for the State of Alaska and will tell you more than you ever wanted about where you are driving.