Friday, July 29, 2016

Golden Days Parade Final Part.

This is the last day of sharing pictures from last weekends parade.  I hope you are enjoying these.  I always enjoy seeing the part of the parade to the front of our float as they move off in action.  The funniest part of the whole parade was when the Zamboni stopped dead and it took several minutes and a bunch of people to get it pushed off to the side.  They finally got it started after our float passed by.
Zamboni up close

Zamboni off to the left of the picture.
The Zamboni is representing Chena Hot Springs which is a resort area bout 25 miles out side of town.  They raise their own veggies using the geothermal energy.  This is also a great spot to view the aurora while swimming in the heated pool at night.

Below is the float from the Alaska University Productions.  The lady practicing in it did some great work.
A Trapeze Artist                     

Everts Air Freight Company

Above is the famous Everts plane representing Everts Air Freight service which hauls all matter of freight to all the surrounding villages. Below is the afternoon tea from the seniors who live by Santa Claus.
 According to the sign carried by one of the guys riding the float next to us "Seniors Rock!"  This group came from North Pole with Santa.
Seniors from the North Pole
 This picture shows a roller skate that is part of the roller derby entry.
The Roller Derby Roller Skate

And of course what parade is complete without Santa Claus even in the month of July.  He came over from North Pole and rode on a truck pulled train.  We were number 53 and he was number 55 in the line-up.
Santa Claus from North Pole

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Golden Days Parade Part 2

More pictures from the parade that took place on July 23, 2016 in Fairbanks, Alaska.  All the pictures were taken before the parade actually starts.  I grabbed a few pictures to entertain everyone and the first one for today is of the band and their float. 
Fairbanks Community Band

The community band is made up of all volunteers from all walks of life.  They have played in the parade for many, many, years and is lots of fun.

Water Safety
 Notice the traditionally Alaskan Way that the water safety message is given to the audience.  I think that might the moose found off at the knotty shop which sells wooden items hand made
Brewery and Hockey

The above picture shows two groups.  If you look carefully in the back to the left you will spot the entry from HooDoo Brewery a place that I'm told makes a good beer.  To the right towards the back is the mascot for the hockey team.

A boat from the Regatta.

 Many of the groups and floats in the parade represent a group in town, support a political candidate, or might even represent a business in town. It doesn't matter, everyone gets in on it.
One Group
I'm not sure who the above group is because they were still organizing when I snapped the picture.  I grabbed it because I love the colored balloons.
The Science Center
This science center had people marching along side of it with clear plastic umbrellas and legs streaming off which reminded me of jelly fish.  I think they were letting people know they are in town.
The Shriners
What parade is complete without the Shriners in their mini cars puttering down the parade route.  The staging area was divided into two parts.  The pedestrian and dance groups and the cars/trucks.  We were parked between the old time trucks and Santa Claus.

Old Tractors
This is a picture of an old army tractor with trailer.  We had fun watching the old man use a hand crank to start the engine so he could head out with the others.  It took him a couple tries but he made it.  Tomorrow, I'll share what happened to the Zamboni.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Golden Days Parade Part 1.

Chena River at Flood Stage
I told you in an earlier post (yesterday) that the ragatta had been postponed for a week due to higher water levels than normal in the river.  The river is actually quite high.   This was taken on Saturday morning, July 23, 2016 on my way over to the parade line-up.

I played with the community band.  Since its always a mess over there, I parked about a block away from the starting point and had to walk over but it gave me a good look at how high the river was.  I've never seen it that bad.  The water had overflowed, covering the grass at various points along the route.  Unfortunately the Rubber Ducky Race has also been postponed and the other boat race was totally cancelled. 

Me, in costume
As I said, the idea of the parade is to celebrate gold being discovered in the area which lead to Fairbanks being founded.  The whole celebration began back in the 1950's and has really expanded to what it is today.  So getting into the spirit of things, I wore one of my numerous costumes to help create a fun atmosphere.  I'll admit, I was the only one who did not wear the band outfit but I think I had more fun!

I had someone take the picture of me because I was headed home into a nasty rain storm so I did not want to try to take it in the rain.  Even construction was shut down.

Back to the parade.  I'll be sharing photos with you over the next couple of days because there is so much to see that I can't do it in just one day!  All floats are truck beds or four wheelers (ATVs) that have been decorated in some way.

