Show off Skills at Alaska’s Got Talent

Alaskans, start tuning up your musical instruments … warming up those vocal cords … perfecting those dance moves … or practicing whatever other amazing talent you may have. The registration deadline for the 3rd Annual Alaska’s Got Talent competition at the Alaska State Fair is coming up on Friday, August 20! Registration is limited to the first 20 people, so don’t delay!

In addition to bragging rights, this year’s Alaska’s Got Talent winners also get to take home big prizes – $5,000 for the first place winner, $1,000 for second place, and $500 for third place!

In case you’ve missed the fun in years past, Alaska’s Got Talent is a live talent competition patterned after the popular NBC TV show, America’s Got Talent. (Did we mention that America’s Got Talent judge Howie Mandel is performing at the Fair as part of the 2010 AT&T Borealis Concert Series?)

Interested in entering the competition? Here are some things you need to know:

  • The preliminary round will be held Saturday, September 4 and the final round is on Monday, September 6. Both take place from 4 – 6 p.m. at the Heineken Stage at the Woodlot on the Fairgrounds.
  • Contestants in the preliminary round will have three minutes to show off their talent, and the winners will be selected by our panel of celebrity judges.
  • The top 10 contestants (plus one winner from each of our participating sister fairs around the state) will move on to the final round.
  • Registration forms and the $20 entry fee must be submitted by Friday, August 20. Space is limited to the first 20 contestants, so hurry and get yours in!
  • Check out our Web site for the application, rules and more important info.

Not feeling talented? You can still come and cheer on your favorite contestant!

Imagine if…you were entering the Alaska’s Got Talent competition. What talent would you show off? Comment here or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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What’s New & Exciting at the 2010 Fair?

New. Exciting. Interesting. You’ll find all of this at the 2010 Alaska State Fair, with our jam-packed line-up of new events and attractions! Here are some of our favorite new additions to the Fair schedule this year:

  • Alaska State Fair Beard Contest. Got winning whiskers? Enter them in the first annual Alaska State Fair Beard Contest! Compete for prizes and the title of Mr. Sourdough in categories including soup strainer, urban Alaskan, homesteader beard, and colonist beard.
  • Moose Calling and Tall Tails Contest, presented by Sportsman’s Warehouse. Come share your best moose call (and the adventure story behind it) – or just be entertained by the competitors’ grunts and humming, all while learning about the history and lifestyle of moose.
  • Mobile Scavenger Hunt. We’ve gone high-tech with our brand new mobile scavenger hunt! Download the free Android or iPhone app at www.SCVNGR.com, then let your phone direct you around the fairgrounds with clues. Complete challenges, collect points and win great daily and grand prizes!
  • Roller Derby. This ain’t your momma’s roller skating! The first-ever Fair-time Roller Derby pairs Anchorage’s Rage City Roller Girls with the Fairbanks Rollergirls in an outrageous, tough-hitting, action-packed event.
  • New Events at Pioneer Plaza. Pioneer Plaza is THE place to be this year for fresh entertainment – free with Fair admission! Like extreme hula hooping by Dizzy Hips – the “Jackie Chan of hula hoops.” And the magical comedy entertainment of Jeff Martin! (Did we mention these events are FREE with Fair admission?) Speaking of entertainment that’s free with Fair admission, you’ll definitely want to check out the all-new Keith King BMX Stunt Show, performing daily at the Office Court.
  • Birdman of Las Vegas, presented by Horizon Lines of Alaska. Eagles, macaws, falcons, cockatoos, owls, parrots and even a 10-foot wingspan condor perform a variety of feats in this famous show from Las Vegas! (Don’t miss the unbelievable bird-juggling stunt!)
  • Alaska State Fair Rodeo. With a new rodeo clown and a new announcer, plus all the exciting events like bull riding, double mugging and barrel racing, this year’s rodeo promises to be even more entertaining than ever! And for rodeo fans ages 21+, don’t miss the Rodeo Dance, featuring the Ken Peltier Band, on Saturday, August 28!
  • Wild and Dangerous Desert. Back by popular demand is Brad’s World Reptiles, with a brand new exhibit – Wild and Dangerous Desert! Meet the world’s largest species of snakes, come face to face with the world’s only venomous lizards, visit the rattlesnake pit, stroll down Albino Alley, check out the B.T. Barnum Museum, see terrifying tarantulas, watch the venomous snake stage show, and get hands-on encounters and photos.
  • Cavallo Equestrian Extravaganza, presented by Fred Meyer. The Cavallo riders and their horses return to the Fair this year with an all-new show featuring even more death-defying stunts fully choreographed to rich acoustic music.

For more information, visit our Web site and look for the Fair program coming out in August. Then, when you get to the Fairgrounds, be sure to pick up a daily schedule as you come in the gates!

