Lets Rondy! In 1935 Anchorage had less than 3000 residents, three friends got together and decided Anchorage needed a festival to coincide with the customary time that miners and trappers came into town with their goods to sell or trade. They recognized that winters were difficult on fellow Alaskans. After-all, the cold winters and significantly more difficult traveling conditions resulted in residents suffering from cabin-fever, a common syndrome for Alaskans who tended to stay indoors and didn’t have the opportunity to socialize or exercise as much during the long, dark winter months. They named the event, Fur Rendezvous or Rondy for short! Early events included hockey, skiing, basketball, boxing and a children’s dog sled race. Many residents also showed up for the parade and city bonfire. Through the years after the initial Fur Rendezvous new events arose and the event became more and more popular. Since then the Fur Rendezvous has earned a national and international reputation for being one of the best winter events in the world.
Fur Rendezvous runs for 10 days with the bulk of the activities being on two weekends. Anchorage closes off the hub streets of downtown Anchorage and dumps more snow on the streets to turn them into sled dog trails. The first weekend Fur Rondy hosts the World Sled Dog Sprint Races and the second weekend is topped off by the beginning of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race which has its ceremonial start in downtown Anchorage.
Fur Rendezvous is a crazy-fun, uniquely Alaskan winter festival that includes uniquely Alaskan events such as Fur auctions, dog sled races, and native craft shows to outrageously fun events such as ice bowling, outhouse races, a carnival, frostbite foot race, fireworks, snow sculptures and the Miners & Trappers Ball. The downtown hotels are filled with visitors from outside of Anchorage, the streets are howling with sled dogs and where else can you run with a herd of reindeer!
Fur Rondy is an important milestone in our winter – a time to get out and celebrate the Alaskan way of life. For visitors, Fur Rondy is probably the best time of winter to visit Alaska. The winter days are gaining light, there are terrific events to fill your days and evenings, and you can also experience the beginning of the Iditarod Sled Dog Race.