Members of the LowDown Brass Band perform an impromptu session Tuesday Aug. 7, 2018 at the Homer Brewery in Homer, Alaska. The band played at Salmonfest on Saturday, at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Tuesday and at Soldotna Creek Park on Wednesday. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Members of the LowDown Brass Band perform an impromptu session Tuesday Aug. 7, 2018 at the Homer Brewery in Homer, Alaska. The band played at Salmonfest on Saturday, at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Tuesday and at Soldotna Creek Park on Wednesday. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Best Bets

Here at our offices on the south shore of Beluga Lake, we see a lot of cool stuff happen. Throughout the summer float planes take off like B-25 bombers heading out over the Channel, except for more peaceful purposes (photographing bears, not bombing fascists). Every so often a moose chows down on our Sitka rose bush or the local ravens get snippy with a bald eagle.

So when on deadline Tuesday night as we finished writing the paper, we just had to take a break when a brass band marched down Lakeshore Drive playing. Holy Sousaphone! How often does that happen? OK, now and then — for Winter Carnival, the Bossy Pants Band hangs out at the Homer Brewery. But this was the LowDown Brass Band from Chicago, visiting Homer after their awesome Salmonfest gig. Just like last Saturday, we had amazing sunshine. Those dudes put a smile on our face and gave us the energy to power through on our last stories.

Recently, the Betster got all mopey about missing summer. We get so dang busy doing our jobs that sometimes we forget to enjoy this marvelous place we call home. Why should the tourists have all the fun? Salmonfest made up for it. If you’re going to cram all of a summer in a day, hanging out with 5,000 of your best friends and listening to totes awesome music does the trick. Add in the biggest food truck selection in all of Alaska, some cool booths and the best people watching this side of Seattle, and you can check off your summer punchlist in one swell foop. Bonus: on Sunday the Betster had a beach barbecue.

We still have summer left, but it’s going fast, especially with you-know-what starting soon. Seize the sunshine and make the best of it, maybe with these Best Bets:

BEST HISTORY BET: How long has it been since you looked at our little harbor? Like, really looked? Find out all the Homer Harbor used to be and how it got to where it is now on one of the Historic Harbor Walking Tours offered through the Pratt Museum from 3-4:30 p.m. on Thursdays. For $10 you can join a guide from the Pratt Museum at the wheelhouse booth in front of the Salty Dawg for this walking tour, where you can learn about the early history of Homer, the history of the harbor, and its many fishing vessels.

BEST BEDTIME STORY BET: It’s always nice to see young people getting involved. This time they’ve resurrected a timeless classic, the production “The Wind in the Willows.” Catch it starting Thursday at 7 p.m. at Pier One Theatre. The Youth Theatre Production Camp takes on the classic story. What begins as a peaceful summer on the River is soon disrupted by Toad and his obsession with motorcars. After crashing several cars, he then steals one and lands himself in jail. His friends Mole, Badger, and Water Rat make every effort to protect Toad’s residence, Toad Hall, but are instead ousted by the Ferrets and Weasels of the Wild Wood. Will Toad escape from jail and regain Toad Hall? Will he learn a lesson about his boastful and impetuous ways? The production costs $12 for general admission, and continues Saturday and Sunday.

BEST BARBECUE BET: Last year, Gov. Bill Walker established Aug. 10 as “Alaska Wild Salmon Day.” Now, Homer makes good on that declaration by holding its inaugural “AK Wild Salmon Day event from 4:30-7:30 p.m. on Friday. There will be a free, public salmon barbecue at Karen Hornaday Park complete with live music by Johnny B and others, presentations from fisher poets, a salmon-themed obstacle course, net hanging demonstrations, arts and crafts, research and information booths, and more.

BEST HOBO BET: Didn’t get your fill of Alaska’s favorite troubadour during Alaska Wild Salmon Day? Head on over to Anchor Point to catch Hobo Jim in concert at 4 p.m. this Sunday. The gate to Fireweed Meadows Golf Course opens at 3:30 p.m. with music by Rustic Stranger starting at 4 p.m. and Hobo Jim at 5 p.m. This show is for all-ages. Admission is a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children ages 5 to 12. Kids under 5 require no donation. Parking is available at the Anchor Point Senior Center.

Members of the LowDown Brass Band perform an impromptu session Tuesday Aug. 7, 2018 at the Homer Brewery in Homer, Alaska. The band played at Salmonfest on Saturday, at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Tuesday at Soldotna Creek Park on Wednesday. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Members of the LowDown Brass Band perform an impromptu session Tuesday Aug. 7, 2018 at the Homer Brewery in Homer, Alaska. The band played at Salmonfest on Saturday, at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Tuesday at Soldotna Creek Park on Wednesday. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Shane Jonas, left, and Sam Johnson, right, of the LowDown Brass Band perform an impromptu session Tuesday Aug. 7, 2018 at the Homer Brewery in Homer, Alaska. The band played at Salmonfest on Saturday, at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Tuesday and at Soldotna Creek Park on Wednesday. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Shane Jonas, left, and Sam Johnson, right, of the LowDown Brass Band perform an impromptu session Tuesday Aug. 7, 2018 at the Homer Brewery in Homer, Alaska. The band played at Salmonfest on Saturday, at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Tuesday and at Soldotna Creek Park on Wednesday. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Members of the LowDown Brass Band perform an impromptu session Tuesday Aug. 7, 2018 at the Homer Brewery in Homer, Alaska. The band played at Salmonfest on Saturday, at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Tuesday and at Soldotna Creek Park on Wednesday. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Members of the LowDown Brass Band perform an impromptu session Tuesday Aug. 7, 2018 at the Homer Brewery in Homer, Alaska. The band played at Salmonfest on Saturday, at Alice’s Champagne Palace on Tuesday and at Soldotna Creek Park on Wednesday. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

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