Best Bets

We Alaskans can be weird sometimes. No, the Betster doesn’t mean weird as in our rugged individualism crossed with community involvement and cosmic grooviness. Consider our attitudes toward the weather.

Y’all know we brag a lot about enduring extreme cold and rough weather. Forty-below? We might put on another layer. Twenty-foot seas and 60-knot winds blowing sideways? Time to check the cod pots. But if a stretch of warm, sunny skies lasts longer than a week, we get nervous.

“A little rain would be nice,” we’ll say. “We don’t want forest fires, and if it stays this warm those dang spruce bark beetles really will swarm.”

In some parts of the USA, tourist agencies tout the endless sunshine. In Bradenton, Florida, the local paper used to be free if it rained. California and the Southwest pitch sunny skies as part of the allure. Alaskans tend to be more practical. Clear skies and hot temperatures make us nervous. It’s a bit like city people camping out in the country. “Too quiet,” they’ll say.

You’d think after a long, dark winter a solid two weeks of sunshine would be welcome. And, yeah, people have been smiling a lot. At the Homer Farmers Market on Saturday everyone seemed positively giddy. My gosh, people even went swimming in Kachemak Bay without wet suits, something the Betster has seen only a half-dozen times in all those decades living in the far north — and one of those occasions was the annual polar bear plunge on the first sunset of summer in Utqiagvik. Days of sunshine is almost as weird as a city council meeting with no dissent or public testimony.

If this goes on … Well, if those goes on, expect that sunshine to rattle our brains. We’ll take off work early on Fridays, call in sick on Mondays and embrace the bliss of sunshine beating down on our faces while we wear nothing but T-shirts, hoodies and jeans — heck, shorts.

So buckle up, hang in there and suffer the sunshine. We’ll get through this, perhaps with these best bets:

BEST FOR DUFFY BET: Support the Loved & Lost memorial bench for Anesha “Duffy” Murnane and other missing and murdered women with an online dessert auction fundraiser starting at 8 a.m. Friday and running through noon Monday. Artist Brad Hughes also offers for sale a limited number of papercut lotus flowers. For more information or to bid, visit the auction site at

BEST ART AND ABOUT BET: There’s nothing finer than a stroll on a summer evening about town to see all the First Friday art openings. From downtown to Old Town, galleries hold opening receptions where you can meet the artists, listen to them talk about their work and see their amazing creations. See page B1 for all the deets.

BEST BE MARY BET: Homer’s maven of the arts, Mary Epperson, has passed on, but her spirit endures in our amazing arts and cultural community. Celebrate her with the Mary Epperson Day Celebration and Art Market from noon-5 p.m. Saturday at the Homer Council on the Arts. There will be live music, craft activities and family fun.

BEST TALKIN’ ABOUT ELECTIONS BET: Community Engagements will have another Zoom episode from 5:30-6:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, where Rep. Calvin Schrage will talk about his campaign finance bill that didn’t pass this last session, and ideas for campaign finance in Alaska. To register, either go to the Homer Public Library webpage or Kenai Peninsula Votes Facebook page and click the link to register.

BEST INTO THE WOODS BET: Curious about the forests and gardens at the Pratt Museum & Park? Take a guided tour today from 11 a.m. to noon and learn about the amazing plants and trees on the grounds. Pratt staff offer an interpretive introduction to the broader ecology of the Kachemak Bay region and describe the ways that we incorporate the plant communities of the region into the Botanical Garden at the Pratt Museum. Botany experts and novices alike can find delightful insights as we explore the interactions and dynamics of our local ecosystem.

BEST ALL THE BOATS BET: Want to learn the difference between a halibut boat and a seiner? Take the Pratt’s Homer History Harbor tour form 3-4:30 p.m. Friday at the harbor. Walk the docks, check out the amazing boats and learn about the boats, fishing and some of the characters that shaped Homer’s vibrant maritime history. The fee is $10; cash only.

BEST LIVE FROM SPENARD BET: In partnership with Spenard Jazz Festival, Homer Council on the Arts presents Endless Field at 7 p.m. next Thursday, June 9, at the Homer Theater. The show will be a unique combination of live music and screening of in situ wilderness performances. Concessions will be open and beer and wine will be available for purchase. Tickets are available at HCOA and at $30 general, $25 HCOA member, $10 youth. Masks required except when eating or drinking.

Endless Field (Biophilia Records Artists) is a collaborative instrumental guitar and bass duo featuring guitarist Jesse Lewis and bassist Ike Sturm. They play original songs filled with intricate finger-style lines, improvisation and ambient textures. Drawing on inspiration from nature, the duo seeks to bring music to outdoor spaces, encouraging audiences to explore their own frontiers.

Matthew Stillman forms giant soap bubbles on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the Homer Shores Boardwalk on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Matthew Stillman forms giant soap bubbles on Thursday, May 26, 2022, at the Homer Shores Boardwalk on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)