The parade always starts off with the Army band.  Several of our members marched with them instead of playing with us.  So on to the pictures and a bit about them.

The Army Band - Waiting around for the parade.

This is the Alaskan Version of The Beverly Hill Billies
The above car has been in the parade for as long as I can remember.  The man who owned this died and now his daughter drives it.  She brings it out anytime there is an event to remind people of the early settlers who came up to Alaska.  Just for your information, many people came up during the depression to farm in an area north of Anchorage.  Problem is that they couldn't do it in the same way as they did in the lower 48  so the government wrote a pamphlet on the topic.  

Some of the sports teams in town enter groups and floats.  Below is the entry from the Fairbanks Curling Club.  The stone is built on a four wheeler aka ATV.  

The Rock from the Curling Club

The Rolling Jail
The rolling jail is a fund raiser run by the Chamber of Commerce where you can arrange to have someone arrested for a small fee or you can purchase a get out of jail card so that you cannot be arrested.  They have it covered both ways.  The mobile jail is only out during Golden Days so if you come up looking for it at any other time of the year, you won't see it.

The Rubber Ducky

 Finally for today is the Rubber Ducky from the Rubber Ducky Race.  This huge duck is released into the Chena River with a hundred or two small rubber duckies who float down the river to see which one crosses the finish line first.  The number on the duck tells who won the money in the pot.  It is a fund raiser, not gambling and its all done in good fun.

Tomorrow, I'll share more with you.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

When Is A Race, Not Really A Race?

Its that time of year again where Fairbanks, Alaska has been celebrating the discovery of Gold by Felix Pedro back in the early 1900's.  The chamber of commerce sponsors a street fair, a parade, a rubber ducky race, entertainment, a moving jail, and a regatta.  Unfortunately, the regatta had to be postponed at least one week due to the river being at its highest all year and it is currently under a flood warning.

Garda, Malcesine, SailingThe regatta is one of those crazy things that Alaskan's do after a long winter.  The regatta is a boating event but it is not a race.  It is a celebration of floating creativity that celebrates all that is gold.

The rules are interesting in that you may have an engine but you cannot use it.  All people mus have a properly approved life jacket and if there are children on the boat there must be at least one adult with them.

The boats, well I guess you could call them that, are sometimes already made paddle boards or Kayaks but others have allowed their creative side to emerge and they decorate the rubber dingys and turn them into a work of art.

This is such a crazy event that they give out four awards.  One is for the creation that has the best use of the Golden Days Theme.  Another is for the boat with the best Alaskan Ingenuity which may include the use of duck tape and tarps.  The third is for the one that is the Least Seaworthy.  It can leak, have holes, or barely be above water but it must cross the finish line. They do ask people trying for this category to have a set of dry clothing to change into before accepting the award.  The last award is for Judges Choice which means they are looking for the most creative boat.

If you are interested in what the creations look like, you can check out the website to see some from previous years.  I don't have pictures because its usually on the Sunday and I do not usually head into town on Sunday's especially as I'm packing to leave town. So I've listed two sites that have pictures you can checkout to see how creative people get.

1.  The pictures are down toward the bottom.

2. These are from the 2012 and are via one of the local stations.

Monday, July 25, 2016

Golden Days!!

Fairbanks, Alaska was founded back in 1901 when a gentleman built a trading post on the south side of the Chena River but it was when Felix Pedro discovered gold that things took off.  Although gold was discovered by an Italian, the owner of the trading post convinced people to name the town after Charles Fairbanks, the senator from Indiana.  By 1903, the town had incorporated.

Every year, the city celebrates the discovery of gold.  Gold was discovered outside the city but the city actually ended up where it is because the man who built the trading post had had a disagreement with the captain of the boat and the captain dumped him there......LOL.

There is actually a series of monuments to honor and celebrate the founding of the city outside of town, past Fox, on the way to the Missle launching facility.

Felix Pedro was only one of thousands who came north looking for gold.  As one field petered out, they moved further north and west, looking for the next big strike.  Turns out gold is plentiful in the area and has kept the city going.  It is still being mined today.

Picture of Felix Pedro

Information on the area gold mining.

Information on Felix Pedro

More on gold mining.

