Welcome to Sitka, Alaska

Alaska Day 2009 - VIEW THE PHOTOS

On October 18, 1867, just two years after the end of the Civil War and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, in a brief ceremony on what is called Castle Hill in downtown Sitka, Alaska, the ownership of the vast territory of Alaska was transferred from Russian ownership to that of the United States of America. The deal was signed by U. S. and Russian emissaries on March 27th of that year and cost the United States $7.2 Million, or about two cents an acre.

Since 1954 when the first Alaska Day Celebration was held in Sitka to commemorate the anniversary of the transfer of Alaska from Russia into U. S. hands, the week long festival has grown to include many events and activities.

Here's their website: http://alaskadayfestival.org/festival.html

Recently, Reader's Digest, in an article titled "8 People, Places and Things We Love About America", included the "Alaska Day Festival, Sitka, Alaska: On October 18, 1867, the U.S. acquired "the last frontier" from the Russians. To mark the anniversary, men grow period-worthy beards and women wear hoopskirts and bonnets." http://www.rd.com/your-america-inspiring-people-and-stories/best-of-america-just-for-fun-awards/article141292-6.html

This year's events were shared by Governor Sean Parnell and Lt. Governor Craig Campbell, as well as other dignitaries and a large contingent of Army soldiers, Alaska National Guardsmen and U. S. Coast Guardsmen and women.

Photos that follow were taken at the Variety Show, which featured a barbershop quartet called the Sitka Breakers, the Barbershop Belles, recitations by prose and poetry contest winners and a beard-judging contest, where helpless contestants had their chin-growth and mustaches twisted and pulled by the lady judges.

More pictures were added from the Army Band Concert featuring a lot of 50's tunes, and great interaction between the band members and the young people in attendance.

The annual pie sale at the Lutheran Church, the Keystone Kops, the New Archangel Russian Dancers, activities at the Pioneer Home's annual Community Tea and some of the period costumes and gowns are included with this year's gallery.

The annual parade was the largest ever this year with the most-ever military presence. A fly-by by four Coast Guard helicopters added to the excitement as did gun salutes, big Shriner guys in little red cars, and candy thrown from the windows of parade vehicles to young people along the parade route.

The culminating event, the flag-raising reenactment on Castle Hill, was also the best-attended ever.