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This Weekend: Fests, stocks and lots and lots of colored chalk

Ben Anderson,Katie Medred
Jazz in Spenard, people-watching in Chicken, wordsmithing on the Kenai, color running with Pride: all the ingredients for an Alaska weekend worth remembering, before it's even begun. Scooter Lowrimore / cc via flickr

Ben: Katie, in light of our decidedly un-Alaska weather around much of the state lately, I'm tempted to suggest we do an outdoors-only edition of This Weekend. I mean, they're predicting high temperatures into the 90s in Fairbanks over the weekend. That's legitimately hot, not just the Alaska kind of hot where we say, "it's hot," and still leave our dogs in the car. 

But as always, there's just too much going on around the state to justify ruling out some great (indoor) events. But at least I can start out with an outdoor event.

On Saturday, Alaska's first-ever "Color Run" -- a 5-kilometer fun run in which participants get plastered with colored corn starch along the race course -- will see an estimated 15,000 runners take to the streets in Anchorage. If everyone shows up, Color Run will be the biggest race in Alaska history; it could be interesting to see how it goes off. It'll wind its way from the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, to downtown, around the Park Strip, and back, so heads up on the road closures. It kicks off at 8 a.m. Saturday -- that's a change from the original start time of 10 a.m.

For those who want to get into the Interior and enjoy that near-100-degree heat, there's Chickenstock, a two-day music festival in the tiny namesake Alaska community of Chicken. It takes place at the Chicken Gold Camp Saturday and Sunday, so get there early and pitch a tent if you want a good spot to enjoy the (inevitably fascinating) people-watching.

And is it just me, or is putting "stock" after some word the laziest way to name a music festival? There are a couple of Alaska festivals guilty of this, and countless others Outside. It's like putting "gate" after every political scandal.

But I digress. What else is going on this weekend, Katie?

Katie: Bengate. Benstock. Yeah, I can see what you mean.

I prefer "fest" myself. You can't go wrong with a good ol' fashion fest. Ponyfest ... cutefest ... snugglefest ... breakfastfest ... you can see my point, right? That's why I'm pretty sure that the Spenard JazzFest will be better than say ... Ben-a-palooza.

JazzFest has a number of good-time events lined up for this weekend. On Friday, 7 p.m. at Organic Oasis, SJF will host "AK Jazz Song of the Year," a juried jazz competition which aims to encourage fresh new talent in Anchorage. Then on Saturday, at the Spenard Farmer's Market, SJF brings you "The Jam Jar," a.k.a. free jazz at the Market with the Alex Cruver trio, from 10 a.m. until market close at 2 p.m. Later in the evening, JazzFest's "flagship event" will take sail at Organic Oasis."Originals Only," featuring original Alaska made music, starts at 4 p.m and runs late, tickets are $15 at the door.

That's a good lookn' fest, ehy Ben?

Speaking of a good lookn' fest, it's also the last week of PrideFest this weekend. There will be lots of fun events including the ever popular Pride parade--which is actually a PrideMarch/ Street dance party this year. The event starts in front of Snow City Cafe in downtown Anchorage at 11 a.m. Saturday, bring your moves and maybe some glitter if you're feeln' feisty. 

Ben: I bring glitter everywhere anyway. Nothing throws off an attacker like a handful of glitter to the face -- way more effective than mace.

Y'know Katie, we tend to get a little city-centric at This Weekend, but there's a good opportunity for some off-the-path Alaskans to enjoy a couple of free concerts out in the Southwest Alaska communities of Dillingham and Naknek. Part of the never-ending Bristol Bay salmon PR blitz, artist Si Kahn will perform in Dillingham Friday and Naknek on Saturday.

Also taking place this weekend and into next week in Homer is the Kachemak Bay Writers' Conference, where aspiring wordsmiths from around Alaska will meet to discuss their work and attend workshops with various publishing folks and guest presenters. There's no denying it's a good networking opportunity: it's where Alaska author Eowyn Ivey first got her manuscript for "The Snow Child" noticed, and now she's a Pulitzer Prize finalist. Crazy world, ain't it?

Katie: You make a compelling point, Ben. Glitter is an incredible force. Equally as incredible: nature, BBQs and the University of Alaska Fairbanks. Put those last three together and you get a regrettable (but much needed) fundraiser, UAF's BBQ and garage sale to benefit the Galena flood relief.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks will host a fundraiser garage sale and barbecue Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Harper Building on Geist Road. There will be baked goods, hot dogs and hamburgers for consumption and miscellaneous goods for purchase. All currency collected will be donated to Galena flood relief efforts, so come out and support those poor souls that lost so much. No pressure though...

Not to go back to Anchorage, but I have to sneak in one last Southcentral event before we sign off, Ben, only because it's so epic, and likely to confuse regular Anchorageites, unless, you know, they're in the know.

The 5th Annual Ronde Van Anchorage is going down in our fair city on Sunday. The 100 kilometer bike "dance" begins at 9 a.m. at Fire Island Rustic Bakery (parking available at Central Jr. High School). Riders can register between 8 a.m. and 8:45 a.m. the morning of. The event is a fund raiser for Bicycle Commuters of Anchorage, a good cause, I'd say.

Alright, Benjamin, anything else you want to add?

Ben: No.

Katie: Well then, let's hope it doesn't rain.

Ben: *sigh*

Katie: I shouldn't have said that...