Originally, the Tanana Valley Railroad was run by two steam engines.  The interesting fact is that both engines are still in service.  One is in Fairbanks, owned and run by the local railroad club while the other can be found in Michigan.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Zombies, Zombies, Zombies

Halloween, Head, Monster, Skull, ZombieIt seems like society is in the throws of a love affair with zombies!  Not long ago it was vampires and in the future it will be something else but right now, its zombies.  Everywhere I turn, I find zombies but they've changed from totally mindless and crazy to being almost human!

We have iZombie which is a series in which the main character is a zombie who works in the town morgue. She won't stay with her kind and can take care of her eating issues there.  Of course there is the Walking Dead series

Then you got World War Z with Brad Pitt that filled the screens not long ago.  What about Day of the Dead, Shaun of the Dead, and of course Resident Evil for other Zombies.  Don't forget one of the latest entries into the movie theater called "Pride, Prejuidice and Zombies" the time honored Jane Austin with zombies!  I found out about this one due to being referred to in a book I read.

As for books, there are the usual fictional books with zombies such as Anita Blake series where she is able to reanimate dead bodies or other like that but what about books that talk about Zombie Gardening!  Yes there are several of those in the Gardening section at Amazon.  Add to that the few Zombie cookbooks that have been published including a vegan zombie one for those who do not eat meat. 

Think its all fiction?  If you do a search on the internet you can even find articles at the Discover Magazine Blog, Live Science, and io9 which look at the neuroscience of the zombie brain!  Its interesting because many of the conclusions are based on the way zombies are portrayed in movies and on the science of animals such as the wasps who inject venom into cockroaches, then lay their eggs in the animal's belly and when the wasps hatch, they eat the cockroach.  Though the whole process the cockroach is alive but paralyzed.

Apparently, there is even an annual Zombie fashion show in Los Angeles, California that happens in October.  Hollywood make-up artists get together with models to create a runway full of creative Zombies to show the latest in their art.

Yes, there is even zombie music found on You Tube and in other places.  You can even find  list of the top 10 Zombie songs but if you are old enough you might remember a singing group from the 60's called The Zombies.  I think one of their most famous songs was "She's Not There"!

So right now Zombies have taken over popular culture.  What's next?  The World?

11 Top Places To Visit in the United States.

Bridge, Golden Gate, Sea, SunsetI am reading articles that state we need to visit what is in our backyards first before we explore the rest of the world.  Well for me Alaska is my state and very little of it has roads so its hard to see a lot of the state but I've seen quite a lot of the contiguous states.  Have you every wondered what places in the United States are considered the best to visit?

The list is not written up in any particular order and some of you may disagree with the choices.  I have friends who are Civil War Reinactors who plan to visit all the battle fields they can.  One friend scheduled a trip to New Mexico and his wife didn't realize there was a Civil War monument there.  She growled at her husband.

1.  The Grand Canyon which is absolutely beautiful and breath taking.  One of these days, I want to hike to the bottom, spend the night, then hike back up the next day.  I've been to the rim but never to the bottom.

2.  Hawaii. I love visiting Hilo on the big Island but most people tend to visit Maui or Waikiki on Oahu.

3.  Yellowstone Park with its geysers and mountains.  I'm told it is a wonderful place to visit.

4.  Yosemite is a day's trip from San Francisco so people can pop up and check it out.  There are several landmarks and hiking trails that are well worth checking out.

5. San Francisco with its trolley cars, the Exploratorium, the aquarium and Chinatown.  are among some of the best sites to check out.  Don't forget Alcatraz and Angel Islands along with the wine country just north of the city.

Disney, Magic, Kingdom, Florida, Orlando6.  New York City with its shows, museums, neighborhoods, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center.  So many things to do in a city that is awake 24 hours a day.  It is host to Ellis Island where many people came through on their journey to the New World.

7.  Orlando, Florida with Sea World, Disney, or Universal Studios that provide entertainment for all ages.

8.  New Orleans with its food and music is a must see place.  There are plenty of small dives with the best food.

9.  The redwood forests of northern California.  Those trees are so impressive but you need to be careful.  If you are driving on those small windy back roads, watch out for the occasional photographer who lies in the middle of the road to take a shot upwards showing the impressive height of the trees.

Washington Dc, Monument, Washington, Dc10.Washington DC for all its monuments and museums.  Just outside the city is a wonderful flight museum with helicopters, airplanes, and even a space craft or two.  You can see the White House, check out its food and have a great time.

