Entertainment and Events
Call 907/586-5866 for a recording of upcoming events and activities in Juneau. If you’re around in April, don’t miss the free weeklong Alaska Folk Festival (907/463-3316, www.juneau.com/aff), which attracts musicians from Alaska and the Northwest. You can attend workshops and dance to some of the hottest folk and bluegrass bands. It is lots of fun and completely authentic.
In late May, culture comes to town with the Juneau Jazz & Classics (907/463-3378, www.jazzandclassics.org), a 10-day series of performances and workshops by local musicians and nationally acclaimed guest artists.
During even-numbered years (2010 and 2012) Juneau is home to a colorful Native Celebration (907/463-4844, www.sealasakaheritage.org) that attracts hundreds of participants from across the state. There are performances, crafts, and an incredible grand procession through the heart of town. Celebration takes place on the first weekend of June.
As in almost every Alaskan town, June 21, the summer solstice, is a time for celebration in Juneau; there’s always some sort of party that long day and short night. July 4th is Juneau’s day to play. Parades and a big fireworks show (see them from Douglas Island for the most impressive backdrop) are joined by dog Frisbee-catching and watermelon-eating contests, along with a sand castle contest at Sandy Beach Park.
Those who like to fish should throw in their lines at the annual Golden North Salmon Derby (www.goldennorthsalmonderby.org) in early August. A top prize of $15,000 in cash makes it the big summer event for locals.
Juneau has an active nightlife with plenty of live music almost every evening. The famous Red Dog Saloon (South Franklin St., 907/463-3658, www.reddogsaloon.com) has sawdust on the floor and honky-tonk music in the air every day and night during the summer, starting at 2 p.m. Be sure to look for Wyatt Earp’s gun; he checked it in when passing through on June 17, 1900, but his ship left for Nome before the Marshall’s office reopened, so it remained unclaimed. This is where cruise ship tourists and crewmembers drink.
A block up the street, inside the Alaskan Hotel, is the Alaskan Bar (167 S. Franklin St., 907/586-1000, www.thealaskanhotel.com), a quieter place with blues or folk music on weekends as well as Thursday night jam sessions. It’s always packed with locals, who head here in summer to escape the Red Dog crowds. The Alaskan has Victorian decor, and you can hear lawyers and lobbyists talk shop from any seat in the place during the legislative session.
Billiards aficionados fill the seven tables upstairs inside Viking Lounge (218 Front St., 907/586-2159). Downstairs in the back is a classy disco with occasional live music and the best dance floor in Juneau. Across the street is Imperial Bar (907/586-1960), popular with the young crowd on weekends, when live bands perform. More music is around the corner at the Rendezvous (184 S. Franklin St., 907/586-1270), with very loud rock and a lowlife crowd.
The Hangar (2 Marine Way, 907/586-5018, www.hangaronthewharf.com), on the wharf, has music to make you kick up your rain boots on Friday and Saturday nights. It is especially popular with state government workers on weeknights, with over 100 brews on tap or in bottles. Get here early for the window seats facing the water. The Island Pub (1102 2nd St., 907/364-1595, www.theislandpub.com) is a classy smoke-free bar in Douglas with live bands most Friday and Saturday nights.
Out near the airport, The Sandbar (2525 Industrial Blvd., 907/789-3411) has a large dance floor and rock or country music on weekends. Also out in Mendenhall Valley is Marlintini’s Lounge (9121 Glacier Hwy., 907/789-0799, www.myspace.com/marlintinis), which mixes karaoke on weeknights with rock bands and $10 pitchers of beer Thursday–Saturday nights.
Performing Arts and Music
On Friday evenings 7–8:30 p.m. in the summer, Marine Park in downtown Juneau comes alive with free Concerts in the Park (907/586-2787), ranging from classical to Middle Eastern folk. The Juneau Symphony (907/586-4676, www.juneausymphony.org) has monthly concerts October–April at various local venues. Perseverance Theatre (907/364-2421, www.perseverancetheatre.org) is a respected Douglas-based group that puts on plays September–May.
Local movie houses are the 20th Century Twin Theatre (222 Front St., 907/586-4055) downtown and Glacier Cinemas (9091 Cinema Dr., 907/789-9191, www.grossalaska.com) in Mendenhall Valley. Silverbow Inn (120 2nd St., 907/586-9866 or 800/586-4146, www.silverbowinn.com) screens free classic flicks at 8 p.m. Monday–Wednesday in the back room, or head to Goldtown Nickelodeon (174 S. Franklin St., 907/586-2875, www.goldtownnick.110mb.com) for indie and art-house films.
© Don Pitcher from Moon Alaska, 10th Edition