Fairbanks hosts 2022 Winter Solstice Festival

The multi-event winter solstice festival is celebrating the holiday season.
Published: Dec. 6, 2022 at 5:11 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - Events celebrating the holiday season are nothing new in Fairbanks, and this year several yearly traditions are being combined into a Winter Solstice Festival downtown.

The Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center, the Fairbanks North Star Borough (FNSB) Parks and Recreation Department, and the Downtown Association of Fairbanks, among others, are working to get the word out about family activities.

The series of events starts Friday, December 9, and includes a Holiday Bazaar at Morris Thompson, free pictures with a reindeer at Golden Heart Plaza, and Moose on the Loose - a scavenger hunt designed to take Fairbanks on a journey through local businesses.

Olivia Dowling, Owner of Golden Heart Consulting, said, “A bunch of these entities were doing their efforts independently, but this year we’re trying to build community and make it a really exciting event by combining all the efforts into one event, the Winter Solstice Festival.”

Dowling added, “The people that we’re talking to for the FEDC’s [Fairbanks Economic Development Corporation] Moose on the Loose might be different than the people that would normally attend the Holiday Bazaar at the Morris Thompson Center, so by combining efforts and combining audiences we’re hoping to engage the community at a broader level.”

There will also be a Winter Lights Walk at Griffin Park along the Chena River. For that project, trees along the park will be beautified until January 1.

This event is put on by the borough, and involves businesses in the community each sponsoring a tree at the park. “They can decorate it however they like, and then it stays up through Griffin Park for the community to enjoy. Then in turn, the community has the opportunity to vote for which tree they believe is their favorite - and then that winning business, whoever decorated the winning tree, gets to donate the proceeds of the event to a charity of their choosing,” Dowling said.

The festival continues until Saturday, December 17, culminating in a fireworks show at Golden Heart Plaza. Observers of the fireworks are advised not to try to view them from the surface of the Chena River, as the ice may be unstable and hazardous at this time of year.