Winter Carnival is a grand old Homer tradition

Like any northern town trapped in the grip of deep snows and bitter cold, Homer has a long tradition of a February carnival to relieve winter stress. While it’s unknown if town namesake Homer Pennock and his gold mining crew whooped it up in the winter of 1897, the Homer Homestead newspaper in 1947 said everyone had a good time at the one-day carnival put on by the Homer Women’s Club.

That’s the plan for this weekend with concerts, a play, a film festival, the annual basketball tournament, skiing and two longtime traditions, the Winter Carnival Parade on Saturday and the Mr. Homer Pageant on Friday. Homer used to have a Miss Homer Pageant, won by Homer City Council member Shelly Erickson (then Edens) in 1977. That ended when as a preliminary for the Miss Alaska Pageant, young women had to parade in swimsuits. They revolted and the competition ended. The Mr. Homer Pageant continues, at 9 p.m. Friday at the Homer Elks Lodge. Organizer Dax Radtke calls the event “a crazy-no-holds-barred comedy weirdo search” — with swimsuit competition. But who’s to say a guy couldn’t wear a gumby suit?

Absent this year are the Outhouse Race, too much event for Radtke to organize as he also faces the challenge of cancer. A lack of snow to make crash berms on the Beluga Lake track also meant the cancellation of Homer Ice Racing, another long-time, but weather-dependent, event. The big parade perserveres, led by Hilda Caraballo, Queen Krewe of Gambrinus, with the theme “Jazz Up Winter.” Other highlights are a multi-school production of Thornton Wilder’s classic play, “Our Town,” a Big Read event, the Wine and Cheese Tour on Sunday and the Super Saturated Sugar Strings Snowball on Saturday.

Winter Carnival events

Thursday, Feb. 9

Homer High School Alice Witte Gym

3:30 p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney, Girls Kodiak v. N. Pole

5 p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney, Boys Sitka v. Nikiski

6:30 p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney, Girls Galena v. Homer

8 p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney, Boys Galena v. Homer

12th Annual Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival

Doors open 6:30 p.m.; films begin at 7 p.m.

Homer Theatre

Admission $10. Tickets are available at the door.

Celebrating the winter human-powered experience, the 12th Annual Winter Wildlands Alliance Backcountry Film Festival is hosted by Alaska Quiet Rights Coalition and the Kachemak Nordic Ski Club. Immerse yourself in a night of films

that capture the spirit of winter. Adventure, environment and climate, youth outdoors, ski culture — you’ll find it all in this award winning lineup. Beer and raffle tickets will be available. For a complete festival lineup and film program, visit backcountryfilmfestival.org.

Friday, Feb. 10

Homer High School Alice Witte Gym

3:30 p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney, Girls Kodiak v. Galena

5:p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney, Boys Nikiski v. Galena

6:30 p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney, Girls N. Pole v. Homer

8 p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney, Boys Sitka v. Homer

Our Town, by Thornton Wilder

A Homer Big Read event

7:30 p.m.

Mariner Theatre

Homer High School, Homer Council on the Arts, Pier One Theatre, and Friends of the Homer Library join forces to present a live production of Our Town. Directed by Amy Johnson and featuring students from West Homer Elementary, Connections, Homer Middle School and Homer High School.

Admission: $10, on sale at the Homer Public Library, Homer Council on the Arts and The Homer Bookstore.

NEA Big Read is a program of the National Endowment for the Arts in partnership with Arts Midwest.

Mr. Homer Pageant

9 p.m.

Homer Elks Lodge

Admission: $10

Organizer Dax Radtke calls this “a comedy review of basically crazy people.” Not your typical beauty show. Homer is not known for being boring or normal. The winner will be the person who epitomizes the kind of character visitors expect to meet. A crazy-no-holds-barred comedy weirdo search, with interview, talent and swimwear rounds.

Emma Hill with Kat Moore and Kevin Worrell from Super Saturated Sugar Strings.

Salmonfest Music Series in Partnership with Alice’s Champagne Palace

9 p.m.

Alice’s Champagne Palace

Free

Saturday, Feb. 11

11 a.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney SKILLS COMPETITION

1 p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney Girls Galena v N. Pole

2:30 p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney Boys Galena v Sitka

4 p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney Girls Kodiak v Homer

5:30 p.m., Homer Winter Carnival Basketball Tourney Boys Nikiski v Homer

Winter Carnival Parade Noon-1 p.m.

Pioneer Avenue from Lake Street to the Sterling Highway

Sponsored by the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center, the parade theme this year is “Jazz Up Winter.” Chase away the cold by adding some more jazz to Homer.

Our Town, by Thornton Wilder

A Homer Big Read event

3 p.m., 6:30 p.m.

Mariner Theatre

Homer High School, Homer Council on the Arts, Pier One Theatre, and Friends of the Homer Library join forces to present a live production of Our Town. Directed by Amy Johnson and featuring students from West Homer Elementary, Connections, Homer Middle School and Homer High School.

Admission: $10, $8 for students on Saturday

Free Public Skating at Kevin Bell Arena

4-5:45 p.m.

Kevin Bell Arena

NOMAR sponsors free skating for winter carnival.

Curling

8-10 p.m.

Kevin Bell Arena

Curling is played in teams and involves sliding large, round, flat stones across the surface toward a mark. Members of a team use brooms to sweep the surface of the ice in the path of the stone to control its speed and direction. Beginners are welcome. Bring clean shoes to wear on the ice and dress warmly.

$10 per individual, $15 per couple.

Super Saturated Sugar Strings Snowball

8 p.m.

Alice’s Champagne Palace

In cooperation with the Salmonfest Concert Series. Door admission benefits Bunnell Street Arts Center.

$10 admission

Sunday, Feb. 12

Kachemak Bay Running Club’s Third Annual V-Day 5K

10 a.m. Homer High School

The Kachemak Bay Running Club’s Third Annual -VDay 5K starts and finishes at Homer High School. An after party is at Alice’s Champagne Palace. To register online, visit www.kachemakbayrunningclub.org or register the day of the race.

Homer Rope TowSkiing/ Snowboarding

11 a.m.-4 p.m.

Mile 3.5 Ohlson Mountain Road.

Call for current conditions at 235-SNOW

$5 under age 18, $10 adults

Wine and Cheese and Wooden Ski Tour

Noon-4 p.m.

Lookout Mountain Trails, Ohlson Mountain

Participants are encouraged to use their wooden skis and/or dress in classic costume. Dig out those wool knickers, wool socks and fur parkas, and come tour around some of the best trails on Kenai Peninsula. Enjoy wine, cheese, crackers and snacks at all the stops along the way. Make sure to bring your photo ID and designated driver. Door prizes will be drawn at the last stop.

$25 Kachemak Nordic Ski Club members, $35 non-members, $10 for youth

Public Skating at Kevin Bell Arena

4-5:45 p.m.

Kevin Bell Arena

Fun for families and all ages. $5 admission and $3 skate rental. Discount for groups of four or more.

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