Somehow with the Fourth of July behind us, it feels like we’ve peaked for the summer. That’s what happens when we put the big summer holiday in early July and not six weeks into the season between Memorial Day and Labor Day. If the Founding Persons had any foresight, they might have declared independence on July 15 just to space out the holidays more evenly. Well, if the Founding Persons had any foresight, they would have prohibited slavery from the start, given women the right to vote and figured out that whole presidential succession thing. Details. Representative democracy has always been a work in progress, and sometimes gets stuck in the mud.
Despite red flag fire warnings all over the state, thick smoke rolling in on mean cat’s feet and the fear that one bad spark could torch all of Southcentral Alaska, we dodged a calamity last weekend. Thank you, citizens and visitors (except for those four scofflaws who burned illegally) for celebrating the Fourth of July responsibly. Weirdly enough, the Betster did not hear one pop of fireworks go off, allowing combat veterans and pets to sleep soundly.
With more than 2 million acres of wildfires around Alaska, other parts of the state haven’t been so lucky. Looking at wildfire maps, it seems like all of Southwestern Alaska is on fire. That’s global weirding for you, when things heat up, thunderstorms roll in and nature reminds us who’s in charge.
We’re going through cooler weather, shorter daylight hours and cloudy skies — all signs of midsummer. The peony farmers don’t despair when the temperature drops a few degrees, because that keeps those glorious flowers from blooming too early. The big Peony Celebration started on Wednesday, which means farm tours, art shows and events, and lots of peony related stuff to do this month. As we say around here, “If it’s July, it’s peony time.” Well, the Betster just made that up.
So embrace the glory of beautiful flowers, cooler days and still plenty of fun things to do, like these Best Bets:
BEST TALKIN’ FLOWERS BETS: OK, just so you can’t say, “Ma, there’s nothing to do,” here’s the plug for getting out and enjoying the Peony Festival. Start with a stroll down Pioneer Avenue and enjoy the peony plots, and then check out page B1 in this paper for a list of the events. Some are free and others have a modest fee, but all of them are just loads of fun.
BEST SECOND CHANCES: If you missed First Friday fun last week, don’t despair. You have a second chance with, well, Second Friday, the Homer Council on the Arts’ monthly event. This Friday at 6 p.m. it’s music by Sue Butler and Friends at the arts council on West Pioneer Avenue. The musicians present a diverse evening of original music and covers from jazz and blues to to bossa nova and more. Admission is $10. Homer kombucha is on tap. HCOA’s Second Friday performances are an all-ages venue for all genres of performance, especially emerging artists and experimental projects.
BEST ART AND ABOUT BET: Get the kids outside and away from handheld electronic devices with the July session of Art in the Park. Enjoy creative play and making art inspired by nature with Sharlene Cline July 11-15. Classes are held at Bishop’s Beach or Karen Hornaday Park, depending weather and site availability. Call HCOA at 907-235-4288 for details and to register.
BEST IN THE ROOMS BET: If you’re someone working to stay sober, you know it’s good to have some friends. Hang out with John and Jane and Bob and Barbara for meetings at The Rooms, as insiders call it.The Homer CoDA Group for Co-Dependents Anonymous are held on Wednesdays at 1:30 p.m. and Sundays at 6:30 p.m. at 126 W. Pioneer Ave., Suite 1, next to the Homer Theatre. The contact number is 907-756-3104.