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Ester Fest brings the community together for a musical fundraiser

Published: Aug. 16, 2021 at 3:39 PM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - The annual local music festival “Ester Fest” took place over the weekend, with a wide array of musical acts, local food trucks, and other attractions.

The Ester park is separate from the Fairbanks North Star Borough Parks & Recreation department and is maintained, paid for, and operated by volunteers with the non-profit Ester Community Association. Annual fundraisers like Ester Fest, which took place Saturday, help keep the park funded and in good condition.

Meagan Scheer, an Ester Community Association Board Member told us, “Ester Fest is our big fundraiser that we do for the park every year. All the funds that we bring in from Ester Fest go directly to maintenance of the park, go towards making it accessible for everyone - and we are super proud to say that we did just get an accessible bathroom. We want to make sure that the park is accessible for everybody and fun.”

As the park is an outdoor venue with lots of room for distancing, masking was not required, though anyone who had COVID symptoms was be required to stay home. Vaccinations were also available onsite.

Lizzy Talbot, the original mastermind of Ester Fest explained the origins of the event, saying “It started about 5 years ago. We had just decided we were going to purchase the park, and we were sitting around after a board meeting figuring how we were going to pay for this park we just signed the paperwork for. I was like, ‘why don’t we throw a music festival?’ And they said, ‘well why don’t you?’”

This year’s festival featured a varied line-up of some of Fairbanks’ top musicians, as well as featured acts from artists as far south as Seattle and Austin. Some of the musical acts included the Clarence Pate Jazz Project, Avery Wolves, and the Skidmarks.

Talbot said, “The first year all of the musicians volunteered, we made our own food, we flipped our own burgers, we did everything ourselves. Then as it grew we realized food trucks and getting the community involved a little bit more would be great, and we started making enough profit to where we felt comfortable paying the bands, and a lot of them donate the money back and it goes directly to pay for the mortgage. So it’s a really fun way to raise funds and stay connected to the rest of the community around us.”

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