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.