My home is found in Alaska, a place of extreme temperatures and dazzling beauty. I was born and raised in Fairbanks, Alaska and have a storehouse of unique Alaskan experiences and memories to show for it! Tourists from all over the world visit my hometown every year, and for good reason! There are always numerous ways to discover and appreciate all that Fairbanks has to offer.
Winter, spring, summer, and fall are all lovely times of year in Alaska, especially at my family’s 160 acre homestead, 30 miles north of Fairbanks. No matter what season, there are always new and awe-filling things to discover! Winter and summer are Alaska’s two extremes, and when the temperatures of the two are compared, there is almost always over a 100-degree difference! Contrary to popular belief, Alaskans do not experience below zero temperatures year-round. In fact, in Alaska, summer tends to be rather hot! Sweltering or freezing, Fairbanks is filled with beauty of all kinds! I would love to share these beauties with those who visit my lovely town!
QUARTER FINALIST 2013 FTF TEEN TRAVEL WRITING SCHOLARSHIP
If I were to guide a group of visitors through my hometown in the winter months, the first thing I would show them would be the Aurora Borealis. Every winter, I experience the thrill of watching one of the Seven Wonders of the World dance across the starry sky. I have seen and experienced many vibrant displays of Aurora in the 18 years I have lived here and each spring, I am absolutely blown away by the arrays of Northern Lights. These only appear in the winter months and are found more frequently from December through March. Another thrill of a Fairbanks winter is the state sport: dog sled racing. This used to be the primary form of transportation in a majority of Alaska. Now, it has become a popular winter sport. Some well-known dog sled races are the Iditarod and the Yukon Quest. The annual dog sled races are only a few of many fantastic ways for visitors to truly experience Alaska’s history and culture. This is why every visitor to Alaska should come at least twice: once in the winter, and once in the summer.
If I were showing the same visitors my hometown during the summer months, I would watch the Midnight Sun with them on Summer Solstice. Every summer, the community of Fairbanks celebrates the Solstice by enjoying 24-hours of sunshine. Much of the community stays out late during the annual Solstice to enjoy baseball games and a festival. This year, I was able to join in the excitement by watching the sun never set on the horizon. It is truly an experience of a lifetime. In addition to this unique Alaskan thrill, I would invite visitors to join me in mining for one of Alaska’s richest minerals: gold. Fairbanks is well-known for it’s mining history. A song my mother always sings explains part of what made Alaska so appealing to entrepreneurs in the late 1890’s; “Go north, to Alaska! Go north, the rush is on!” sang by Johnny Horton. This was what drove thousands to brave the mountainous terrain, extreme winter climate, and the dangerous Chilkoot and White Pass trails that led toward Alaska’s very much coveted gold. Panning for gold is a popular tourist attraction in Fairbanks, not only because of its historical significance, but also because it is so enjoyable and rewarding!
The thrills and experiences that Fairbanks, Alaska has to offer are endless. These are only a very few examples that reveal why tourists should visit the town of Fairbanks; the community I call home.