The word Fur Rendezvous immediately brings to mind early American history, fur trading, and mountain men. One of the most renown/notorious of the rendezvous took place in the Green River region of Wyoming in the 1830s. After a long, lonely winter of trapping beavers and other fur-bearing mammals, the mountain men would gather on the Green River to meet with traders out of St. Louis who would purchase their winter harvest. There was lots of drinking, gambling, and snuggling up with accommodating women (for a fee)— which is pretty much what you might expect from barely civilized men who had spent the winter isolated in tiny cabins. I’ve visited the region and backpacked through the mountains where beavers were trapped. You can read about this adventure at: A Rabid Wolf Walked through Camp.
Alaska was a Johnny-come-lately to the fur rendezvous business, deciding to create its event in 1935. Alaska was still a raw frontier at the time, however. It wouldn’t have been much different from the Rocky Mountains a hundred years earlier. It was a wild place, and the people who chose to live there were a bit on the wild side. I would have fit right in.
The Fur Rendezvous in Anchorage, or Rondy as they call it today, has lost much of its mountain man edge. But it is still an excuse to party. And it had become a major tourist attraction. When I was there with Peggy, our son Tony and his family a few weeks ago, we attended four of its many events: sled dog races, a snow carving contest, the Rondy Parade, and the annual outhouse race. I’ve already written about the snow carving. My next blog will be on sled dogs. Today is all about porta potties and parades.
What’s not to like about an outhouse race, especially when one of the main contestants was the Fabulous Flying Duck Farts. Among its competitors were the Willow Fire Department, the Mormon Brigade, the AE club from the University of Alaska, and others. There was even a young woman being pushed in a shopping cart. Not even my fertile imagination could figure out how she fit in, but she was having fun. Both the Fabulous Flying Duck Farts and the AE club are involved in charitable activities. The jet propelled Duck Farts ended up winning, so I checked them out on Facebook. Here’s what they have to say about their organization:
“The Fabulous Flying Duck Farts are a forever funny fabulous formation flying flock of fast, furious, and friendly foul-fowl; a fine festival feature famous for flatulent fueled flight, frequent fierce flapping, faithfully finishing first, and frolicking feathery fun.”
That seems to sum it up.
The Rondy Parade had it all, starting with princesses, lots of princesses. There were also kids, dogs, old cars, older tractors, horses, a reindeer, white bread, M&M’s, Hells Angels, and a very large colon. The only thing missing was a band. I’ve never seen a major parade without a band. In fact, the only parade I’ve ever seen without a band was the Buncom Day parade near where we live in Oregon. It goes one block, turns around and repeats itself. And even it had first graders blowing kazoos. Still, the Rondy Parade entertained us well.
23 thoughts on “Alaska’s Fur Rendezvous: From Outhouse Races to Sled Dogs”
woaaaaaaaaaaa so amazing ^^
Your story reminds me of McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Wild man from Bear Paw. It was the film where Leanard Cohen’s songs were used first. Great photos and looks a lot of fun and culture testing. For sure.Curt.
I remember McCabe and Mrs. Miller. Thanks, Gerard, and it was a lot of fun. Alaskans do know how to make the most of their lives, as I found out when I lived there. –Curt
So cool, especially since Palin wasn’t there. I guess she was enlisting more of the what overwhelming % of Americans who will die for Trump, until Todd had the accident.
I see her and Trump as everything that is wrong with America, and I do see how she came from Alaska, but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she doesn’t represent Alaska.
Native Alaskans do, and the white immigrants with brains and conscience.
I have been to different parts of Alaska five times.
It’s not like I like it or anything.
I am sure I will go again. Haven’t been to Kenai Fjords.
You capture the wonderful nature of the people so well.
It is the most phenomonal place.
I thought of Sarah when the train went through Wasilla on the way to Fairbanks. My friends in Alaska are mainly embarrassed by the fact that she came from there. It is a fascinating state, however. I lived there from 1983-86 and travelled widely, including a number of backpacking and bicycling adventures. I even went on a cross-country ski camping trek into Denali during the winter. (Temps at -30 :)). –Curt
Great post. Isn’t it just amazing some of the wonderful silliness humans get up to?
The ‘colon’ float certainly is a new take on public health education.
Thank you for sharing.
Thank goodness for the silliness. We need a lot more in these times. –Curt
You certainly do manage to sniff out the odd Curt 😀
It’s my job. (grin) –Curt
Ho fun is this?! My Alaska wanderlust meter just went crazy. Seeing a reindeer walking down the street. Yes I want to experience that. 🙂
A very friendly reindeer, I might add, Sue. And it is fun. Obviously, things can get downright whacky. 🙂 –Curt
It looks like a fabulous, furry affair Curt. And how can you not root for the Duck Farts? As for the colon: at the KY State Fair last fall, there was an inflatable, walk-through colon and I’ll raise the stakes – it had the large intestine attached as well. I’m with you on the message, but damn! ~James
You win James! 🙂 But did it have little tear-shaped people wandering around in it? –Curt
No Curt, just a bunch of KYs who would later go home and tell Mama that they walked in somebody’s butt today. 🙂 ~James
Of that, I’m sure, James. 🙂 I know my grandkids would! –Curt
Wow! This beats any fete parade I’ve ever seen – can’t believe a reindeer takes part – what a Star! The last photo entry leaves me feeling distinctly odd…Strange there wasn’t a band. Was their piped music though? Another world yet again – thank you for sharing.
No piped music either, Annika. 🙂 I had to believe the town had to have some high school marching bands. Somehow, a reindeer seemed appropriate for Alaska, although a caribou would have been more appropriate. They could have had a band playing in the colon. 😉 –Curt
I continue to be impressed by the interesting places you find entertainment. This looks like a funky blast.
And, of course, I love your comment about the white bread. 🙂
I don’t think I have ever been anywhere I haven’t found something amusing Bill. Funky blast is a good description. Couldn’t resist on the white bread. 🙂 –Curt
A Rondy Parade? What fun!!! Love all the costumes and, of course, the outhouses. Any excuse for a party, as you said. And it must be universal. Every state we’ve visited has its own version!!!
Isn’t it fun when local areas incorporate their own history and quirkiness into events like parades. And you are right, it is universal. —Curt
Ah, the joy of traveling to festivals!