11. Las Vegas, NV with all of its fancy hotels, gambling, food and craziness.  Someone described it as the party oasis of the world. The last time I was there, I found the cost of eating out to be quite reasonable and it was good.

I realize there are places I left off but every one has their own ideas of the top places and much of it is based on your opinion.  The last time I visited Washington DC, I went to see the "Voice of America" our shortwave radio station.  As for Las Vegas, I went for a conference so my view of places tend to be a bit skewed......LOL.  Do you have any places you think should have been on the list?  Let me know.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

The West Coast Ellis Island

New York, Statue Of LibertyWe are all aware of Ellis Island.  The reputed place that immigrants arrived to be checked out before being admitted to America.  Some made it, some were returned but this is the place celebrated for that.  The truth is that not all immigrants arrived via Ellis Island on the East Coast and certainly not the West Coast. 

Can you see the Japanese or Chinese sailing all the way around to New York City to be admitted before being shipped back?  Well there is a place near San Francisco where the Chinese, Japanese, and other Asians were processed over the span of 30 to 40 years.  It is also a place where POW's were processed during World War II.

What is this place?  Its called Angel Island which is now a state park.  In its heyday, from 1910 to 1940, it was responsible for processing people from Asia but did you realize that this was the place where Russians, Australians, New Zealanders, Canadians, Mexicans, and others came through?

If someone traveled in First or Second class passage via ship, they were processed on board and were able to disembark in San Francisco but if they were any other class or sick, they were ferried to Angel Island to be processed. Once on the island, they were divided into country of origin because only a limited number of Chinese were allowed in due to the Exclusion Act of 1882.

The facility at Angel Island was actually built as a way of enforcing the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882.  This was built over the objections of the Chinese community.  For the Chinese, it was hard to come in because they had to claim to be in one of the categories that were allowed in.  They sometimes bought false papers but they had to know everything about the identity they purchased or the family had to create the story together and know all the details because of the examination.

It was really more of an interrogation because each of these people were interrogated for days. The immigration officers would ask questions about the smallest aspect of their lives and if the person coming in or his family messed up, everyone could be sent back to China. It was not a fun encounter.

The general process for Chinese .  When they arrived at the island, they were offloaded and they had to go to the Administration building where they were divided in to two lines, one for males and one for females and children.  The next step was a medical exam and if they were sick, they either ended up in the hospital for treatment they paid for or they were deported. If they passed they were put in dormitories where they awaited interrogation.  Once interrogated and the facts checked out, they might be released but the waiting period ranged from a couple months to years depending on where they had to go to check the information. Although others came through the place, it was mostly used to process the Chinese. 

This lasted till 1940 when a fire burned the Administration building to the ground and the process was moved to the mainland. 

It turns out that during the 1930's when the Nazi's were rising in power in Germany and Europe, many of the Jews left the area, traveling through Russia to China and Japan to board ships to the United States.  Many families made it to Angel Island only to have to remain because they lacked funds to reach their final destinations.  Many of the Jews began their journey in Russia, Poland, or Lithuania and fled to avoid military conscription or persecution.

In addition, there was a shipload of Russians who came through Angel Island back in the early 20's because they were avoiding the Bolshevik revolution.  Only 523 or the original 7000 people made it to the United States.  This large group was processed at Fort McDowell because Angel Island could not accommodate them.  The few who were not legal to enter were shipped to Angel Island until their appeals were decided.

It is not known how many people came through Angel Island but it is estimated to have processed 300,000 people and deported anywhere between 11 and 30 percent of those who came.  To compare, Ellis Island is said to have processed 12,000,000 but only turned away 1 to 2 percent which could be explained because most of the Chinese came in through Angel Island.  One other thing, the Exclusion Act itself was repealed during World War II but the number of Chinese admitted to the United States remained low until 1965.

Hope you enjoyed reading this.  I had fun researching it.  I would like to thank Patrick Weseman for the idea.  Check out his blog to see pictures he took of Angel Island.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Pickled Radish Greens

Radish, Vegetables, Vegetable Garden  About three weeks ago, I discovered the Chef at the Market cooking demonstrations designed to show people how to use lesser known vegetables.  At that time, a chef from the Pump house restaurant shared a lovely recipe for Pickled Radish Greens.

