Sun. Jul 5th, 2020

A Comprehensive Guide to Alaska’s Summer Festivals

5 min read
Alaska’s Summer Festivals

The summer is finally here, the sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and everyone seems more relaxed. That also means that festival season is upon us, from Renaissance Fairs to cannabis festivals, there are plenty of options. So where should you go?

Fairbanks Folk Festival

Live music from local talent, great food from local chefs; this free folk festival is happening in the Interior and is a fantastic event in a beautiful natural setting.

Fiddlehead Fern Festival

This beautiful, family-friendly, and free festival happens every year in Girdwood. Fiddlehead Fern is a fun weekend of live music from various local artists, as well as arts and crafts, numerous workshops, and numerous activities for the little ones. Another important feature of this tremendous festival is the food. Alaska’s finest cooks come each year to prepare food as well as incorporate fiddleheads into the menu.

3 Barons Renaissance Fair

Anchorage’s famed annual Renaissance Fair, this event allows you to spend a couple of days in “Hillshire,” also known as Anchorage’s Tozier Sled Dog Track. Drink some mead, hum a merry tune, and bite down on some meat while you browse through items from local artisans. Costumes aren’t a must, but they will be appreciated! Tickets range between $5 and $8

Sitka Summer Music Festival

Each year, the SSMF showcases some of the best classical music you’ll find in Alaska. Enjoy a night filled with culture and beautiful performances from classical musicians from all parts of the country. But don’t forget to try the crab in Sitka!

Colony Days

Palmer’s community festival celebrates the long and storied history of the town. The festival features many different things from rodeos and rhubarb cooking contests to classic car showcases over a period of three days.


Chicken, also known as the “top of the world,” hosts the aptly named Chickenstock each year. Featuring a slew of local artists, this festival breathes life into the small town each summer. An interesting fact is that Chicken has a population of seven for most of the year.

Kenai River Festival

This three-day festival takes place at the Kenai River, and it features live music, a beautiful natural setting, wine and beer gardens, numerous food vendors, and an artisans market. In addition, it offers a Run for the River race and fun activities for all ages. The best part? It’s a free festival!

Kachemak Bay Writers’ Conference

Now, KBWC is a slightly different beast. It isn’t actually a festival as much as it’s a writing camp. This conference gathers writers and editors from across the state for a weekend of readings, workshops, speeches, and manuscript reviews.

Last Frontier Theater Conference

Another conference — this one offers many different workshops, developmental table reads, and performances, with instant feedback from a panel of judges. A fascinating night for all aspiring thespians or theater fans.

Seldovia Summer Solstice Music Festival

The Seldovia music festival truly is a festival by artists for artists. With the beautiful scenic backdrop of Seldovia, this gathering really is a sight to behold. The SSSMF features many live performances, including jam spaces where anyone can pick up an instrument, barbecues on the beach, and much, much more.

Alaska Hempfest

Now, this is something for our more 420-friendly readers. The Alaska Hempfest deals with all things cannabis-related — everything you could imagine, from marijuana and edibles to hemp products. In addition, the festival entrance is free of charge.

Back to Bluegrass Festival

McGrath’s KSKO radio station organizes the Back to Bluegrass Festival each year. The festival offers a weekend of live music set to the backdrop of the beautiful Interior. Food, music, dancing, and many other beautiful things await you at the Kuskokwim River. Best part? It’s free!

Downtown Summer Solstice

Anchorage’s own big annual festival. With live music, various food sellers and trucks, chalk art gallery, bouncy houses, a petting zoo, hip-hop dance performances, various DJs, beer gardens, and even a basketball tournament. Downtown Summer Solstice truly offers something for everyone.

Moose Pass Summer Solstice Festival

This festival has been trucking along since 1978, and as always, it will feature a bake sale, local vendors and artisans, a beer garden, and many activities for the little ones.

Midnight Sun Festival

Fairbanks’ Midnight Sun Festival truly is an event worth checking out, with more than 40 live performances, gold panning, pony rides, skate park, and many, many other things.

Scottish Highland Games

Put your kilt on and practice your Scots or Gaelic. Each year the Scottish Highland Games showcase everything Scottish you could possibly imagine — from drumming and bagpiping groups and field games and events to scotch tastings.

Fourth of July and Mount Marathon

Seward’s Fourth of July festival probably beats its many competitors around the state. The festival kicks off with an amazing fireworks display at midnight. What follows is the perilous race along Mount Marathon, which is 3.5 miles of hard terrain with an elevation gain of 3022 feet.

Forest Fair

Girdwood’s largest summer festival is filled with delicious food of many different types, live music, a tremendous atmosphere, and a bevy of handcrafted items from Alaska’s artisans. Forest Fair has one simple rule: “No dogs, no politicians, no religious orders.”

Bear Paw Festival

Carnival rides, food, and a bevy of events, even a junior rodeo, makes this Eagle River festival good wholesome fun for the whole family.

Copper River Salmon Jam

Cordova’s summer festival celebrates the two most important things in the city — salmon and art. Live music, a bunch of family-friendly events, and great seafood make this festival a beautiful experience.

Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival

With over 200 workshops and 100 different events, the Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival is probably the biggest of its kind in the state. Musicians, actors, chefs, writers, and artists will all surely find something interesting for them.

Southeast Alaska State Fair

Live entertainment, baking competitions, and beach wrestling all await you at the SASF. If you’re looking for chill vibes on a beach, you need not look any further.


If you’re a seafood fan or a hardcore fisherman, you should go to Ninilchik. Three days of music, fish, and seafood await you; featuring many local artists, artisans, and vendors, you’re in for a heck of a time.

Alyeska Blueberry Festival

Are you a fan of berries? Who isn’t? Pie-eating contests, hiking, blueberry creations, biking, and everything blueberry-related is available at Girdwood’s blueberry festival.

Alaska State Fair

One of the largest yearly events in Alaska takes place in Palmer. The Alaska State Fair offers a week and a half of delicious food, thrilling carnival rides, cute petting zoos, various artisans, and a particularly strong concert lineup.

Seward Music and Arts Festival

This festival traditionally closes the summer season. It features music, dance ,food, and even a community art show, could you ask for more? The SMAF switches up themes each year, which makes every year unique.


With such a vast selection of events, there’s something for everyone. We hope we’ve shined a light on a festival you might not have heard of. So go on, have fun, and enjoy the summer!

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