Anchorage's Winter Carnival

by Michael and Mary Dougherty

It All Started Back in 1935

By Mary J. Dougherty

The first Anchorage Fur Rendezvous was February 15th through the 17th.

Vern Johnson and friends chose those dates because that was when the trappers and miners would come to Anchorage. For the very first Fur Rendezvous they had a children's sled dog race, skiing events, boxing, basketball and hockey. Evening brought a bonfire and a torchlight parade.

When I was growing up in Anchorage, my family and I loved the Fur Rondy and all the festivities. For me, the carnival was wonderful. I loved the rides, the corn dogs and cotton candy. But the main event was watching the sled dog races, and the Fur Rondy Parade.

My Mom Got Put in Jail

By Michael R Dougherty

My first memory of the Fur Rendezvous was a little scary -

I was about 5 years old when I experienced my first Fur Rondy. Dad was working, so mom took me, my younger sister and brother to downtown Anchorage to have some fun at the Rondy.

As we walked along 4th Avenue, some men dressed up like Keystone Cops came up to my mom and asked “where is your Fur Rendezvous button?” Well, my mom told them she didn't have one, so the Keystone Cops went into a silly bit and said, “You're under arrest, and you've got to go to jail.”

Me and my sister and brother were upset. Our mom was going to jail?

Mom looked at us and said, “it's alright, it's all for fun.” Then the Keystone Cops took her across 4Th Avenue and put her into a “jail” they had set up right in the street. There was mom for all the world to see, looking at us through bars and smiling like she'd won a prize. Moments later, she agreed to purchase that Year's Rondy Button.

Over the years, mom collected lots and lots of Rondy buttons.

Years later, I had the fun experience of marching in the Fur Rondy parade in the East High School band.

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