This is when I learned that radish greens were edible.  Imagine all those perfectly edible greens I've thrown in the compost pile thinking they were only to provide food for the plant.  I suspect that most people throw out the tops too.

The recipe is quite simple.

Pickled Radish Greens by Chef Marcos Barreto from The Pump House Restaurant in Fairbanks, AK
1 bunch fresh radish greens
1 cup water
1 cup rice wine vinegar
1 1/2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
pinch of dried hot chili peppers to taste
1 to 2 tsp sesame oil.

Mix together the water, vinegar, sugar, salt, and peppers till sugar and salt are dissolved.
Add the radish greens and submerge completely.
Allow to sit for 30 to 45 minutes.
Remove from brine, pat dry and then drizzle with sesame oil.

I'm wondering if one could just use this as a general recipe for all types of greens like kale, spinach, swiss chard, beet greens or any other greens.  I plan to try this recipe as soon as I get more radishes.


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Thai Kale Salad.

The local farmers market is held Wednesdays and Saturdays with a more craftier version on Sundays. Every other Wednesday the Farmers Market and the Economic Development Corporation sponsors Chef at the Market Place.  This is where a chef from one of the local restaurants comes to share recipes with people who wonder through.  A couple weeks ago, I learned about eating radish greens.

This last Wednesday, one of the chefs from Lemongrass, a local Thai restaurant, came out to share a wonderful kale recipe.  Although you can use meat in it, they made a non - meat version that was fantastic and made us want seconds.  I got permission to share the recipe with all of you. It is easy to make into vegan if you want, just eliminate the fish sauce or use a vegan version.

Thai Kale Salad
1 tblsp Thai chili paste.
1 tblsp fish sauce or soy.
4 tblsp coconut milk.
1 tblsp chili pepper.
1 handful of cilantro.
1 handful of green onion.
1 handful of red onion.
1 handful of kale chopped
shrimp or port shredded (optional)

Boil water, chop and steam kale.  Put cooked Kale in big bowl with cilantro, green onion and red onion.  Mix coconut milk, soy or fish sauce, chili paste, chili pepper.  Pour into kale and mix well by hand.  If you use shrimp or pork, cook the meat first and if its pork, pull a part until shredded.  Add in bowl with kale and onions.

The chef served it with a scoop of rice.  

 This is the set up he used to serve the kale salad.
The finished product
 The kale being cooked before being mixed with all the other ingredients.
Kale being cooked.
 This is on my list of things to make at home.  It was sooooooo good.  Give it a try yourself.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Visiting North Pole

North Pole is a town about 15 miles south of Fairbanks on the Richardson Highway.  It celebrates Christmas all year round between the name of the town, the streets in downtown, and at the Santa Clause House.  Yes, it really exists.

Back when the area was settled in 1940's it was known by Davis, the name of the early homesteaders but when they sold out to company in the 1950's, the company changed the name of the place to North Pole in the hopes they would attract a toy manufacturer.

The company renamed some of the streets to St. Nicholas Drive, Santa Clause Lane, Kris Kringle Drive, and Snowman Lane.  Even the local McDonalds has candy cane street lamps.  About the same time, one of the people changed their trading post to the Santa Claus house which celebrates Christmas year round, selling Christmas themed items.  Of course Santa is on duty so everyone can visit with him.

In addition, this is where many of those letters are sent.  You know, the ones addressed to Santa Claus from children who send their wish list.  You can buy a letter to send and mail it from there so it has the appropriate post mark.

In all the time I've lived in the area, I've never been there but my parents came up so I took them out there.  It was interesting.  I've included several pictures to give you a feel for the business.  Its fun to visit but hard to leave without spending any money.

Large six foot stuffed moose.
This moose is surrounded by tons of t-shirts, bibs and other pieces of clothing.  Its one of the first things we saw as we entered the building from the parking lot.

All the clothing, including bibs, has a saying on it associated with Christmas.

Another Santa Statue located in the building.

This is the area with  all the Santa Letters to buy and send off to relatives and friends.

Santa's chair surrounded by toys.

And last but not least, the sleigh filled with toys.

It was enjoyable.  I think I'll save the other pictures for closer to Christmas. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Christmas In July

Have you been to North Pole, Alaska to see Santa Claus in July?  I have.  Check the blog Monday for the story.