In a sign that things might start be getting back to normal, travelers from very far away have been reported seen in Homer. The Betster got a call this week from the Homer Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center that several dust-covered motorcyclists from Mexico had stopped by. Recently we saw a brand-new Volkswagen California camper with European Union plates driving around town. You can’t get a VW like that here in the USA. Then just the other day one of those big truck motorhome conversions pulled onto the Homer Bypass.
Years ago travelers like that showed up all the time. Europeans would ship their adventure trucks to Halifax, Canada, and then head across to Alaska. One time some French guys in Jeep campers popped into Mariner Park, and yours truly got to practice tourist French. (“Bienvenue! Je m’appelle le Betster.”) Heck, remember when the Hoka Hey event came to town, and we had 200 Harley Davidson motorcycles in the July 4 parade?
Maybe those days with more travelers will come back, just like $3.50 a gallon gasoline and the end of war in Europe. Maybe the COVID-19 pandemic will wind down to something comparable to an unpleasant cold and not the yucky crud people who get it now complain of. Everyone seems uncertain now, not quite sure about where to go and what to do and how to get through all this. No one seems to want to take on challenging jobs like the exciting world of journalism (see page 1).
It’s not that we’re stuck in a rut so much as frozen in stasis, astronauts who have been in suspended animation for 27 months and rousing from deep sleep, groggy and confused. Well, snap out of it, Betster persons! We have gardens to plant, houses to build, remodeling projects to finish, boats to build and adventures to begin. Nothing has been ever certain, which is all the more reason to embrace this amazing world and do something fun, like these best bets:
BEST SAME AS IT EVER WAS BET: The Kachemak Bay Research Reserve Discovery Labs are back, with fun topics to explore. This week, learn about how water moves through our environment through hands-on science activities and watercolor crafts. The lab is 1-3 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. Participants will be looking at watersheds, groundwater, alders and other water loving plants and animals, and provide some creative watercolor activities. Celebrate the wondrous world of water! This event is fun for all ages and families.
BEST INSIDE SCOOP BET: Get a guided tour of the Pratt Museum & Park with a focus on natural history every Friday at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. Museum guide and natural-history enthusiast Byron presents a free, family-friendly inside look of the museum.
BEST BRING IT BET: Like many Alaskans, artist Tamara Wilson can make lemonade out of lemons — repurposing and rebuilding stuff that others might let rust. That’s the idea behind The Lemonade Stand, a renovation of a 1963 travel trailer she found at Summit Lake near Fairbanks. The trailer provides artists an alternative space to galleries, with the idea of connecting communities. This weekend, Wilson brings The Lemonade Stand to Homer with an exhibit of her joyful felt installations. It will be at Bunnell Street Arts Center from 5-7 p.m. Friday for her exhibit opening and then at KBBI’s Concert on the Lawn on Saturday. Wilson does an artist’s talk at 6 p.m. Friday.
“My art practice is a mix between site-specific and studio work. I am inspired by domestic spaces, memories, investigations of how things work, daily routines, and industrial materials, but also the need to escape it all and dream,” Wilson writes of her work. “The push and pull of my pragmatic and childish mind fabricate my ideas within my work with the use of craft and industrial materials, such as building supplies, paper and felt. The upcoming show within The Lemonade Stand will be an immersive felt installation, featuring felt props replicated from the objects that can be found in our homes. I’ve had a long fascination with the ideas of home, and how we define them.”
BEST ALL THE WAY BET: Visitors come from all over the world to make that trip to the terminus of the Sterling Highway at the end of the Homer Spit. Make a run of that trip with the annual Homer Spit Run on Saturday. The event features the 10k Run to the Bay and the Cosmic Hamlet Half Marathon. The 10K Run to the Bay starts at Homer High School and continues to the end of the Homer Spit at the End of the Road Park. The Cosmic Hamlet Half Marathon is an out and back starting and finishing at the End of the Road Park. Complimentary shuttle service will be available from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. for runners to return back to the high school from the End of the Road Park. Register online at https://my.raceresult.com/203385/. Not running? Cheer on the finishers at the End of the Road.
BEST GO LIVE BET: It’s been a long, long time since Concert on the Lawn could be heard in town. Join the festive classic and help support KBBI Public Radio starting at 11 a.m. Saturday at the performance meadow at the Down East Saloon. The show runs until about 7 p.m. Tickets are on sale now at www.kbbi.org/concert-on-the-lawn-2022. General admission is $25, youth ages 5-12 are $15, and ages 5 and under are free with an accompanying adult. Be a KBBI Super Fan and pay it forward with a $65 ticket that includes entrance, a COTL T-shirt, and a small donation to help put on the show. The day also includes food and other vendors.
The line up of local and Alaska bands includes the KP Brass Band, John Cottingham and Kaelyn Quinn, Jim Maloney, Atz Lee and Nikos Kilcher, Uplift, Bed of Roses, The English Bay Band, and Matt Hopper and the Roman Candles.