Children help create art with the projectile painting booth on Saturday, June 5, 2021, for Mary Epperson Day at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News0

Children help create art with the projectile painting booth on Saturday, June 5, 2021, for Mary Epperson Day at the Homer Council on the Arts in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News0

Best Bets

Holy ultraviolet, has this been an awesome June or what? Any time you can get at least one weekend day of solid sunshine is a weekend worth remembering. Make it two days in a row and throw in a nice little daybreeze to keep the mosquitoes down, and we’re talking leave work early, fire up the barbecue and put out the lawn chairs.

Not that the Betster wants to complain, but such days have their downside. The sun shines so bright you can’t help but get out to play. First it might be a beach walk and then a bike ride on the Spit and oh look Kachemak Bay remains flat calm so let’s get out and kayak. Yum, that food truck or little cafe smells tempting. Is it time for lunch? Maybe we can get in a hike across the bay or a few hours of puttering around in the garden, and after that …

Huh? Sorry. The Betster fell asleep. You mean it’s midnight already? Yeah, that’s about how it goes here at Latitude 59 degrees and some change. Even our dog and cat friends go a bit wild in the summer — “Zoomies” is the technical term in the animal training world.

Zoom, zoom, zoom, zoom-a-room. Newcomers to Alaska and the experience of 18 hours and 34 minutes of full-on daylight might get sucked into the season. How can you resist? Our brains have been wired to think that light equals energy equals stay up late.

The second summer the Betster lived in Alaska, yours truly worked in Utqiagvik, Top of the World USA, where the sun didn’t set until Aug. 9. That’s right: It didn’t set at all for months. The Betster had a 9-to-5 job, but no one told the locals that. In the summer, the Arctic can be like New York City, when at any hour someone won’t be sleeping and most likely roaring around town on a dirt bike with a broken muffler.

“You can sleep next winter” goes the saying. That’s summer in Alaska. We have things to do and no one cares if you’re dead on your feet. So squeeze in some time to enjoy life, maybe with these Best Bets:

BEST FOODIE BET: The Betster considers themselves a major foodie, and the summer season is the best time of year to try a taste of all Homer has to offer. The Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center is hosting 2021 Taste of Homer Food Festival June 14-20 to celebrate locally loved restaurants and food. During the week, participating restaurants will feature their favorite dishes for a fixed price, and customers will have the opportunity to sign up for a “Dine Out On Us” gift package filled with gift cards to local restaurants. Participating restaurants will have a food festival sign outside their business to let other foodies know where to get some great grub. During the weekend, the city will host the Food Truck and Beer/Wine Garden Festival in the Kevin Bell Hockey Arena parking lot to encourage weekend visitors to experience the Homer food scene.

BEST SUMMER READING BET: The Homer Public Library is encouraging children, youth and adults to spend the summer reading and participating in workshops through Summer@HPL – Reading Colors Your World! in order to expand their education, imagination and creativity. The library is offering free reading challenges, virtual programs and at-home DIY activity kits for all ages. Visit www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/library/summer-hpl-2021 to see what programs are available for you and your children through the end of summer.

BEST BUCK BET: Looking to get vaccinated and wanting to earn $40 in Homer Bucks? South Peninsula Hospital and the City of Homer are hosting a pop-up vaccination clinic today from 3-7 p.m. on the Spit, and everyone who receives a dose at the clinic will automatically receive $40 Homer Bucks, which can be spent like cash locally.

Already vaccinated but still want a chance to earn a reward? Visit the pop-up clinic to enter your name into a drawing for the chance to win a $100-$500 gift card! This incentive program will be offered every Thursday through June. Visit the clinic at Boat House Pavilion near Ramp 2 to get vaccinated or to receive more information.

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