OK, so the summer weather has not shaped up to be the best in terms of sun-filled days for outdoor adventures, gardening and all-around seasonal activities. Still, the Betster will gladly take the rain and cooler temperatures over the heat engulfing the Lower 48 states. If these gray days are getting you down, there are plenty of events and activities going on around town to enjoy, indoors and outdoors. Just check out these Best Bets.
BEST ARTS BY AIR BET: Bunnell Street Arts Center and KBBI present Bunnell Arts by Air, an on-air broadcast and live concert with Arlo Hannigan on Friday, July 21. The in-person audience must be seated by 6:45 p.m.; otherwise, tune in to AM 890 KBBI or 88.1 FM in Seward when the show goes live at 7 p.m. Arlo Hannigan is a singer/songwriter from Nome whose sound has been compared to artists such as Townes Van Zandt, Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake. His album, “Death By Daydream,” features artists such as Jon Rauhouse and Bo Koester, as well as Jacob Valenzuela. More recently, “Harder To Return,” recorded during the pandemic, features fiddler and troubadour Jackie Rae Daniels. Hannigan’s grant-awarded project, “Fresh Water,” continues to air nationwide on Native Voice One. Tickets are sliding scale $15 discount, $20 regular, $30 pay-it-forward and can be purchased at bunnellarts.org. For more information, call 907-235-2662 or visit the gallery at 106 W. Bunnell Ave.
BEST LEARN YOUR POISON PLANTS BET: Join Yarrow Hinnant, Pratt Museum Botanical Curator, in an exploration of the history and lore of poison plants on Saturday, July 22, 1-3 p.m. 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 email@example.com for more info. For more information, 907-235-8635. 3779 Bartlett Street.
BEST CONCERT ON THE GREEN BET: Save the date for Saturday, July 22, 1-9 p.m. when the Lisa Halverson Foundation and Coastal Realty present the Third Annual Concert on the Green at Fireweed Meadows Golf Course in Anchor Point with music, food and fun for all ages. Performing will be the English Bay Band, Jaques Longpre Band, John Crocker, Pushki Pickers and Transient Identity. A donation at the door benefits the Chapman School music program. Kids are free. Scavenger hunt at 2 p.m. 72749 Milo Fritz Ave.
BEST FAMILY PLANNING CELEBRATION BET: Kachemak Bay Family Planning Clinic is celebrating 40 years of community access to reproductive health care and sexual health education. Join them for Roots & Shoots, an evening celebration and fundraiser on Saturday, July 22, 6:30-9 p.m. in the Bear Creek Winery gardens. For ages 21 and older, enjoy food, live music by Homer’s own The Wet Spots, and drinks. Limited tickets are available. For more information and tickets, visit kbfpc.org. KBFPC, 3959 Ben Walters Lane.
BEST YOUNG NATURALISTS BET: The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies hosts Knee High Naturalists at the Wynn Nature Center on Tuesdays, 10:30-11:30 a.m. where parents and toddlers will explore the outdoors and enjoy stories, walks and crafts. On Wednesdays, they host Trackers! from 1-3 p.m., teaching kids to learn about the animals that spend their time in the area, identifying by scat, tracks and other signs they leave behind. The Knee High Naturalists program is free. Trackers is $10/class. A parent/caregiver must be present for both programs. For more information, call 907-235-6667, akcoastalstudies.org. Wynn Nature Center, Mile 1.4 Skyline Drive.
BEST SUMMER READING CHALLENGE BET: Friends of the Homer Library host “The Summer Reading Challenge” through July 29. Individuals and families are encouraged to sign up and starting earning prizes. After reading five books or for five hours, stop by the library for a prize, then again for another prize for completing the challenge of 10 books or reading for 10 hours. Keep reading beyond the challenge for additional opportunities to win prizes and enjoy the Summer Reading Program Party on July 29. The library has planned more than 30 events to inspire families to read and learn together. Some programs require registration, so visit the website for the full schedule. For more information and to sign up for the challenge, visit www.cityofhomer-ak.gov/library.
BEST CITIZEN SCIENCE CRANE BET: Successful fledgling and mortality reports of the local sandhill crane populations help Kachemak Crane Watch compare nesting success rates year after year and Citizen Science reports are vital to monitoring of the nesting season. Please report any fledged crane colts, including where and when you see them, as well as your contact information. If the colts you have been watching have disappeared or died, please report how they died, if you know. Send reports to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 907-235-6262.
BEST KIDS SUMMER LUNCH BAG BET: The Anchor Point Food Pantry is providing a Kid’s Summer Lunch Bag Program on Wednesdays, noon-2 p.m. through August, available to all children 18-years-old and younger. 34361 Old Sterling Highway.
BEST ART IN THE LIBRARY BET: The library’s Fireplace Reading Lounge hosts oil paintings by Achim Jahnke who will update the display every month through September. Friends of the Homer Public Library is now accepting art submissions for October 2023 through September 2024, with artists having the opportunity to display their art for three months at a time. Find the Art in the Library guidelines near the library front desk or on the Friends of the Homer Public Library’s website, friendshomerlibrary.org. 500 Hazel Ave.
BEST CITY OF PEONIES BET: Homer’s fourth annual Peony Celebrations continues all month long with farm tours, meadery and greenhouse tours, self-guided walking tours, artwork, workshops and art classes, peony sales, wine and mead tastings and more. Peony bouquet sales take place at the Homer Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Center on Thursdays, July 20 and 27, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Fridays, July 21 and 28, 2-6 p.m., and Saturdays, July 22 and 29, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. For more information and the schedule of events, call 907-235-7740 or visit homeralaska.org/events, 201 Sterling Highway.