"In every walk with nature one receives more than he seeks."
John Muir

Monday, August 16, 2010

Golden Days

In late July Fairbanks annually celebrates its history with a grand parade. This is part of the Golden Days weekend. Fairbanks became a city when gold fever led thousands of pioneers and sourdoughs up here seeking their fortunes.

Pedro was the first man who discovered gold in Fairbanks, not far from where Josh and Kathleen live. Those hills are still full of gold, they say. This fellow represented Pedro and held up a large chunk of "gold" and followed by his hard working mule.

This happy fellow is busily working his claim, gold dust in his eyes.

There were so many floats and entries. This is perhaps the longest parade I have ever seen. I sincerely believe that the whole town was at the parade, either marching or watching !

This fellow's truck had all the supplies an old miner might need (and then some!).

I don't know just where the tradition of the rubber duckies came from, but for $5 or $10 Fairbanksans (and us transients) can buy a little yellow rubber duckie and seek cash fortunes. At a specific time in the afternoon several thousand little ducks are all dumped out of a net from a bridge upriver. They bob happily along and the first ones to reach the 1st Street bridge are the winners, offering their "owners" thousands of dollars.
PS-My little guy didn't bring me 2 cents. But it was exciting and fun to watch it happen.

Here is Nanook, the great polar bear mascot of the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). The hockey team actually skates out from under him at the games.

Bush pilots are still a big part of Alaska as many villages and towns
can only be reached by air. This is a very dangerous profession and the death rate quite high. The pilot in this plane really IS a bush pilot and this is his plane.

We see small bush planes overhead often each day. I thought these girls on roller blades with planes on the sticks were clever.

Courageous women pioneers were surely a part of this area's history. This loaded truck was driven by a woman in honor of the ones who went before. That pioneer spirit certainly isn't in MY genes.

And who would ever expect to see an Eskimo Elvis?
Not me, but here he was, sharing the love.

PS-Notice the bib I'm wearing? Tammy and I did the Golden Mile race for the Literacy Council. Well, it was the exact parade route scheduled for 1 hour prior to the start of the parade. I don't run, unfortunately, and Tammy and I walked the route. Never dreamed that it only had 200 participants and the streets would be lined with tons of people all set up waiting for the parade. I think maybe 190 of those in the race were runners so, no matter how fast we walked, we were at the very end and pretty much alone, walking down the middle of the streets. To make matters worse, some old fashioned Model-T cars were behind us, honking all the way. We really thought we were going to be run over by these old cars. The crowds cheered us and we were mortified. I hope the Literacy Council appreciated our efforts because I'll never do that again!

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