Here at Homer News central on the south shore of Beluga Lake, about two or three times a month we get news releases touting Alaska’s or Homer’s ranking in national statistics. Did you know Alaska has the second lowest rate of new cases of melanoma skin cancer? That makes sense, except that Texas has the lowest rate, apparently because Texans are better at protecting themselves from the scorching, burning sun.
Given the number of red faces seen around town this week, our melanin-deprived neighbors forgot the sunscreen over the weekend. Even our Florida-raised friends have been whining about the scorching heat of 65-degree days. Yes, new Alaskans, it does become possible to lose your acclimation to southern climates and adjust to the cold here. Hang in there.
With the clear, sunny days and occasional cool temperatures, people who tan have been sporting what some people might call freckles. This happens when you get goosebumps and the peak of the bump turns browner than the slopes because the peak is that much closer to the sun. Here in the high latitudes, that distance of mere millimeters can make a difference in solar punch.
If you’re visiting Alaska and seem surprised by this endless sunshine, you’re not alone. Old timers also don’t quite know what to make of it, especially here by Kachemak Bay, where we expect rainy summers and rarely get disappointed. We have had summers with so little sun the mayor declared a disaster when the sun came out. So when you get not just two days in a row of sunshine, but an entire week … well, that is just downright weird.
This may explain why Alaska ranks fourth in the U.S. for most UFO sightings per capita, according to an email the Homer News got on Wednesday. We understand weird flickering lights in the night sky like the aurora borealis, but big glowing orbs that hover for hours? What the heck? According to an analysis by Satelliteinternet.com of National UFO Reporting Center cases, Alaska has had 564 UFO sightings reported or 75.94 per 100,000. A couple of them were from the lower Kenai Peninsula.
So grab your shades, get out your flip-flops and prepare for what appears to be another awesome weekend ahead, perhaps with these Best Bets:
BEST SHAKEN NOT STIRRED BET: How can you have a Pier One Theatre season without a William Shakespeare play? The little red theater on the Spit offers a new twist on Willy’s witty love story, “Much Ado About Nothing.” Musician Sue Biggs has arranged a selection of 16th century madrigals — and added a composition of her own — to the tale of star crossed and mixed-up lovers. The three-week run opens at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
BEST END OF THE ROAD BET: The classic Homer 10k is back with not just the 10k Spit Run, but the Cosmic Half-marathon and — new for this year — an un-timed walker’s event. Get your 10,000 steps and a bit more starting with registration at 8 a.m. Saturday at Homer High School. The half-marathon starts at 9 a.m. near the ferry terminal on the Spit and the 10k at 10 a.m. at the high school. Register early online at https://my.raceresult.com/121709.
BEST BE MARY BET: Get ready for a week of fun craziness starting Sunday when the New Old Time Chautaugua “Be Mary” tour arrives in Homer. They’ll be camping out at the Homer Council on the Arts, so don’t be alarmed if you see jugglers, clowns and vaudevillians hanging out there. Events start with a show at 8 p.m. Sunday at Alice’s Champagne Palace and goes through July 4 with a big parade and another show at the SPARC. For more information and all the details, see the story on page 12.
BEST GET READY BET: It’s almost a month until Salmonfest, but if you can’t wait, get started with another one of the Salmonfest Music Series concerts at 9 p.m. Saturday at Alice’s Champagne Palace when Chris & Lorin Rowan (brothers of the legendary Peter Rowan) perform. Their unique sound combines acoustic roots/Americana with a mix of country/rRock bluegrass. Their tight harmonies and haunting melodies feature an eclectic mix with a sound of modern day Everly Brothers meets the Beatles, Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and more. Whew! Tickets are $10 in advance or $12 door.