The early days of the Alaska State Fair were, undoubtedly, quite humble. Originally, this was just a simple agricultural showcase organized by the Northland Pioneer Grange No. 1, which was an agricultural fraternal organization. The first fair took place in 1936, hosted no more than a few thousand people, and did not have much to offer in terms of entertainment.
More recently, it is an entirely different story. The Alaska State Fair easily ranks among the most attractive events in the entire state and it has become a gathering place for all people living in Alaska. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people flock to Palmer, Alaska, to enjoy great concerts, entertainment games, and carnival rides. If that is not enough, there are also hundreds of food and drink vendors, as well as thousands of exhibits in all kinds of categories, such as livestock, cooking, photography, flowers, needlework, art, and more.
One of the main reasons why the Alaska State Fair is held in such high regard in the state is its annual AT&T Concert Series. Every year, the AT&T Concert Series host premier musical acts, such as the Beach Boys and the Doobie Brothers. It is also not uncommon for stand-up comedians to hit the stage and provide plenty of fun and laughter along the way.
With all this in mind, it can be easy to see why visiting the Alaska State Fair just might be the perfect way to end this year's summer and welcome autumn.
The Alaska State Fair offers a variety of ticket options at different prices. The standard admission tickets for adults will be the most expensive, while tickets for seniors and kids of certain ages will come with a discount. A good way to save a few bucks would be to purchase your tickets in advance, instead of making your purchase at the fair's entry gate on the day you visit. For more detailed information about the ticket details and prices, make sure to check out the website of the Alaska State Fair.
The Alaska State Fair is held at 2075 Glenn Hwy., Palmer, AK. Nestled in the Chugach Mountains, the fairgrounds are located along the Glenn Highway south of the town of Palmer. When coming from Anchorage, motorists take the AK-1 N for a ride clocking about 50 minutes. Gassing up the RV before leaving Anchorage or your community is best. Remember to prepare for remote driving, especially if you will need to travel on any smaller roadways as you travel to the fair.
Parking options vary depending on the day at the Alaska State Fair. Aside from the standard car and truck parking permits, there will also be daily and season RV parking permits. Once you make your purchase, you will receive a window hanger with the dates you plan to stay. Before you park your RV, consider the site regulations for placement on each site.
Travelers may desire to take a bus to the area, possibly from Anchorage or Palmer. Guests can look for several stops in the vicinity of the fairgrounds, with the closest station requiring a five-minute walk and other stops landing about a 15 to 20-minute walk away from fair entrance.
The Alaska State Fair features a minimalist RV parking lot. Travelers can enjoy the fair and retreat to the campsite for a quiet evening. Generators and loud music are prohibited on site. Open fires and outdoor cooking are also not allowed, so this is an excellent time to enjoy your RV kitchen. The campground allows pets, but remember to check the regulations to see if they will be right for your furry friend.
If you crave some outdoor exploration and camping, you may want to consider going north or south along the Glenn Highway. Coming from Anchorage, campers can look for RV options near the Matanuska River or Matanuska Lakes. This will provide a great opportunity to park your RV, set up camp, explore the natural beauty and even do some fishing.
Explorers may also enjoy the Matanuska Lakes State Recreation Area along the way. Further to the north, RV camping may also be available closer to the City of Palmer. Remember to plan ahead when traveling and camping anywhere in Alaska since many areas are remote and may have some distance between resources.
Joining the crowds at the fair to peruse the exhibitions, devour some yummy treats, and meet some animals can be as exhausting as it is enjoyable. To maximize your time with the little ones, guests can look for stroller and wheelchair rentals, which are scattered in several places around the fairgrounds.
The Alaska State Fair is typically held during the last days of August. Since you can expect both sunny and warm days, as well as chilly nights and some rain, it would be wise to pack a variety of clothing items. Aside from bringing t-shirts, skirts or pants, and sturdy shoes, it would be wise to pack a windbreaker, a hoodie, a pair of boots, and your standard rain gear.
Begin your packing list with any equipment that may help you maintain your RV if hookups are not available where you plan to camp. If you plan to hit a campsites near the Matanuska River or Matanuska Lakes, bring your grilling items, pillows, blankets, a flashlight, a bug spray, and an umbrella, just in case. Remember that every campground might have different guidelines. Be sure to review what items will not be allowed into the fairgrounds or at the fair campground.
Bring adequate sunscreen and a pair of sunglasses. Staying hydrated in mountainous air is also important. Remember to bring any medicines before departing as anything specific may be less available. Bug spray, a first aid kit, and allergy medicine are also a good idea, especially if you are looking to set up camp and explore the natural beauties of Palmer and Alaska.
Fill your RV kitchen space with your campsite favorites and dig in when your crew gets hungry. The fair campground does not allow outdoor cooking or generator use, so remember to check all the tank levels in your RV before arriving. If you want to test your cooking skills and treat yourself to some good old barbeque, you may want to do this on your trek to the fairground campsite. In case you forget something on your way to the fair, check for grocery options a few miles to the north of the fairgrounds.
It is no secret that cooking can be quite a hassle for some people. If you'd like a break from cooking, take your crew to a restaurant in the City of Palmer. Restaurant choices begin about a ten-minute drive north of the fairgrounds. The area offers both traditional food and fast food. Hungry travelers can look for Mexican, Thai, Sushi, or choose from a few establishments offering traditional cuisine.
State fairs are known for providing great entertainment and diverse shopping opportunities. The same can be said for the Alaska State Fair. Visitors can expect hundreds of vendors to display their wares, selling everything from drinks and food to electronic gadgets and hot tubs. To ensure a good shopping experience, remember to bring cash or a credit card. Some vendors may only accept one or the other form of payment.
Before you embark on your Alaska State Fair adventure, you may want to check the security policies for a smooth entrance. Keep in mind that guests will be subject to search upon entry. Some prohibited items may include skateboards, roller skates, scooters, bicycles, knives, firearms, solicitation materials, alcoholic beverages, and illegal substances. With the exception of service animals, pets are not allowed into the fairgrounds, and smoking is only allowed in designated areas.
Alaskan weather can be tricky to determine in advance. For the most part, you can expect clear and sunny days. However, do not be surprised by somewhat stronger winds or rain. Anchorage and Palmer both tend to get more snow than rain annually, so be prepared for a chilly setting in August as well. Alaska's sunlit hours are also somewhat extended. While the southern portion of the state does not receive quite as much sunlight as northern areas, you may still want to keep this in mind as you plan your trip.
To get a clearer picture of the weather you can expect, it may help to check the local weather a few days before you arrive in the area. This will help you properly plan your stay and pack adequate clothing and gear.
Remember to bring personal medications with you since specific items may be less available. If you have certain medical considerations, it may be helpful to inquire in advance if you will need to inform staff of your needs upon arrival. If anyone in your group needs medical assistance, check with the medical center in Palmer, about a ten-minute drive north of the fairgrounds in clear weather.