A leaf and berries lie on a boulder in the Pratt Museum’s botanical garden last Friday — one of the best places in town to do some fall “leaf peeping,” as they call it in New England.-Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

A leaf and berries lie on a boulder in the Pratt Museum’s botanical garden last Friday — one of the best places in town to do some fall “leaf peeping,” as they call it in New England.-Photo by Michael Armstrong, Homer News

Homer’s Best Bets

Every October we enter the cusp of winter, or winter as we Alaskans define it. Alaska doesn’t cycle through the seasons in neat and tidy three-month quarters. Regretfully, the evidence shows us summer has gone. No motorhomes on the Spit? Fishing over in the Fishing Hole? Shops boarded up? Sandhill cranes departed? Trees turning glorious yellow? Farmers Market ended? Yup.

But winter? Not yet. Shall we dare to drive without studded tires? Shall we do the great shoe shuffle? Shall we cut more firewood? Shall we dig up potatoes? Many of us put off the inevitable until, well, it becomes inevitable. Never give up. Never surrender. Hold on to that last glorious sunny day until ice puddles freeze solid and the first snowflakes fall. Are we in denial? No. We know winter will come soon. Are we stubborn? Maybe. Why wear out your studs? Why clutter up the shoe rack? A serious snowfall could be … Well, the Betster dares not say. Speak not of when the cold precipitation falls, for these are matters known only to the gods.

Besides, some of us have never put away the snow shovel. Some of us treat winter not as an unwelcome guest, but as in places like Barrow, a visitor who could drop in unannounced. The Betster has lived years in this state, and in every month of the year — yes, including June, July and August — has seen snow fall.

Meanwhile, embrace crisp mornings, slow sunsets and amazing colors, maybe with these Best Bets:


BEST DO THAT FUNKY ART CRAWL BET: A few new venues have popped up with arts shows for First Friday this month, like Marjorie Scholl’s “Heavy Metal” show at Fat Olives. Stretch your artistic range not just with the usual galleries, but some new places. See the whole list in Arts, page 14.


BEST SO 20TH CENTURY BET: After you’ve seen the art shows, don’t miss “Born in the Wrong Century,” a musical performance by way talented Homer High School seniors Robert Hockema and Patrick Latimer at 7:30 p.m. Friday at the Homer Council on the Arts. It’s part of HCOA’s gallery concert series.


BEST MARINER PRIDE BET: Pause while strolling Pioneer Avenue during First Friday to cheer on the Mariners football team for their Homecoming Parade. The parade starts at 6:30 p.m. on East Pioneer Avenue and heads up the hill to Homer High School. Join a bonfire in the lower parking lot for food, games and fun. The games are at noon and 3 p.m. Saturday.


BEST KEEP IT COLD BET: We’re talking smooth skating ice, of course — that cold. Support the Homer Hockey Association and the Kevin Bell Ice Arena at its big dessert auction and dinner from 5-8 pm. Saturday at the Homer Elks Lodge. You might as well give early and give often to the hockey association, because it’s on a big push to pay off the ice arena loan. The suggested donation is $20, and of course the sky’s the limit on yummy pies.


BEST DARE TO EXPLORE BET: Did you know the highest peak on the Kenai Peninsula is Truuli Peak? Not even the smarty-pants Betster knew that. Learn about awesome mountains to climb and places to explore when Chuck Lindsay presents “Climbing and Skiing in Homer’s Local Wilderness Areas” at noon Wednesday at the Alaska Islands and Ocean Visitor Center. 

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