Imagine if…you could only check out one new thing at the 2010 Fair. What new event or attraction would you choose? Comment here or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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Imagine if Contest Winners Announced!

More than 100 people entered the Alaska State Fair “Imagine if Contest” by submitting the zaniest, most fun, most creative way to finish the phrase “Imagine if…” on our Facebook page. Alaska State Fair 2010 logoWe had a tough time selecting from all the great entries, but finally narrowed it down to our top five. And the winners are…

  • “IMAGINE IF… Life was FAIR and always FUN!” From Happy Dawn
  • “IMAGINE IF… We could all be a kid again, just for a day!” From Wendy Barber Rosko
  • “IMAGINE IF… You could read the mind of a two-year-old.” From Lia Keller
  • “IMAGINE IF… You could fly like a bird, play like a kid and spend like a zillionaire.” From Cheryl Eluska
  • “IMAGINE IF… you got to the Fair and all the animals were dressed in clothes walking around looking at people in stalls.” From Jennifer Dallara

Our winners will receive a one-of-a-kind t-shirt featuring their phrase (we’ll post a mock-up of the t-shirt our Facebook page as soon as it’s ready). Plus, we may use their winning words throughout the 2010 Fair!

Congratulations again to our winners, and thank you to everyone else who submitted “Imagine if” phrases!

Imagine if … you could get your very own “Imagine if” t-shirt. Which winning phrase would you want on your t-shirt and why? Comment here or share your thoughts on our Facebook page!

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iPhone App Makes Ticket-Buying Easy

Buying Alaska State Fair admission and concert tickets is easier than ever. In fact, they may already be in your pocket! Well, sort of. With the new iPhone app from ETIX, iPhone owners can buy Fair admission and concert tickets online, download the tickets to their iPhone, and simply scan the tickets at the Fair gate and concert entrance to get in! How easy is that?

Plus, the ETIX app is free. Just go to the App Store, search for ETIX and download to your iPhone!

There are a couple of cool things about the ETIX app – check it out:

  • How often have you shown up at an event, and realized you left the tickets at home? No more! With this cool, new app, your tickets go wherever you and your phone go!
  • It’s designed to be very simple and easy to use. Just download and start using it!
  • It’s paperless ticketing – a greener, more environmentally friendly option.
  • It’s great for last-minute ticket purchases. Imagine you’re at the Fair and hear about a cool concert you want to go to, but don’t have tickets. Just pull out your iPhone, buy the tickets and head to the show!
  • The app makes it easy to invite your friends to join you – just click “share with friends” and you can spread the news via e-mail, text or Facebook.
  • You can either make a one-time purchase or save your credit card information in the app. If you save your info, you can easily make future purchases with just the click of a button!

Don’t have an iPhone? You can also buy concert tickets and Fair admission online and print at home. Just visit the Fair Web site. And, of course, you can purchase concert tickets at the Fair box office during the Fair.

And while it’s not available yet, there are plans to expand the app to work with other smart phones in the future. We’ll keep you posted.

Imagine if…you had the ETIX app. Where’s the zaniest place you might be while purchasing tickets with your phone? Comment here or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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Official Alaska State Fair Beer Announced

For the very first time, there will be an official beer at the Alaska State Fair this year! After a taste-off between two beers last week, we decided on a delicious cream ale from Kassik’s Kenai Brew Stop. The brew will be flowing at the Oasis Beer Garden and the Sluicebox for the duration of the 2010 Fair. We’re working on a name and label design now – stay tuned for updates!

Why have an official Fair brew? According to Sheri Musgrave, our beverage manager, the goal was to promote both the Fair and Alaska-made products, and recognize our hard-working local breweries.

So how did we choose Kassik’s from all the great Alaska breweries? There were a couple of deciding factors. First, Kassik’s was one of the People’s Choice award winners two years running at our popular Mighty Matanuska Brewfest. They’re also an Alaska brewery. And they were able to brew the quantities we require for our thirsty fairgoers. “That immediately put them at the forefront,” Sheri says. “Plus, we loved the beer!”

After we selected the brewer, we had to choose between two great Kassik’s brews – a blonde and the cream ale. A group of lucky Fair staff members gathered for a taste-off last week and, at the end of the day, the cream ale came out the winner. Check out a short video of the taste-off on YouTube (a big thanks to Brian Mead for creating the video!).

“Both beers tasted great, but blondes are very popular to brew. We were afraid it would be lost. The cream ale is more unique. It will be the only cream ale at the Fair,” Sheri says.

In fact, the beer is one of the only Alaska-brewed cream ales in the state! And it’s so exclusive, it’s currently only available at Buckets Sports Grill in Soldotna. According to Debbie Kassik, owner of Kassik’s, since introducing the beer in 2008, they’ve made 10 batches for Buckets, which equates to 1,550 gallons or 12,400 pints!

