Anchorage Rondy Memories
What are your memories of Anchorage's Fur Rendezvous winter carnival? Remember when, in this fun edition.
Remember exciting events like the Blanket Toss (shown above), the Rondy Parade, Sled Dog Races, Carnival Rides, Special Movies at the 4th Avenue Theatre, and so much more.
History of the Blanket Toss
In 1950, the Fur Rendezvous added the Blanket Toss. Native Alaskans from Nome and Diomede Islands came to Anchorage to demonstrate the blanket toss to happy Rondy crowds.
Freezing Cold but You Didn’t Care
In this 1968 photo you can see a few of the hardy souls that braved freezing temperatures for a ride on the Farris Wheel, or to snack on a corn dog.
What was your favorite Rondy Carnival ride? Notice how the carnival was located overlooking the mouth of Ship Creek where Anchorage got it’s start as a tent city back in 1915.
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Your Favorite Rondy Food Treats
Having all that Rondy fun made you good and hungry for a treat.
Mary, of Anchorage Memories, always looked forward to her special Fur Rendezvous snack.
Check out Mary’s story about Fur Rondy Corn Dogs right now.
Fur Rendezvous Parade Memories
Yes, you were cold, but you didn’t care. The Fur Rondy parade was all for fun as it made it’s way down 4th Avenue to the delight of all.
In 1965, Michael Landon who played “Little Joe” on the hit TV series Bonanza, was the Grand Marshal of the Fur Rendezvous parade.
Click on the video below. There is no sound.
By the way, the film above was the very first film ever shot by Mike of Anchorage Memories. Mike went on to win an Emmy award for his TV camera work… And to think that it all started at the 1965 Anchorage Rondy.
Did You March in the Rondy Parade?
It was cold, but it was fun and the bands from Anchorage schools also participated.
Mike, of Anchorage Memories, played trumpet in the East High band. Marching on slippery ice… or being behind horses, had it’s special challenges.
Check out Marching in the Fur Rondy Parade right now.
Did You Collect Fur Rendezvous Pins?
In the picture above, the Anchorage “Keystone Cops”, proudly show off their snazzy collection of Rondy pins. Each year the pin was different and some were very creative including bits of fur, wood and more. And lots of Anchorage locals still have amazing collections that span years of Fur Rendezvous.
But what if you didn’t bother to purchase a Rondy Pin and went downtown to have some fun anyway?
Well, the Keystone Cops would arrest you and put you in the Rondy Jail right there on the street for all to see… And the price to get out of the Rondy jail was… the price of one Rondy pin.
One year, Mike’s mom forgot to get her pin and ended up in Rondy jail.
Check out Mike’s story, My Mom Got Put in the Rondy Jail right now.
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The first Alaska Championship Sled Dog Race was held on the Park Strip in 1946.
There were only three mushers that year. Earl Norris (pictured above) won that race.
Take a Close Look at the Picture Below
Do You remember how the 4th Avenue Theatre would run special movies during the Fur Rendezvous?
In 1966, as teams of sled dogs prepared to head out for the World Championship Sled Dog Race - the 4th Avenue Theatre was showing “The Ugly Dachshund”, a Walt Disney film.
A Furry Movie Star in Anchorage
Also in 1966, Nikki, the star of the Disney movie “Nikki, Wild Dog of the North” was making an appearance at the Fur Rendezvous to the delight of her fans.
Did you know that the Disney folks sent people to Alaska dog musher Joe Reddington’s home and dog kennels in Wasilla to look for a dog to star in their movie? And that’s where they discovered Nikki.
Do You Remember Some of These Folks?
When You were home, (or peeking at a TV in a downtown store window) sipping a hot cup of coffee or coco and watching the World Championship Sled Dog Races, these folks were braving the cold to bring you all the Rondy fun on KENI-TV channel 2 and KENI radio.
Left to right is:
Al Bramstedt, news anchor Ty Clark, camera operator Jim Balog, Bill Stewart and your Master of Ceremonies Orville Lake.
Our thanks to all of them and the Anchorage TV and radio crews that made it all happen.
Do You Remember This Theme Song?
It was played on KENI-TV channel 2 at the beginning and end of their Fur Rendevous TV coverage.
Click on the picture below to here De Selvera’s “Sleigh-Ride in Alaska” from 1959
Did You Know?
Because of World War II, the Fur Rendezvous was cancelled from 1942 to 1945.
So a very community minded lady named Lorene Harrison (the owner of the Hat Box), put together a celebration called “Bonanza Days” which was presented at the log cabin USO building to a standing-room-only crowd. Her show is pictured above.
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Mary and Mike of Anchorage Memories
If you still live in Anchorage, now maybe this year’s Fur Rendezvous celebration will bring back even more special and fond memories of Rondy’s gone by.
And if you no longer live in Anchorage, we hope these memories will fill your heart and feed your soul as you look back.
Do you have a comment, suggestion or just want to use the word “mush”? You can easily contact us by replying to this email, or you can Contact Us right now.
Did you enjoy this edition of your Anchorage Memories VIP Newsletter? We sure did.
Until Next Time
Mike and Mary