Recently one of our hard working reporters took a vacation to Paris. Sacre bleu! It’s a good thing the International Herald Tribune wasn’t hiring or we would have lost the poor guy to the City of Lights. He’s been talking of sidewalk cafes, awesome museums, incredible monuments, quaint little side streets, and, of course, cheese, wine and chocolate.
It got the Betster to thinking. Can Homer be more like Paris? What gives any city its charm? Homer has grand scenery, cool art, amazing food, good beer, and, oh yeah, handsome men and beautiful women with a fine fashion sense. For fine shoes we have XtraTufs and for scarves we have hoodies. We haven’t quite nailed that street cafe scene on account of the weather can be a bit fickle. Give us a fine summer day, though, and our restaurants can rival any Boulevard St. Germain bistro.
What Homer really needs to be more like Paris is an iconic monument. Paris has the Eiffel Tower. We have the Salty Dawg. Not to put the Dawg down, but tourists aren’t taking double-decker bus tours at night to see the Dawg lit up in flashing lights. What if Homer had a tower or ginormous statue it would take a 3-foot selfie stick to take in? We’re talking Poot Peak in cast iron. Put that on the map and we’d be golden.
We have to be content with glaciers and mountains, wild waves, friendly people, interesting shops, good fishing, amazing boats and, oh yeah, that Spit. Oh, right. The Spit kind of is our icon, isn’t it?
Problem solved. We can be the Paris by the Bay. So put on a beret and celebrate this awesome little town, maybe with these Best Bets:
BEST REMEMBER BET: The Memorial Day weekend isn’t just about fishing, picnics and the traditional start of the tourist season. Keep the “memorial” back in the holiday by remembering the reason for this weekend. On Monday we honor America’s war dead with services in Homer, Anchor Point and Ninilchik. See schedule, page 3. Pick up a poppy from American Legion volunteers Friday-Saturday at Safeway. Donations support veterans programs.
BEST SALMON ON MY MIND BET: Take time from salmon fishing this weekend by hearing local authors talk about why they love salmon so much. At 6 p.m. Friday at the Homer Public Library, editor Nancy Lord discusses “Made of Salmon: Alaska Stories from the Salmon Project,” and local writers Rich Chiappone, Kirsten Dixon, Jerre Wills and Michael Dinkel read excerpts from their essays in the anthology.
BEST FARM ON! BET: Celebrate local food, crafts and flowers this weekend with the start of the Homer Farmers Market. The market of locally grown amazingness is 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday on Ocean Drive. There also will be marimba music by Shamwari and activities for children. Follow the latest happenings at the market with our Farmers Market columnist Kyra Wagner. See story, page 1, Business and Real Estate.
BEST TAKE IT TO THE STREET BET: The dress is “Alaskana Tuff and Fancy,” the food is awesome and hopefully the weather will be sunny with not too much breeze. Perfect. That’s the annual Old Town Dinner in the Street from 4-8 p.m. Sunday on Bunnell Avenue in front of Bunnell Street Arts Center. Tickets are $50. For an extra $35, you can take home a hand-made bowl. Call 235-2662 for tickets.
BEST MEET THE TOURISTS BET: The Swan Market is open every cruise-ship day from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Homer Elks Lodge. That’s this Tuesday, when the M/S Maasdam makes its first trip of the season. Check out fine crafts and welcome our far-away visitors.