So what makes the cream ale so special? Officially, the beer is light golden in color, with low malt, a hop aroma, and a slightly sweet malt and corn flavor. Some of our taster comments included “smooth,” “good bubble,” “clean finish,” “beautiful color,” “no hoppy aftertaste” and “good balance.”

“It’s a great thirst-quencher on a summer day while enjoying the many events the Fair has to offer,” Debbie says.

If you really enjoy the cream ale at this year’s Fair, be sure to check out Kassik’s spiced cream ale at the 2010 Mighty Matanuska Brewfest, which will be held Friday and Saturday, October 15 – 16 at Raven Hall on the fairgrounds.

Brewers and beer-lovers alike will definitely want to be at this year’s Brewfest, as attendees will be able to weigh in on the selection of the 2011 official Fair beer and brewer! “We’ll definitely be continuing the official beer next year,” Sheri says. “We’ll see what works this year, what doesn’t and what we can do better next year.”

Imagine if…you were in charge of selecting the official Fair beer. What beer would you choose and why? Comment here or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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Youth Spirit Contest Deadline Extended!

Hey, are you an Alaska high school or college student? Want to win some cold hard cash (up to $1,000 bucks!) Alaska State Fair 2010 logoPLUS season admission, a parking pass, two concert tickets, meal chits and more from the Alaska State Fair? Then you don’t want to miss out on this – the Alaska State Fair Youth Spirit Contest is now open to ALL Alaska high school and college students aged 16 – 21, and we’ve extended the application deadline to Friday, July 23!

Are you a good contender for the contest? Take our quick quiz to find out:

  • Do you love the Alaska State Fair?
  • Are you a “people person” who craves excitement and activity?
  • Want to win one of three cash prizes – $1,000, $700 and $500 – plus Fair season admission, a parking pass, two concert tickets, meal chits and more?
  • Have some experience at or knowledge of the Fair – or are willing and interested in learning more?
  • Can tell us in 500 words or more “why I love the Fair”?
  • Available to be at the Fair on Thursday, August 26 for the finalist competition, featuring some old-time Alaskan activities including a fishing demo, goat milking, potato digging and snowshoe relay race?
  • Interested in using skills you already have – and learning some new ones – by getting behind the scenes at the 2010 Fair?
  • Excited about helping out the events department for a total of 35 – 40 hours during the 12-day Fair? (That’s only about 3.5 hours a day – and we’re happy to work around your schedule!)

If you answered “YES,” then this is the contest for you. Our selected youth spirit representatives will get to work behind the scenes at some cool events like concerts, Grandstand events, Kids Day activities, Homesteader Games, Karaoke Contest, Parent/Child Lookalike Contest, and attractions like the Cavallo equestrian extravaganza, Wild and Dangerous Desert exhibit, and the Birdman of Las Vegas show! (And don’t worry, we’re talking about doing fun stuff…not just taking tickets.)

Whatever your interest – and whatever your schedule – we’ll work with you to put together a fun and flexible experience at the Fair. It’s a win-win for everyone…we get a few extra hands to help with events, and you get some experience, cash and other prizes out of the deal. So…whaddya say? You in? Submit your application today!

Imagine if…you won the Youth Spirit Contest. What are some of the events you’d like to learn about and help with at the 2010 Fair? Comment here or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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Big Fun, Big Savings at the Fair

Your time at the Alaska State Fair should be big on fun – and big on savings! There are tons of ways to save at the 2010 Fair – check it out!

  • Beat the rush – buy early. Save $1 on each Fair admission when you buy online by August 25! Just visit our Web site and print at home. (Convenience fees apply.)
  • Get a good-any-day six-pack. New this year is our six-pack of daily Fair admissions – good any day of the Fair. A six-pack of adult admissions is $60 and a youth or senior six-pack is just $30 – up to 21 percent savings! Order online at our Web site by August 25. (Convenience fees apply.)
  • Cash in at Costco. From August 1 – 25, you can buy a two-pack of Fair admission at Costco. Choose from an adult two-pack for $18.99 or a youth or senior two-pack for $10.99! (Sorry, two-packs can’t be mixed.)
  • Don’t miss $2 Buck Thursday. Thursday, August 26 is the opening day of the Fair – and it’s also $2 Buck Thursday. That means you can get into the grounds for just $2 between noon and 2 p.m.
  • Save a bundle on Buddy Days. You’ll save 50 percent on carnival rides and Fair admission on Dr. Pepper Holiday Buddy Days:  Wednesday and Thursday, September 1 – 2 from 1 – 6 p.m. To save at the Fair gates, just pick up a coupon at a Holiday Station (no purchase required). Turn it in at the Fair gate and, with your purchase of an admission ticket, you’ll receive a second admission of equal or lesser value free! To save at the carnival, just buy your tickets to ride and your buddy rides free! (No coupon required.)
  • Money-saving military discounts. Member of the military? Get your discounted admission tickets at Information Tickets and Travel on Elmendorf Air Force Base – they’re just $8 for adults and $5 for youth or seniors. And they’re good any day of the Fair!

