Summer’s here and, at long last, so is the sunshine. Whether you’re busy in your garden, out catching fish for the freezer, hiking on local or across the bay trails, or showing visitors around our beautiful neck of the woods, there’s no shortage of fun, interesting and educational activities to keep you enjoying these beautiful days that will go by so quickly. Get out and enjoy it all, including these Best Bets.
BEST GIFT SHOP REOPENING BET: The South Peninsula Hospital Auxiliary Gift Shop officially reopens after being closed for the past two years. Join the Grand Opening from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, July 6, at the hospital. There will be refreshments, door prizes and giveaways. See the unique items the gift shop has for sale and learn about volunteering at the shop or joining the auxiliary. The Gift Shop is located in the hospital’s main lobby and will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday to Friday, with all proceeds benefiting the hospital and patients. South Peninsula Hospital, Main Entrance, 4300 Bartlett Street.
BEST COMMUNITY THEATRE CELEBRATION BET: Pier One Theatre celebrates 50 years and more than 350 performances and community collaborations. From 4-6 p,m. Friday, July 7, enjoy a First Friday Opening Reception at the Pratt Museum & Park with an exhibit of theater memorabilia, including costumes, props and photo boards. Take in theater performances all summer long on the outdoor forest stage at Pratt Museum & Park, including “Maud of the Island” and Trey Parker’s “Cannibal! The Musical.” Pier One’s Reunion Week will be July 10-16, with a Celebration of Life for Lance Petersen, performances, a reunion party and more. Find the full schedule of events and activities at pieronetheatre.org/. Pratt Museum & Park, 3779 Bartlett Street.
BEST BOOST THOSE BOOTS BET: Stop by Grace Ridge Brewing during First Friday on July 7 from 4-7 p.m., when Homer youth artist Daisy Walker will be on hand with her paints and sealer to add splashes of color to community members’ boots, hats, shoes, and any other items you bring by. In addition to doing customized designs on the spot, she will also be taking orders. Grace Ridge Brewing, 870 Smokey Bay Way.
BEST ROCKFISH DAY BET: Alaska Department of Fish and Game Rockfish Day is 10 a.m to noon Saturday, July 8, and is a celebration of rockfish conservation. Stop by the Homer Spit Boat House Pavilion by Ramp 3 where ADF&G biologists will demonstrate and distribute deep water release mechanisms while supplies last and supply information about rockfish life history. For more information, call 907-235-8191, email@example.com, www.adfg.alaska.gov. Homer Spit, Ramp 3.
BEST FAMILY FUN DAY BET: Pratt Museum & Park hosts Family Fun Day in partnership with the Peony Celebrations on Wednesday, July 12, 1-3 p.m. Enjoy free refreshments and outdoor activities for kids and kids at heart. Pratt Museum & Park, 3779 Bartlett Street.
BEST LEARN YOUR POISON PLANTS BET: Join Yarrow Hinnant, Pratt Museum Botanical Curator, in an exploration of the history and lore of poison plants fro 1-3 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, and Saturday, July 22. Delve into the history of aconite poison whaling in this region as well as the lore and mythology of other aconites from around the world. This cross-cultural and interdisciplinary class will focus on poison plants that are native to the Kenai and include a brief overview of safely incorporating poison plants into your garden. Space is limited.There is a fee. Need-based scholarships are available for local community members. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info. For other information, 907-235-8635. Pratt Museum & Park, 3779 Bartlett Street.
BEST KNEE-HIGH NATURALIST BET: The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies hosts Knee-High Naturalists at the Wynn Nature Center beginning Tuesday, June 13 and continuing every Tuesday from 10:30-11:30 a.m. all summer long. Naturalists will provide fun programs for parents and toddlers to explore the outdoors, including stories, walks and crafts, with a new theme each week. Activities are free and a parent/caregiver must be present. For more information, call 907-235-6667, akcoastalstudies.org.
BEST COMMUNITY WALK BET: Homer’s Independent Living Center presents “Walk with Pat” from 1:30-3:30 p.m. every Wednesday through August. Meet behind ILC building’s parking lot for an inclusive walk in central Homer. Discover how to better connect and experience the community on foot, with discussions about walkability in Homer, pedestrian safety concerns and addressing hazards often overseen. Open to everybody. Routes change weekly depending on interests and needs. For more information, call 907-235-7911. ILC, 265 E .Pioneer Ave.
BEST YOUTH MUSIC CAMP BET: Register your kids for Homer Council on the Arts’ Mary Epperson Summer Music Camp to be held 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 17-21, Youth ages 8-17 will explore piano, string instruments and song, learning to jam with a group and picking up new skills while having fun. Whether studying privately, learning from friends or YouTube, or completely new to music, this is an opportunity to play with others to make music come to life. Learn more and register at the Homer Council on the Arts website, homerart.org/events/.
BEST CITY OF PEONIES CELEBRATIONS BET: Homer’s fourth annual Peony Celebrations take place all month long and include farm tours, meadery and greenhouse tours, self-guided Pioneer Avenue walking tours, artwork, workshops and art classes, peony sales, wine and mead tastings, and more. Dubbed the “City of Peonies” in 2017 with 25 peony farms growing the beautiful, fragrant flowers, enjoy all the festivities in celebrating these big, beautiful and fragrant flowers. Peony bouquet sales will take place at the Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursdays, July 13, 20, 2-6 p.m. Fridays, July 14, 21 and 28, and S10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays, July 15, 22 and 29. Find the full schedule of events at homeralaska.org/events or stop by the chamber, 201 Sterling Highway.