Alaska State Fair: Get Up and Get Happy! August 21st, 2009

Categories: Events, Seasons

As a child, the highlight of every single fall for me was the Alaska State Fair. Each August, my family of six would pack into the mini-van and head to the fair. We entered all sorts of things in the exhibits; from goats and rabbits to pineapple upside-down cake and beaded barrettes and received a colorful array of ribbons. We each have had favorite rides that have changed through the years, but mine has always been the Gravitron!

The Alaska State Fair is fun for the entire family. Vendors come from all over the state to offer one of a kind items, Alaska memorabilia, and fantastic foods. You can relive the classic carnival tastes with the Husky Burger, Slippery Gulch, Dippin’ Dots, Hoop ‘n’ Hula Milk and Cookies, Becky’s Kettle Corn, and Hawaiian Shaved Ice vendors.

The State Fair is open from August 27th to September 7th. Weekday hours are 12 PM – 10 PM, weekend hours are 10 AM – 10 PM.

Come out for a day of excitement, delicious foods and fun for everyone!

Age Weekday Weekend
FREE (5 and younger)

For more information about concerts, daily schedules and special events at the Alaska State Fair, visit their website at!

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Stamp Cache: Sale! August 20th, 2009

Categories: Events

I received this as an email this morning from Linda Pendergrass, owner of the Stamp Cache in the Koslosky Center of downtown Palmer.

Stamp Cache 2nd Anniversary Celebration Continues!

Thursday through Saturday ALL Great Impressions, Penny Black, AMUSE, Magenta, and Northwoods stamps currently in stock will be an additional 10% off.

Thursday only ALL cardstock and pattern paper will be an additional 10% off.

Friday only ALL Tim Holtz and Ranger products will be an additional 10% off.

Friday and Saturday only there will be grab bags: $5, $6 and $7 each.

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Slack’s Sugar Shack August 14th, 2009

Categories: Businesses, Restaurants and Cafes

Slack’s Sugar Shack on Evergreen St has been in business forever. Fifteen years, to be exact, and for a nineteen year old, that feels like forever. Nedra Slack, the sole baker and owner, makes the best donuts around. What makes them so good? She says it’s because of all the “L-O-V-E put in each one”.

Slack’s isn’t like a boring box-store bakery. They use the recipes your grandma used and fry the donuts in peanut oil. After all, don’t fix what ain’t broke, right? Every delicious product is made right there from scratch. You can find old-fashioned donuts, pastries, cookies, breads, pies, cakes, coffee and other beverages, and can order anything on the menu a day in advance. They don’t offer espresso drinks, but you can get them right next door at the locally owned Purple Moose Espresso.

“We’re definitely locally supported,” says Heather Reed, who’s been working at Slack’s for the last three and a half years. There’s a local lunch crowd besides the morning donut and coffee people. Soups in homemade breadbowls draw in people of all ages. Chili, clam chowder and vegetable soup are just some of the delicious options.

During the holidays, you can purchase tasty gift baskets,
cookie trays and pies, as well as seasonal breads. 

You can order cakes for special occasions for any theme, including weddings. Ms. Slack will trace photos out by hand with frosting, instead of making an ‘edible image’ out of rice paper.

Slack’s Sugar Shack’s hours are 6AM-3PM, Tuesday through Saturday. To call in an order, dial (907) 745-4777, or fax it to (907) 746-3668.

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Farming in Palmer August 11th, 2009

Categories: Seasons

As mid-August looms in the near future, farmers around Palmer are extremely busy!

You can find fresh produce at the Friday Flings, Farmers Market at “The Store” in the Butte every day from 1-6, and some right off the farms.

People are working hard to grow that giant produce the Matanuska Susitna Valley is famous for! I helped some relatives of mine with their garden recently and noticed they have a huge cabbage surrounded by a couple layers of fencing. It just might prove to be some competition in the Giant Cabbage Weighoff at the Alaska State Fair in a couple weeks!

 I drove around the outskirts of Palmer today and took some photos and ‘watched the grass grow’. Here’s what I saw.

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Underground Palmer July 24th, 2009

Categories: History

Are they utilidors? Are they bomb shelters? Are they underground hallways to avoid snow?  I have heard rumors about these tunnels for years.  Some people said they were put there to allow access between houses during World War II, people joked about other possible purposes.

Janet Kincaid, a longtime Palmeranian and owner of the Colony Inn and Cafe knows about the tunnels because the building that she owns is a terminus of the tunnels. She was going to meet me there but we had a scheduling mixup.  So as I waited for Janet, Mike Fisher jovially volunteered to share what he knew.

“What many people don’t know about the Colony Inn”, Mike Fisher told me, “is that there’s just about as much of the building below ground as there is above!”. The apparently 2 story building has two floors below ground as well. He took me down two flights of stairs behind the “Employees Only” door and we came out into a large open room, almost two stories high.

The walls were cement, as was the floor. But what caught my eye was the hugest boiler I’ve ever seen.  It was easily 7 ft tall and 10 ft long. I was told that the tunnels under Palmer were built in the 1930’s, along with the rest of the main buildings like the high school (borough building), Trading Post (The Red Beet) and Creamery and Warehouse (old Matanuska Maid building). The tunnels had pipes that were used to heat the many buildings all at once from two huge boilers. One boiler was at Matanuska Maid and I stood directly in front of the other one.  

Mike showed me into a dark room adjacent to the boiler room and told me it was the coal room. The ceiling was just as high but at the very top of the west facing wall was an opening. He said colonists would back trucks up to the opening and shovel coal down into the room as fuel for the boilers.

Many of the tunnels have since been caved in for road safety, as most go directly underneath the road system. The opening of one came out in the boiler room, two stories under the Colony Inn, but it was caved in and covered over in cement. You can still see the outline.

If you talk to some of the more adventurous junior high school students from a couple years ago, you can probably find people who’ve been down in the tunnels.  One of the known accesses is fenced off and is illegal to enter, but that hasn’t stopped a few of my acqaintances. I’ve been told that certain buildings have been severely damaged by fires started down in tunnels by careless youth.

Have more information on this topic? Please contact me and share your knowledge! If any of the stated facts are incorrect, again, please let me know. This is by no means the end of my research on this interesting part of Palmer’s history.

*The first photo is of the large boiler. The second is of the coal room, note the opening near the top of the photo.

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