Best Bets

It’s hard to keep a cool town down. What with the amazing spring weather we’ve been having lately and the relaxation of some of the state health mandates, Homer popped to life last weekend. The beaches had more walkers, more boats went into the water and the campgrounds started to fill up.

Out-of-town visitors also came down from Anchorage and points north. You can always tell someone isn’t from around here because their cars and trucks tend to be newer and cleaner, their windshields aren’t held together with duct tape, and all the body panels have the same color.

Of course, the new pandemic health mandates had provisions like travelers bringing their own supplies, and anyone going into a store is still supposed to wear face masks. The Betster is happy to report a stellar Alaska compliance number of about 35% from anecdotal observation, about the same percentage of drivers who follow the speed limit. If you drill down into the Alaska Statutes you’ll find blanket exceptions to state law, including a) these laws are advisory and b) if you think you’re special — and who doesn’t? — these laws don’t apply to you.

Holy scofflaw, Betster persons! Yours truly is kidding. Of course you’re advised to follow the health mandates, especially in this time of a pandemic that has no cure or vaccine and could hit you so hard you feel like you’ve been run over by a semi-tractor trailer. This is not your father’s flu. This is your great-grandfather’s flu, the one that swept the world in 1918 and wiped out enter Alaska villages.

So far we’ve been lucky, or maybe our hard work in practicing social distancing and isolation has paid off. That’s all the more reason to stay strong and stay safe. The Betster thinks it’s pretty cool how so many talented fiber artists have come up with chic, fashionable cloth face masks. Homer sewers have always had some mad skills, but we’re seeing them at their best.

So embrace the sunshine and spring, properly attired with face mask or bandana, and get out and enjoy this weird world, maybe with these Best Bets:

BEST SPREAD THE WEALTH BET: Now that you’ve received those big stimulus checks and the scary letter from the IRS — no, you’re not being audited — think about how you could put the money to good use. If you have been laid off and furloughed, well yes, take care of yourself and your family. But if you’re doing OK, circulate some of that money into the local economy. Donate to charities supporting people impacted by the pandemic. Buy some fabric and sewing supplies for the people cranking out masks for essential workers. Or, visit some of our shops and restaurants carefully reopening or sticking to the plan of curbside and drive-up service.

BEST FINE ART BET: Bunnell Street Arts Center opens cautiously on Friday, with hours of 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Saturday. No more than five visitors can be in the gallery at a time, and everyone must wear masks. Preview Thorey Munro’s show and then at 6 p.m. join a Zoom conference for artist’s talk. See for sign-up information; pre-registration is required.

BEST WILD ART BET: The shorebirds have begun to return. See some artists’ interpretation of our visiting feathered friends with the Homer Council on the Arts “Shorebirds of Kachemak Bay.” It’s virtual only, viewable online at or on HCOA’s Facebook page.

Fishermen in sit-on-top kayaks try their luck off the Homer Spit on Sunday afternoon, April 26, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Fishermen in sit-on-top kayaks try their luck off the Homer Spit on Sunday afternoon, April 26, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)