A painting of a masked moose by Julianne Tomich is in front of the Homer Council on the Arts on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A painting of a masked moose by Julianne Tomich is in front of the Homer Council on the Arts on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2020, in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Best Bets

From the Burning Basket to the library book sale, there’s lots to do this weekend.

The first official day of fall is still almost two weeks away, but the Betster thinks it’s safe to say Autumn has anecdotally arrived in Homer already.

What few leaves we do have are starting to turn colors; the fireweed has puffed out and is floating away on the winds that have taken on a notably sharper edge. The highly debated pumpkin spice latte has reared its head in the public consciousness once again.

While the busier traditional fall time activities probably won’t look the same this year (tours of apple orchards, fall harvest festivals, trick-or-treat events on Halloween) the Betster is confident Homerites will figure out how to make the best of this enchanting season while being responsibly spaced out from one another.

Apples can still be picked, food will still be harvested and shared one way or another, and the Betster hears some organizations are already planning some Halloween-themed activities for the kids. (Keep your eye on the Pier One Theatre for the scoop on a haunted walk in the woods being held at the Pratt Museum in October).

And, you can drink as many gosh darn pumpkin spice atrocities as your heart desires — no one can take that from you. Autumn is yours to enjoy for what you make of it.

The Betster personally enjoys it by digging the dangerously large Autumn scarf collection out from the back of the closet and going everywhere with a hot mug of coffee in hand.

As the Autumnal Equinox approaches, it can be helpful to reflect on what it’s traditionally meant over the millennia. Falling on Sept. 22 this year, the fall equinox represents the end of summer and a turn toward the cold, the dark, and the stock up of our cellars and pantries. Quite literally, it represents the slow and unyielding loss of the sunlight that kept us going through a hectic summer.

So where shall we continue to find light? In the mottled oranges, yellows and browns of the Homer hills, perhaps, which have taken the place of our stunning pink fireweed. Or in the comfort of a piping cup of hot tea in the morning, cooling down while the earth warms up. Maybe your light is found in a long chat with a friend just returned to town from their far flung summer occupation.

There are a lot of things the Betster would like to say about 2020. And the year is not guaranteed to get easier from here on out, especially as we head into a time of cold, dark and being indoors. But if the Betster knows Homer, there will be plenty of opportunities to find light and joy. Who knows, may one of those opportunities lies in this week’s best bets:

BEST LOVE YOUR BAY BET: A longstanding fall tradition, the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies CoastWalk is when beach lovers of all ages pick a beach to clean up and monitor, with the goal of keeping Kachemak Bay clean. Oh, and they do a bit of science, too, tracking changes like erosion. The CoastWalk kick-off was Wednesday, but you can still sign up for a section of coastline by visiting the Coastal Studies offices at 708 Smokey Bay Way during regular business hours from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday-Friday. For more information call 907-235-6667 or email info@akcoastalstudies.org.

BEST KNOW YOUR BALLOT BET: Want to know more about the upcoming October election? Tune in to Elections 101 hosted by Kenai Peninsula Votes. This is a Zoom webinar presented by Kenai Peninsula Votes and the Homer Public Library. This week’s episode will feature Melissa Jacobsen, Homer City Clerk, and appearances by Homer mayoral candidates Ken Castner and Donna Aderhold. Brought to you by Homer Public Library and Kenai Peninsula Votes (KPV). Join them and bring your questions and learn more about the upcoming elections. The Zoom link is https://zoom.us/j/94810981443?pwd=UkVoNEphT0dEU0ZSUENQT2dpWW8zdz09. The passcode is 440298.

BEST BOOKS BOOKS BOOKS BET: Yes, the shorter daylight hours mean less time outdoors, but you know what that also means? More time to read. Replenish that “to be read” pile at The Friends of the Library book sale, happening noon to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 12 and 13. Admission is by reservation only. You can make a reservation by contacting the library’s front desk at 907-235-3180 or circ@ci.homer.ak.us. Please wear a mask if you have one. If you don’t, the Friends can give you one for free. Proceeds support library programs and things like more books.

BEST JUST REIMAGINE BET: Things will be a wee bit different this year for the 17th annual Homer Burning Basket 2020, “Reimagine – Basket of Remembrance & Unburdening.” The large woven sculpture will be available for public participation from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sat., Sept. 12, and Sun. Sept. 13 at WKFL Park. Here’s where the pandemic rears its mean head: There won’t be a public burning. At sundown Sunday, the basket is ignited at a private location as a performance of fire-art to symbolically disperse our collective positive intentions, with a live video broadcast of the burning starting at 7:30 p.m. The viewing will be available through the Burning Basket Facebook page or on YouTube by searching “Homer Burning Basket.”

BEST GIVE THEM SHELTER BET: The group Homer Organization for More Equity Relations is hosting a conversation on homelessness on the Southern Kenai Peninsula from 4-5:30 p.m. this Sunday. Join them in a conversation about homelessness in our community and connecting our roles in supporting our neighbors. For the Zoom link to this conversation, send a Facebook message to Homer Organization for More Equity Relations.

A snowshoe hare forages on Friday. Sept. 4, 2020, on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. The hare is still in its summer coat, but will turn white for the winter. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

A snowshoe hare forages on Friday. Sept. 4, 2020, on Diamond Ridge near Homer, Alaska. The hare is still in its summer coat, but will turn white for the winter. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

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