Best Bets

In what can seem like an overwhelming sea of black, the amount of radiant and unique color can seem surprising.

How else would we be able to see the shining auras which crown from behind and around the mountains and horizon without the dark backdrop? The red, red, redness which has been visiting us occasionally on evenings is a special guest that makes it home within the winter tones.

To continually encounter a feeling of strange awe, brought about by seeing something, or being apart of some natural phenomenon, which just seems other-worldly — that is the Betster’s habit during our Homer winters.

Whether it be the months of night which blur the segments of our days and make every evening morning feel like one long patient sigh, or the constant dawn/dusk which cries of passing through. It is an uncanny mixture of eternity and the finite. The finite which we see passing just above the mountain tops from East to West, and the infinity which greets us in the solemn returning gaze of a night sky.

But what for all the brilliant eyes which sit quietly, fiercely up in the night sky? No picture could capture the immensity one discovers when, by chance or by a deeper intuition, they find themselves with head upturned in the night air.

Countless stars sitting in something which doesn’t seem fully there; layers behind layers that are vaguely present yet escaping our determinations; a moon with a hue that seems to shine brighter than even the sun during the day.

Less may be seen during the night of a Homer winter, but more may be surmised.

Amongst all this overwhelming diversity and the strange settings, we find ourselves doing something almost as strange: strapping some blades to our feet and gliding across a frozen body of water.

Yet somehow, someway, we manage to find comfort in the scene, and even, maybe, a feeling of being home.

For more ways to dive into the possibilities of winter, check out these Best Bets:

BEST MOM BET: Seven Alaskan artist mothers present “MOTHER” at Bunnell Street Arts Center for the month of December. Exhibit programming will include performances and a mending workshop.

The exhibit opening is 5-7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 2 and will commence with “Nurturing,” a performance by Myesha Callahan Freet at 5:45 p.m., followed by artist talks at 6 p.m..

“Mother: A position, an act, a summoning, an expletive, a transition, an irreversibility.

The word conjures comfort, expectation, humility, defiance, entanglement, lineage, disappointment, rage, and bliss. The state is simultaneously verdant and mundane, a vein of generational knowledge and deep intuition tempered by unknowing and unlearning.

Mother is created from within our mothering experience, but also in response to our relationships with one another – sustenance, balm, commitment, and reckoning.

We do this work to contextualize, remember, and honor all stages of mothering. By couching our questions in reprieve and tenderness, we reinforce connections to mothers who came before, to those seen everyday, and to others who have yet to become.”

BEST SEW IT UP BET: As part of December’s exhibit programming of MOTHER, A Mending Lab Workshop led by Amy Meissner will be Saturday, Dec. 3, 2022, 10 a.m. to noon at Bunnell Street Arts Center.

Bring a garment in need of hand repair and work together with the artist to care for, accompany, and prolong the life of your textile. Simple supplies will be available to share or bring your own needle, thread, yarn, scissors. Max 20 participants. Fee is by donation; registration by email at

BEST FAIRE BET: The Nutcracker Faire kicks off at 11 a.m. this Saturday, Dec. 3, and it’s going to be a hoot. Its the return of the holiday season arts and crafts market featuring Kenai Peninsula artists and makers, which hasn’t been around since 2020. Shop local this holiday season to support the Kenai Peninsula’s creative artists and artisans. Visit the Faire for live music, delicious food, handcrafted goods, original art, and community gathering!

Masks will be required the first hour each day of the Faire to accommodate our more vulnerable friends and neighbors. Masks are optional for the majority of the Faire.

BEST MAGICAL BET: The costumes have been sewn and repaired, the props repainted, the Nutcracker Prince’s jaws oiled and the King Rat’s teeth sharpened. Hundreds of volunteer hours have gone into the annual, fabulous Homer Nutcracker Ballet. Even if you’ve seen it 34 times, there’s always something new, some clever twist to freshen up the holiday tradition. The ballet runs Saturday, Dec. 3, at 3 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 4, at 3 p.m., Friday, Dec. 9, at 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Dece. 10, at 3 p.m. Tickets are $18 adult, $13 advance and $20 adults, $15 child at the door. Tickets are available online at, at the Wildberry Building, 528 E. Pioneer Ave. on Mondays and Fridays, 3 p.m. to 6 p.m., at the Nutcracker booth at the Homer Nutcracker Faire on Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 3 and 4, at the door if available, and at River City Books in Soldotna. The Wednesday, Dec. 7, 7 p.m. show is kids attend free with a paid adult ticket, tickets are $20 and available at the Wildberry Products building and at the door as available.

BEST HUMANITARIAN BET: Lucas Wilcox has been working in Ukraine since the first weeks of the war to establish the manufacturing capacity ARK needs to rapidly build sustainable wood-fired refugee camps with recycled materials.

At 5:30 – 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8 at Grace Ridge Brewery, Lucas Wilcox will speak about his work. ARK is building giant blizzard-proof wood-fired field-kitchens in Ukraine that cook 75 gallon meals without fossil fuels or electricity, as kamikaze drones destroy utility infrastructure before winter.

As a humanitarian, Lucas will discuss the ARK project and how busy people in a small town can have a positive impact on millions of people on the other side of the world.

As a world traveler, he will relay his firsthand experience traveling around a country at war.

And as a diligent student of geopolitics he will touch on some of the wider context that suggest scenarios for how the future will unfold.