Guest Chick: Keenan Powell

What’s Fur Rondy, you ask? Welcome Chicks guest Keenan Powell, author of the wonderful debut mystery, DEADLY SOLUTION. She”ll tell you all about this unique Alaska tradition…

Alaska’s Fur Rondy!

New Orleans has Mardi Gras. New York City has the St. Patrick’s Day parade. And since 1935, fur trappers have descended on Anchorage at winter’s end to sell furs, buy supplies and carouse. Over the years, Fur Rondy developed into a ten-day festival as a prelude to the Iditarod one-thousand-mile dog sled race.

Snow sculpture 2

I’m an old fair boothie from way back. I wasn’t a true carny, because I didn’t work on the rides. In high school, I manned a fundraising booth at Vacaville Fiesta Days. One time when still in high school, I was at Dixon May Fair. It was a very hot day, so I volunteered for the dunking booth just to cool off. I got soaked and the water was nasty. I will never do that again.

After I came to Alaska, I worked in booths selling balloons and doing face-painting. We worked the Talkeetna Moose Droppings Festival, the Talkeetna Bluegrass Festival, the Alaska State Fair a few times, and a rodeo in Kenai. I did this stuff because I love fairs and fair-goer excitement

On the left, Fur Rondy Fat Bike Race

If nothing else, I’d break even on the expenses and worked off all the fair food I ate. My favorite is the chocolate-dipped ice cream bars. But let me tell you, boothie work is hard, dirty work. So, I quit and now I’m just another fairgoer.

Outhouse Parade on the left (yes, you read that correctly); musher truck -whatever that is – on the right

This year, I went during the first weekend, when the temperatures were in the 20’s and there was about four inches of new snow. I walked for two and one-half hours and took photos of my favorite events. Excellent glute work-out, by the way, and as I write this the following day, I am contemplating an afternoon in a hot bath.

What about you Chicks? Fair-goers, boothies or carnies? And, what’s your favorite fair food?

Keenan Powell is the author of the Maeve Malloy series (named after her grandmother). Her debut, DEADLY SOLUTION, was released by Level Best Books in January 2018.  Visit Keenan at: FB:

22 thoughts on “Guest Chick: Keenan Powell

  1. Congrats on the book release! How exciting!
    Ah! The memories of Alaska. Personally, I didn’t like it. Not an outdoor person. But my ex loved it. I never got to Anchorage. Well, I did the the airport once. I was in Fairbanks myself..
    I do like going to the occasional festival. Depends on the theme.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Completely understandable, Hestia. I hyperventilate if I’m more than an hour away from Nordstrom’s.

    In Anchorage, there is good hiking very close by and that’s as outdoorsy as I get. Fairbanks is a different place and a different breed of person lives there. Quite a bit of art going on there, especially quilting and music.

    Around Anchorage we have a solstice fair, the Girdwood forest fair, a Renaissance fair and the Scottish games and state fair are up in Palmer. Pretty sure I can hit the ice cream truck at a different location every weekend.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. When my parents did an Alaska tour – seems like a rite of passage for seniors, LOL, so see you in ten years! – they loved Anchorage, but didn’t think much of Fairbanks. I got the impression it’s a rougher place.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Yup, Fairbanks is a frontier town and it’s much smaller than Anchorage. The only way to get freight up there is a 357 mile drive on a two lane “highway” or by plane which makes it a really expensive place to live. And the conditions are much harsher — temperatures fluctuating between 20 below to 80 beating the hell out of structures. And the architecture leans towards utilitarian. It takes a special breed to love Fairbanks.


  3. Where I grew up, the annual county fair train came in every year near my house (big deal for my brothers). I went to the fair regularly as a kid and worked it for my employer’s tent when I was in college (selling hot tubs).

    Now, I’m not that big on crowds or walking, so no fairs for me. But I do miss the funnel cakes (my favorite fair food).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’ve always been a loyal New York State Fair girl (“The Great Fair,” or just “the Fair” in my family). It’s held in Syracuse for a week through Labor Day. My Uncle Bill ran the dairy program there for years, so I spent a lot of time touring the cow barns. Fave foods? BBQ chicken and the free milk (vanilla, chocolate or strawberry, your choice!). Fave attraction? The massive annual butter sculpture, the safety house where you had to pick out all the hazards in the home of a hapless mannequin family, and the horse show (always good for a nice rest in the shady arena).

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Love the cow barn! My grandfather taught animal husbandry at Purdue so every time they came to visit, we all drove out to some farm and looked at cattle. He’s long gone but I still look at cows when I get the chance. I especially like the black Angus — they are so pretty.


  5. Fun photos, Keenan! They have outhouse races here in the U.P.– must be a cold weather thing! Like Liz, I go for the funnel cakes. Look forward to seeing you in Reno!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, that looks like quite a celebration! So interesting. Great pics! Thanks for visiting us. I can only imagine how tough the booth work would be.

    I’m with Lisa—-loved the New York State Fair! They had this cool machine that made statues by smushing plastic into a mold…and another smushing machine that turned a penny into a commemorative token (there was a lot of smushing, is what I’m saying)…also: candy apples.


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