Community members enjoy a free ice skating party hosted by Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay, McDonalds and the City of Homer on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 at Ben Walters Park and Beluga Lake in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Community members enjoy a free ice skating party hosted by Rotary Club of Homer-Kachemak Bay, McDonalds and the City of Homer on Friday, Feb. 15, 2019 at Ben Walters Park and Beluga Lake in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Megan Pacer/Homer News)

Best Bets

If you’ve noticed the interwebs have been a bit slow lately, don’t blame an uptick in video streaming now that we no longer have a brick-and-mortar DVD rental store. It might have something to do with people browsing airline and travel sites. That’s right: it’s time to plan for spring break.

Of course, dedicated sun seekers made plans last fall. Those supersecret Hawaii vacation rentals you only know about through your sister’s uncle’s neighbor’s lawyer’s friend? They got booked before Thanksgiving. And if you wanted a cheap airfare that didn’t involve two redeyes changing in Salt Lake City, that ship has sailed, too.

Now would be the time that Alaskans rev up their plans for time off in March. People who don’t have to go south from March 11 to 15 will avoid the crunch period. Last week would have been good. Anytime when it’s not spring break in Alaska would be ideal. But if you have kids in school or work for the school district, well, what are you going to do? Time travel.

Spring break reminds us we’re over the hump. Three feet of snow on the ground in the hills might not feel that way. Another blizzard blowing in might put the lie to the idea that winter is on the way out. Anyone who has seen it snow in May knows that winter won’t leave until she’s good dern ready.

But we Alaskans have crafted the fine art of tempering our fantasies with reality. Or is it the other way around? We expect the worst and hope for the best — you know, like the Alaska Legislature. We look for signs of hope, like this:

• Daylight hours. You know what Alaska Marmot Day on Feb. 2 really means, don’t you? That’s when it’s halfway between the winter solstice and spring. Your mileage may vary, but here at Latitude 59 degrees and some change, that means we now have more than eight hours of daylight. Whoa!

• Leaves a budding. OK, there is no green yet, but look at how the alder and willow bushes have begun to turn red. Look at the branch tips. See those little buds? They’re building up energy to bloom.

• Birds. Real soon now we’ll start hearing the calls of early spring birds like the varied thrush or the sawhet owl. If you hear a bird that sounds like a smoke alarm with a steady beep-beep-beep, that’s the sawhet.

• Boats. The pace should start picking up at boat yards as mariners contemplate getting their rigs ready for winter king fishing. The die-hards have been out all winter, but others will join them soon.

Of course, a big sloppy wet blizzard could destroy this optimism, but can’t we dream? Spring will come sooner than you know it, so in the meantime, enjoy this marvelous little town, perhaps with these Best Bets:

BEST BOOKISH BET: Roz Chast will speak informally about her life and work with host Erin Hollowell this Friday at 6 p.m. at the Homer Library. Hollowell, the Executive Director of Storyknife Writer’s Retreat, will lead a workshop conversation with Chast, author of “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?” Audience size is limited. Online registration is required: https://cityofhomer-ak.gov/library

BEST BOOGIE BET: Time to get up close and personal. Built with the intent to foster inventive dance, the band Tiny Dances turns traditional dance performance on its head. Directors Peggy Paver and Becky Kendall from Momentum Dance Collective will present performances choreographed and improvised for a full evening of intimate entertainment this Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. at Homer Council on the Arts. This installment of Salon Series is supported, in part, by a grant from Alaska State Council on the Arts, the Helen Walker Performing Arts Fund (a program of the Alaska Arts and Culture Foundation), and the National Endowment for the Arts.

BEST BLACKWATER BET: The Kenai Peninsula Fair Annual Fundraiser will feature Blackwater Railroad Company this year. Join for a night of music, dancing, rustic-themed buffet featuring pulled pork and homemade mac and cheese, a saloon, auctions, gun gift card raffle and wine draw. Advance tickets for this Saturday, Feb. 23 event are $40 for a single person and $70 for a couple. Tickets bought at the door are $50 for single and $90 for couples. Tickets can be purchased in advance at the Ninilchik Thrift and Gift located at the Kenai Peninsula Fairgrounds. Fifty fun gift card raffle tickets will also be sold for $20 each. The winner will get a $500 gift card to Sportsman’s Warehouse. For more information, go to kenaipeninsulafair.eventbrite.com.

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