Fairbank's Chantanika Days Truly Unique

Fairbank's Chantanika Days Truly Unique

Winter fun AND an outhouse run!

 

Alaskans have a long history of dealing with the harsh, dark and cold winter. Instead of retreating indoors to hibernate until first thaw, winter is the optimum time for a festival in the frozen north. Various events, festivals and parties mark the dark season but March brings one festival that may seem a little odd to those visiting from the lower forty-eight.

The Chatanika Days festival actually takes place in the small town of Chatanika, 30 miles outside of Fairbanks. Like most small towns everywhere, they host a yearly festival for the residents and to attract tourists. But their March festival isn't like the parades and street fairs that many visitors to small town America are used to. Oh no, this is Alaska after all – a land of adventure and the wild!

 

The wildest and most popular event in Chatanika is the annual outhouse race. Lack of indoor plumbing and outhouses are still common in parts of Alaska, so making a race in the cold makes sense. This race isn't runners heading out to the privy, though. Instead, the outhouses are racing to the finish line. Teams construct outhouses on sleds, skis or anything else that slides on the snow then race them a mile over snow, all while wearing outlandish costumes, until a winner is declared.

 

While the outhouse race is the main event for Chatanika Days, there are other events going on with many suitable for all ages. Live music, human ice bowling, buck saw competitions and beer pong (for the adults) are other events on offer. Better yet, this festival is a chance to see the resilient Alaskan spirit in action – enjoying the absurd during the harshest season of the year.