The Tanana Valley State Fair, at 1800 College Road, Fairbanks, is the oldest of its kind in Alaska. The beautiful fairgrounds site, encompassed by pastures and forest and next to an RV park, makes it a must-visit location on your next summer holiday adventure.
Over 1,000 volunteers are involved in bringing the fair to the general public – and, traditionally, they don’t charge an entry fee to cover all that hard work.
Once you visit the fair, which has been an annual event since 1924, you’ll be blown away with what’s on offer. Livestock displays are sure to impress the average farmer, while the amusement park, games, and rides will appeal to the kids and the children at heart.
If you’ve got a passion for arts and crafts, then you’ll be in your element at the Tanana Valley State Fair as well. Displays are abundant, with a quilt show and contests.
The vendor offerings are equally as impressive as the exhibits and displays. Over 300 booths are set up to offer a variety of food, as well as wares to help you get a head start on your festive shopping.
All of this action is within a mere ten-minute drive from the center of Fairbanks, making it a popular event of which to be a part. Why wait? Grab the family, prepare the RV, and hit the road.
Even though the Tanana Valley State Fair is a labor of love, with volunteers helping to make it the success it is, tickets are not necessary. Traditionally, entry has been free for everyone of all ages. You may check the organizer’s website for updated scheduling and any changes in ticket structuring.
The Tanana Valley State Fairgrounds are mere minutes from the Fairbanks International Airport. If you are arriving from out of town, two minor highways can lead you to Fairbanks, Highway 2 and 3. The Tanana River also flows on the outskirts of the city, following you from either Alaska or Yukon. Summer driving through Alaska will not be too problematic for a confident driver but pay attention to the forecast in case conditions change on your travels.
The main parking lot on the fairgrounds site has traditionally been free for vehicles of all sizes. You can access this parking area from College Road onto Old College Road, then Red Gate Road. If you wish to avoid parking your RV in this lot, which can become full quickly, you can park at the Randy Smith Middle School and jump aboard the shuttle.
There will be a public shuttle running throughout the day until the evening to help fair-goers get from Fairbanks to the fairgrounds without any problem. This shuttle runs continuously throughout the day, stopping in the evening. Alternatively, there is a regular public bus service in operation around Fairbanks that can save the need to move your RV during your ten-day stay in Alaska.
Onsite camping in the parking lot and the fairgrounds is not available, but you’re in luck. At the same address, directly adjacent to the fairgrounds, is an expansive RV park with service hookups. You will need to book in advance to improve your chances of securing a spot. While this RV park is ten minutes from the center of Fairbanks, there are also ample other options within the city.
Fairbanks and surrounding areas in Alaska are home to many different campsites for visitors to the area. Given the sheer beauty of Alaska, the city and little townships know how to welcome and cater to their guests.
These campgrounds and RV parks all have various service offerings, all while being proximate to life’s necessities. Some even boast WiFi. You can then jump aboard one of the public buses, or fair shuttle, to make it to the Tanana Valley State Fair daily.
The Tanana Valley State Fair is not generally challenging to navigate on foot. Its small size, ample seating areas, and mix of dirt and grass make it ideal for Shank’s Pony. However, you may be able to use wheeled transport such as skateboards, scooters, and more. Check with event organizers if you’re unsure.
Even though you’re visiting Fairbanks in the heart of summer, that doesn’t mean you can leave the winter woollies at home. Temperatures can enter the 70s and 80s, but thunderstorms, cloud, and rain often follow. Bring light layers, but accompany them with a jacket, water-resistant footwear, and an umbrella to be on the safe side at the Tanana Valley State Fair.
As you are only ten minutes from the center of Fairbanks, you won’t need to pack the kitchen sink for your visit to the fair. Take both cash and credit to widen your purchasing capabilities and a water bottle. Allow enough room in your backpack for a few special purchases from the vendors.
Being away from home for ten days means you have to be entirely prepared for all eventualities. Make sure you bring any medical supplies or prescription medication you require and sun-safe products as well. Don’t forget a sunhat, sunscreen, and sunglasses to combat the complicated weather conditions that will likely occur during this summer fair.
Your opportunities for cooking will depend on where you intend on calling home for the next ten days. The adjacent campground boasts fire pits and flexibility around using your RV gas cookers. However, other campsites in the heart of Fairbanks may have a different set of rules. You may like to check with your host before you get the sausages and beans out.
While the vendor offerings at the Tanana Valley State Fair are enough to cater to the masses, some RV-goers may like to wander into the heart of Fairbanks and see what else they can find. Stick with tried and trusted fried chicken, or why not go all out with grilled food or ethnic cuisine? Fairbanks may be a small city, but it boasts many different eateries to appeal to all.
Hundreds of vendors set up at the fairgrounds every year, eagerly waiting for the lines to start forming outside their trucks. You will be amazed at the sheer variety on offer. Some of these vendors offer credit, but many are cash only. Bring both to ensure you get your first pick.
There is a security site in the Upper Badger Hall. Security workers are at the fair 24 hours a day, patrolling both the parking areas and the fairgrounds. Make sure you lock your RV if you are utilizing day parking spaces. There may also be security patrols on the entrance gate to make sure fair-goers feel as safe as possible at the Tanana Valley State Fair
While you can expect sunshine and plenty of it during the summer months in Fairbanks, the sun often brings its friend: thunder and clouds. Even though you might feel hot and sweaty in temperatures between 60 and 80, you can also get the shivers once those thunder clouds roll into the fairgrounds. Pack a rain jacket and umbrella to be on the safe side, and seal your RV up tight before you leave it for the day.
If you happen to slip, stub your toe, or incur any other minor injury, then don’t let it spoil your visit to the fairgrounds. Make your way over to the blue gate, where a small first aid site is fully-stocked for these situations. For anything more serious, dial 9-11 or travel to the local hospital four miles away. There is also a pharmacy within a ten-minute drive along College Road.