Fur Rondy? Fur Real
I grew up in Panama City, Florida, one of the weirdest corners of America, a place where we boil peanuts and signs read, “No shirt. No shoes. No problem!” When I travel I’m much more likely to choose Dollywood over Hollywood, Austin over Dallas, or Versailles (pronounced ver-sails), Kentucky over that silly palace in France.
Maybe that’s why I love Alaska. Recently I had the opportunity to see how life is lived in this rugged state. Around every corner awaited a new oddball thrill. I’ll never forget when our tour director gleefully pointed out the town of Wasilla. Among its many attributes, Wasilla was the 2003 Duct Tape Capital of the World, consuming more tape per capita than anywhere else. Plus, each year there is a Duct Tape Ball (moved to Anchorage due to popularity) where Alaskans show their passion for the silvery stuff by making gala duds out of tape.
This winter, Alaska has added yet another bizarre attraction to its ever-growing list of wackiness. Anchorage will host the first annual Running of the Reindeer, a fun twist on Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls. On February 24th, the city will unleash a dozen caribou (reindeer) on the streets of the city. For the price of just $20 you can be one of the lucky victims/participants. Don’t worry. The organizers have assured the skeptical that reindeer antlers are much too soft to inflict any gore.
The Running of the Reindeer is just one of many off-the-wall events held during Anchorage’s winter festival called The Fur Rendezvous, or just Fur Rondy to the locals. Other events include snow sculpture contests, dog sled races, the Frostbite Footrace, snowshoe softball, and more. Suddenly that trip to the Caribbean is looking a little vanilla, no?
This winter, if you want to have an up-close-and-personal encounter with Vixen, try Alaska on for size. And save me a bowl of reindeer chili if you do.
My name: Alison Presley
Nickname: Presbo, because I'm good police.
How I earn my keep: I'm the manager of Travelocity's Travel for Good program. Visit Travel for Good to learn more about our green travel and voluntourism initiatives!
What kind of traveler am I: I'm an intrepid food explorer. I usually starve myself on the plane (not that that's too hard to do) so that the moment my toes touch foreign soil I'm ready to sample new and exciting cuisine. I like to dine everywhere from hole-in-the-wall local secrets to Michelin Guide gems. Cannelés, poi, boiled peanuts, oxtail soup, poutine--there's no stopping this adventurous palate.
Greatest travel lesson I've learned: It doesn't cost a lot of money to do good. Offsetting your carbon impact only adds a few bucks to your trip, green hotels are very affordable, and volunteering locally during your vacation is a great way to give back and learn about the culture.