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Saying about festivals in the US, what immediately comes to everyone’s mind are outstanding events like Thanksgiving Day, Halloween, Christmas, or even some music festivals. But not so many people know about the Alaska Day Festival, which is one of the most meaningful events.

So let’s dive into it and find out what is special about this festival!

Alaska Day Festival
Alaska Day Festival

Alaska Day Festival celebrates the anniversary of the transfer of the territory from Russia to the United States and also the raising of the United States flag at Sitka in 1867. Every year, on October 18, people in Alaska usually have a day off and involve in a lot of activities.

1. The History Of Alaska 

  • Alaska Background 

Before being a territory of The United States, Alaska was being ruled by Russia for 68 years. By that time, the United States rekindled its old expansionist dreams and bought the territory with the prices of 7.2 million dollars. 

The Russian flag at the governor’s house was lowered and replaced with a United States flag on October 18, 1867, it’s also the day Alaska Day Festival was celebrated for the first time. Many Americans found that this was a waste of money so they called Alaska “Seward’s Folly”, after the state’s secretary who championed the purchase, William Seward.

The History Of Alaska
Alaska used to be ruled by Russia before 1867

The rest of the United States paid no attention to this area until 1897 when Joe Juneau and Richard Harris discovered gold in the Klondike. And after that, the gold rush era in Alaska began. Soon hundreds of prospectors and fortune seekers poured into the site and sought the goldfields. 

At first, their destination was the Klondike River. However, when gold had been found on the beaches near the Alaskan city of Nome, more than 17,000 prospectors changed their destination to Nome.

Alaska is the land of Gold
People call Alaska the land of Gold

During World War II, Alaska held an important strategic position. By the time Japan invaded the Aleutian Islands in 1943, Alaska was a territory of more than 140,000 military personnel. Since the Civil War, The Aleutian campaign, also known as the “One Thousand Mile War,” was the first battle fought on American.

Alaska officially became the 49th state of the United States on January 3, 1959, after a long time maintaining its status as a territory. 

  • Alaska Symbols

The name Alaska came from the word “Alyeska”, which means “great land”. During the Alaska Purchase Centennial in 1967, it was given a nickname “the last frontier” and a motto “North to the Future”.

In 1910, The state seal was designed with symbols such as the train stands for Alaska’s railroads, ships denote transportation by sea, the rays above the mountains represent the Northern Lights, the trees symbolize Alaska’s forests, the farmer and the three shocks of wheat represent Alaskan agriculture, the fish and the seals signify the importance of fishing and wildlife to Alaska’s economy.

Alaska Symbols
The deep blue representing the sky and the flower of Alaska

The state flag features a deep blue which represents the sky and the stage flower. The North Star represents the future of the state of Alaska while the dipper is for the Great Bear. There are many other symbols, some of those are the giant king salmon (state fish), the willow ptarmigan (state bird), gold (state mineral), forget-me-not (state flower), the Sitka spruce (state tree),… that can be seen on Alaska Day Festival.

2. How People Celebrate The Alaska Festival

The Alaska Day festival is usually held in the city of Sitka, Alaska. It’s a 3 days fest, including plenty of activities like a mayor’s proclamation, a music concert, dance performances, costume ball featuring period costumes, an army band, and so much more.

On Alaska Day Festival, a re-enactment of the 1867 ceremony occurs involving the raising of the United States flag on top of Castle Hill, which is accompanied by ceremonial music. Many people in the armed forces also join in a memorial service at the Sitka National Cemetery. After that, there is a parade by school bands, costumed participants, marching units, to name a few.

How People Celebrate The Alaska Festival
A parade on Alaska Day to celebrate the history of Sitka

Alaska Day is also an official state holiday. So during this time, all the court systems, state government offices, state libraries, many businesses and schools are closed. Alaska residents often take a day off. If the holiday falls on Saturday or Sunday, it is observed on Friday before or the following Monday.

3. Top Idea Women Outfits To Wear At Alaska Day Festival

The Alaska Day Festival is a historical festival, so it may be inappropriate to wear fancy clothes. Let’s just keep it as simple as possible. Polite, effortless, and comfortable is the main priority.

The weather in Alaska in October may trigger you if you wear something too ‘less”. The suggestion is, layer your clothes. You will find it more pleasant when you are out all day and can’t change your outfits if the weather becomes erratic.

Top Idea Women Outfits To Wear At Alaska Day Festival
Outstanding outfits for women in Alaska Day

The best option on this occasion is a white tee shirt paired with skinny jeans. You could wear a blazer or a jacket in case it is a little bit cool in the evening. For the bottom, sneakers or boots are fine. High heels would be good too but if only you get outside for a couple of hours, not an entire day. 

Here is all the information that you might want to know about the Alaska Day Festival. Alaska Day is coming and the holiday will start soon. We hope that you will have a great time there and enjoy the festival atmosphere with your company.

You may also like: 4 Reasons Why You Should Visit Bonnaroo Music And Arts Festival This Year

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