Fur Rendezvous Festival
Established in 1953, Fur Rendezvous -locally known as Fur Rondy- has represented the Alaskan’s pioneering spirit. Besides cultural and sports activities, Anchorage’s community hosts approximately 50 Rondy Round events of winter fun for everyone, regardless of age.
This Nation’s premier winter festival is a significant part of Anchorage’s history and tradition. Vern Johnson, the founder of Fur Rendezvous, was a well-liked local with a keen understanding of social conditions. Together with his friends, he established a 3-day winter sports festival; at the same time, trappers and miners came to town with their yield. It features sports like skiing, basketball, hockey, boxing, and the town’s favorite, a children’s sled dog race down Fourth Avenue.
The ‘Fur Rondy’ has earned national and international recognition since then. Visitors and locals have gathered in Anchorage every February for the last 87 years to attend this 12-day festival. Besides the sports activities previously mentioned, ‘Fur Rondy’ entertains and educates with events like the Blanket Toss, the Sled Dog Race World Championship, the Grand Parade, the Rondy Carnival, Snowshoe Softball, and the Running Reindeer.
The Blanket Toss was incorporated into the festival in 1950. This ancient Native Alaskan tradition consists of a person being tossed repeatedly into the air and caught on an open blanket by a group of people as they stretch and relax the blanket’s edges for each toss and catch. The World Championship Sled Dog Race debuted in 1946 and quickly became a highly anticipated event of the Fur Rendezvous; Sled Dogs teams and mushers from Alaska and all over the world gather in Anchorage for this unique Competition.
Alaska Sound Celebration, an Anchorage all-female acapella chorus, has been featured for three decades at this festival with a unique and fun show. The chorus members write, play, make costumes, build a set and perform. They create a new, fun, and wacky story each year. The audience participates in the show by slinging popcorn on the stage for comedic effect.
Other crowd-pleasing and fun events include the Grand Parade, Outhouse Races, the Rondy Carnival, Running of the Reindeer – a gentler version of Pamplona’s Running of the Bulls- and Snowshoe Softball.
The Fur Rendezvous has been named one of the top ten winter festivals in the country by the International Festival association and the Northwest Festival Association, so if you’re looking to experience a true Alaska Holiday, this festival is definitely for you. You can watch beautiful ice sculptures, participate in contests and join carnival games and rides.