Kite surfers, stand-up paddleboarders and body surfers play in the waves off the Spit last month.-photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

Kite surfers, stand-up paddleboarders and body surfers play in the waves off the Spit last month.-photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

Homer’s Best Bets

Now that Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell has ordered Mt. McKinley be renamed Denali, will other prominent Alaska geographic features be next? The renaming of a mountain with a dead guy’s moniker on it to an indigenous name does raise the question of other appellations.

Ahem, like Homer.

As every school kid knows, the town of Homer gots its name in 1896 when Homer Pennock and the Alaska Gold Mining Company landed on the Homer Spit and had to come up with something to call their settlement. They chose “Homer.” Mr. Pennock, by all accounts a shyster and a con man, later lit out for the Yukon, but at least he visited here.

No one asked the Dena’ina people what Homer should be called. They have two perfectly good names, Tuggeght, for the bench, meaning “at the water,” and Uzintun, for the Spit, meaning  “extends out into water.” 

Well, the Betster admits to being fond of Homer as a name, and would like to think of the original Homer, the poet. You could do worse than name a town after a poet. There’s a certain poetry to the name, too. At its heart, Homer is always home. We hope so, anyway, because it’s a dang fine place to be, with lots to do like these Best Bets:


BEST NOT OVER UNTIL THE PAINT DRIES BET: Whew. Even with school started, Homer gets one last big blowout First Friday, including another Paint In at the Homer Elks Lodge. This time, three artists paint on the back porch. For all the openings, see Arts, page 7.


BEST POUND THOSE NAILS BET: If you’re looking for the Kachemak Bay Wooden Boat Festival, just listen for kids pounding nails under the big tent by Pier One Theatre. See boats, meet boatbuilders and enjoy a maritime tradition. The festival starts with Sea Chanteys and Tall Tales at 7 p.m. today at the Salty Dawg, and continues with High Seas Movie Night from 6-9 p.m. Friday at the Alaska Islands and Ocean and Visitor Center, the boat show from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on the Spit, and the dinner and dance at 6 p.m. Saturday at Alice’s Champagne Palace.


BEST GET KICKIN’ BET: Thirty years? Has it been that long? If you’re like the Betster, you’ve put in some miles over the years monitoring local beaches for the Center for Alaskan Coastal Studies’ CoastWalk. The kick-off starts at 6 p.m. Wednesday at the Homer Harbomaster’s Office on the Spit. Don’t miss the rubber boot art show from 5-7 p.m. Friday at CACS headquarters on Smokey Bay Way.

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