Bear Paw Festival kicks off in Eagle River

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - It's the largest and longest running community fun event in Eagle River, drawing crowds from all over Alaska. The Bear Paw Festival is underway with carnival rides and a whole lot of fun starting off a weekend full of food, music, local art and more.

This year's theme is "Shake, Rattle & Rebuild." Eagle River was one of the hardest hit areas from the November 30 earthquake, but it didn't rattle the fun away. Event organizers say they could not hold the festival without acknowledging those who were affected. In that spirit, they took the 2019 festival as an opportunity to celebrate the resiliency and generosity of spirit that the community has shown to each other over these past few months.

The festival officially kicked off Thursday with the opening of the carnival rides. Vendor booths open up Friday at 12 p.m. with plenty of food, Alaskan art, and other fun events on tap, with a little something for everyone to enjoy.

"We come here every year, it's super fun to come to Bear Paw. It's always cool to check out the vendors and local art and whatever they're selling, it's always fun to look there," said festival goer, Claire Moreland. "Right now we have some family visiting in town and so it's really cool to show them some Eagle Rover experiences."

Other events lined up for the weekend are the Bear Paw Festival Grand Parade kicking off Saturday morning at 11 a.m.

There's the popular Slippery Salmon Olympics where teams of two race against the clock and each other with a real salmon in their hands while tackling an obstacle course. The Slippery Salmon Olympics happen at 1:15 p.m. on Saturday.

The human foosball tournament, Bear Paw yoga, and horse drawn carriage rides also take place on Saturday.

Things start to wind down on Sunday with Bear Paws Got Talent, ice cream eating contest, and much more.

For a full list of events and times visit the Bear Paw Festival's website.

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