Just so you know…when it comes to Fair admission, youth are ages 6 – 12, adults are 13 – 64, and seniors are 65+.

Imagine if…you saved big at the Fair. How would you spend your extra dollars – a show, a souvenir, an extra helping of Fair food? Comment here or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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Concert Ticket Winner Announced

Thousands of you entered to win two free tickets to the concert of your choice at the 2010 Alaska State Fair…and the lucky winner is Tami Foster of Anchorage!

There were three easy ways to enter – by becoming a Fair Facebook fan or signing up to receive mobile or e-mail updates from the Fair – and we chose the winner in a random drawing on June 30.

Tami, who entered the contest by becoming a Facebook fan, picked Shinedown out of the 12 entertainers featured in the 2010 AT&T Borealis Concert Series.

“I am super excited! I never win anything, much less tickets to my favorite band!” Tami said. “They are an amazing band and I didn’t think I would get to have the opportunity to see them in Alaska. Brent Smith, the lead singer, can sing me the phone book and that guy would rock!”

Tami already had tickets to attend the concert with two of her friends, but after winning the two free tickets, she can also take her son and his best friend. “I didn’t think they would be able to join me and now they can,” she said.

A lifelong Alaskan, Tami has been going to the Fair for more than 30 years. Her favorite thing about the Fair is all the great food, and her best Fair memory was taking her son to the Fair for the first time when he was 2 years old.

“It was wonderful to see his face light up at all the people and entertainment,” she said.

What is Tami most looking forward to at the Fair this year? “Seeing Shinedown…they really are pretty fantastic!”

While this contest is all wrapped up, be sure to keep your eye out for other great ways to win, like with our “Imagine if Contest!” Check out our recent blog post for all the details.

Imagine if…the gates to the 2010 Fair had just opened. What’s the first thing you would do at this year’s Fair? Comment here or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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Learning is Fun at the Fair

Sure, the Alaska State Fair is a lot of fun – but did you know it’s also educational? With all the exhibits, attractions, activities, events and vendors, there are plenty of opportunities to learn at the Fair – all while having a great time!

Here are some ways that fairgoers of all ages can mix fun with learning at the Fair:

  • Explore the exhibits. “Almost everything in Exhibits is educational, and it is truly the backbone of the educational aspect of the Fair,” says Pam Meekin, our vendor and exhibits manager. There’s something for everyone, from the woodworking, fiber arts, quilting and sewing demonstrations in Irwin Exhibits … to the Cooperative Extension Service home arts demonstrations in Hoskins Exhibits … to milking demonstrations, livestock shows, petting zoo and baby chick hatching in Farm Exhibits! You can even venture over to the recycle sorting center to get a behind-the-scenes look at our recycling program.
  • Attend the attractions. There are plenty of opportunities for hands-on learning in the Creation Station this year, with the return of Brad’s World Reptiles and his brand new exhibit – Wild and Dangerous Desert! The Alaska Sealife Center also returns to the Fair this year to share about everything from Steller sea lions to sea ducks, and stranded animals to salmon with their interactive exhibits, fun activities and knowledgeable interpreters.
  • Act on activities. Our daily schedule is jam-packed with fun and educational activities, such as the Healthy Living Activities on Monday, August 30. Learn about health, emergency response, outdoor safety, nutrition and more! Or discover what it takes to make the Fair gardens grow by taking an interactive garden tour, led daily by our knowledgeable staff.
  • Engage with events. There’s no shortage of fun and educational events at the Fair. Brand new this year – the Moose Calling and Tall Tails contest on Saturday, September 4. Find out about the history and lifestyle of moose, while being entertained by the moose calling competitors! You can also learn what it takes to become an Olympic athlete or an Iditarod musher by attending our two meet and greets. Mix and mingle with some of Alaska’s favorite Olympians on Friday, September 3, or chat up an Iditarod musher on Saturday, September 4.
  • Visit with a vendor. There are hundreds of vendors at the Fair, and many of them are there to share educational information on a wide range of topics such as health, the environment, outdoor safety and more!

Watch our Web site for more information on these and other exciting educational opportunities at the 2010 Fair. The new site launches July 11!

Imagine if…you could become an expert about anything at the 2010 Fair. What would you choose to learn about? Comment here or share your thoughts on our Facebook page.

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