Best Bets

After taking a break for the holidays, organizations and businesses around town are gearing up to bring you new and exciting events and exhibits! Check out speaking events hosted by South Peninsula Hospital or the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies. Crack open your notebooks to get ready for the Kenai Peninsula Writers Contest — submissions opening soon! Or start brainstorming and building your float for the upcoming Winter Carnival Parade in February — participants can start signing up now! For details on these and more, take a look at these Best Bets.

BEST LIVE HEALTH BET: Join South Peninsula Hospital for their monthly health lecture series, “Down with Downey: Live at Five.” On Jan. 11, Dr. Rob Downey goes live at 5 p.m. on the Seaworthy Functional Medicine Facebook page to discuss menopause as a new beginning or a positive next chapter in a woman’s life. Learn ways to make the transition smoother and more enjoyable! An in-depth Q&A will follow his short presentation. Sessions are recorded and available for viewing at For more information, call 907-435-3070.

BEST DONATION DRIVE BET: South Peninsula Hospital is seeking donations for Community Resource Connect, scheduled for Jan. 30, 2024! CRC is a one-day event held in both Homer and Anchor Point, open to anyone facing financial instability or homelessness, or who is at risk of houselessness. Donate items such as gently used and clean sleeping bags, winter gear and backpacks, and new tents, pet supplies, toilet paper, nonperishable food, sleds, batteries, personal care products, cleaning supplies, water jugs and menstrual products. Donations will be accepted through Jan. 15. Drop your items off at First National Bank in Homer. For more information, call 907-235-0285 or email 3655 Heath St.

BEST WRITERS CONTEST BET: The 26th Kenai Peninsula Writer’s Contest is almost here! Submissions open Monday, Jan. 15 with three writing categories and five age groups ranging from K-3rd grade to Adult/Open. Participants may submit unlimited entries in poetry, fiction and nonfiction. Submissions to the Adult/Open age group are $10 each. Submissions to age groups within K-12th grade are $3 each. For more information, call 907-235-4288. 355 W Pioneer Ave.

BEST WEEKLY SPEAKERS BET: The Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies’ hosts a winter weeknight program, Tuesday Night Lights, in January! This free rotating event series at CACS headquarters will feature a new special guest giving a talk or hosting an activity every week. On Tuesday, Jan. 16 at 6 p.m., come check out “Plants of the High Arctic,” where biologist Conrad Field will present a look at the plant communities of the arctic region and the adaptations plants have to survive these harsh conditions. Make sure to check out the full schedule for other amazing speakers at 708 Smoky Bay Way.

BEST WEEKLY WELLNESS BET: SPH Health & Wellness invites you to a free weekly gathering every Wednesday from 5-7 p.m. at Kachemak Bay Campus! Participants can enjoy warm soup, bread and a dose of health education from a rotating presenter, all followed by an hour of gentle, Hatha-based yoga led by certified instructor Britt Huffman. On Jan. 17, board-certified family medicine doctor Dr. Joe Llenos will share how food can be used to maintain good health. Dr. Llenos will discuss the benefits of a healthy diet and the impact of food on our overall well-being. You will learn how to harness the power of nutrition to improve your health and vitality. The presentation is an excellent opportunity to gain insights into using food as medicine and how it intersects with nutrition and health. Community members of all ages and abilities are welcome. Come for part of it or all of it! 533 E. Pioneer Ave.

BEST ICE CRAFTING BET: Join the Alaska Maritime National Wildlife Refuge on Wednesdays and Fridays at 12:30 p.m. in helping to make ice lanterns! Meet at the AMNWR Visitor Center, and be prepared to work inside and outside. If you would like to donate containers to help those making the lanterns, they can be dropped off at the Visitor Center desk during regular operating hours. Ice lantern making will continue, leading up to the Ice Lantern Walk on the Beluga Slough Trail on Saturday, Jan. 20, sponsored by AMNWR. For more information, visit 95 Sterling Hwy.

BEST CALL FOR ART BET: Homer Council on the Arts is partnering with Friends of the Homer Library to put together a show inspired by Jess Walter’s novel, “The Cold Millions,” and based on the 2022-2023 NEA Big Read theme, “Where we live.” This exhibition asks creatives, “What does home mean to you?” and, more specifically, “How do you make the Homer area your home?” Submissions are open to all ages and abilities through Jan. 20. For more information, visit

BEST WINTER PARADE BET: Mark your calendars for the 70th annual Winter Carnival Parade, happening on Saturday, Feb. 10 at noon on Pioneer Avenue! This year’s theme is “What’s Old Is New.” Organizers are looking for volunteers to help with traffic, including Homer High School students. If you would like to participate in the parade itself, fill out the entry form for your float! Participants can also register a walking entry, cars or bikes. For more information and to access the form, visit