No One Can Beat Petersburg…

…when it comes to the holidays. This place takes “festive” and “fun” to new heights, and I’ll share some of it with you in the coming weeks.

But first, I want to show you how Alaskans shop. I’ve probably mentioned that things are very expensive up here because of the transportation costs. We have it pretty nice because Petersburg gets two barges a week from Seattle, all year ’round. More northern coastal communities may only get a barge once in the summer months, and all the Interior towns have to rely on air freight. So whenever we’re “down south” (anywhere in the Lower 48) we try to shop for heavy and/or bulky things, or things that are expensive to mail order. This trip we bought new engine start batteries, wine, some Christmas gifts, paper towels, a new rug for the galley and lots of shelf-stable favorites from Costco and Trader Joe’s and loaded them onto a pallet for the barge from Seattle to Petersburg.

It’s just another part of the routine now that we live in an interesting place.

Meanwhile, the whales have been very active in Frederick Sound on the north side of town, breaching and blowing. It sure is nice to be back home.

North Harbor

I promised to show you some of the ways that Petersburg hits the ball out of the park when it comes to holiday events. First, we have the lighting of the town Christmas tree the day after Thanksgiving. Here the Power and Light crew are getting the lights on the monster of a tree we have this year. When it comes to choosing a Christmas tree, it sure is handy to live in a National Forest.

The whole town gathers at one end of the main street, carrying candles (or light sticks for the tots)…

Santa leads us all in a parade down to the Municipal Building where the tree is waiting for the big moment. Some of the high school band members play holiday music…

and we all count down…

…and we warm up with some cups of hot apple cider that the Sons of Norway hands out. It’s old-fashioned and lovely and if that doesn’t get you in the holiday spirit then you’re a Grinch or a Scrooge!

Right after the tree lighting the roller derby team hosts a “Brews and Stews” contest where we can taste all kinds of interesting chilis and stews as well as homemade beers, wines, cordials and meads. The chili pictured below was my favorite – I didn’t know that musk ox was so tasty! Venison, moose and elk as well as the more traditional beef and chicken were all represented. We have some really good cooks and brewers in this town!

Next up was the always popular (and VERY competitive) Pickled Herring Contest.

Other kinds of pickled seafood as well as smoked seafood round out a variety of categories, and judging is serious business.

Two guys ended up winning the top choices in every category… and the gentleman on the left has won the contest countless times over the years.

As soon as the judging is FINALLY over with, the assembled crowd devours what’s left. I wish I liked seafood because the spread here is some of the best you could ever hope to taste.

The last event I’ll report on in this post is the special presentation of a Quilt of Valor to Jim.

The Raincountry Quilters in town make a patriotic quilt for every Veteran, and this one was made by a dear friend of ours – making it even more special.

There’s much more to come… concerts, dance recitals, and of course… Julebukking! Stay tuned.

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