The Homer Spit, along with downtown Homer and Beluga Slough, were visible from Skyline Drive Overlook last weekend. (Photo by Sarah Knapp)

Homer’s Best Bets

The manic work going on at the Lake Street reconstruction project brought a taste of Los Angeles traffic to Homer this week. As crews laid down bright stripes on the newly paved roads, traffic backed up on both sides of the intersection. One friend of the Betster said she had to wait 10 minutes to get through earlier this week.

Ten minutes! Holy roundabout! That’s as much time as it takes to drive from town to the end of the Homer Spit. That’s almost as long as it takes to get from Paul Banks Elementary School to Bishop’s Beach assuming you don’t get caught behind a school bus.

We’re not used to these delays, citizens. A traffic jam means waiting three minutes to make a left turn from West Hill Road on to the highway. A traffic jam is when the guy in the Subaru in front of you goes 35 mph on the Bypass — you know, the speed limit.

All that road construction serves as a reminder that we have two seasons in Alaska: road construction and winter. Don’t complain, and instead have fun, maybe with these best bets:

BEST DOCFEST BET: The Homer Documentary Film Festival kicks off its 17th annual event with a gala on Sept. 23, including a showing of “Summer of Soul,” one of five films in the festival. This year’s event includes COVID-19 precautions, including fewer shows daily, a 2 p.m. vaccination-only show, 50% capacity, universal mask wearing inside, sanitizing between shows and a shorter play list. The festival features five films: “Summer of Soul,” about the 1969 weekend performances in Harlem of the top Black and Soul artists; “Roadrunner,” a biography of chef Anthony Bourdain; “Fantastic Fungi,” about the wonders of mushrooms and othermycelium life forms; “The Lost Leonardo,” the discovery of a $1,400 painting that could be by Leonardo da Vinci, and “Bear-Like(Der Bär in mir),” the adventure of a German filmmaker and biologist who develop a relationship with Alaska bears.

Admission to the gala event is $20 or $15 for seniors, youth, Peace Corps and military. Admission per film is $9 or $7 for seniors, youth, Peace Corps, military and matinees. For advance ticket sales, more information and trailers, visit https://www.homerdocfest.com/2018-festival.

BEST BOTANICAL AND BOOKS BET: What could be better than a book and plant sale in one location? And it supports the Homer Public Library? The Betster couldn’t think of a better possible way to spend a Saturday. The Friends of the Homer Library is hosting its fall book and plant sale this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Homer Public Library. Even better, if you’re a member of the Friends of the Homer Library, the members-only presale begins Friday at 6 p.m. Membership fees begin at $15. Book and plant donations can be made to the library on Thursday and Friday. Better get there before the Betster because they are looking to stock up on books before winter!

BEST BRUSH BET: With the cold weather moving in to Homer, a great way to stay involved in the community is indoor activity. This Friday, the Homer Council on the Arts is hosting a Chinese painting class with Sharlene Cline where participants will learn how to paint camellias in Chinese brush painting style. By utilizing expressive brush strokes, brush loading and color mixing, everyone is sure to leave the event with a beautiful piece of art. The class will be held from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Friday at the Homer Council on the Arts on Pioneer Avenue. General admission is $60, but it is $50 for HCOA members. Masks are required to participate in this event. Call 907-235-4288 for more information.

BEST HOCKEY BET: Have you ever wanted to learn how to play hockey as an adult but were worried about embarrassing yourself? Not to fear, Hockey 101 is here! Adults can learn how to play hockey at the Kevin Bell Arena in a relaxed, supportive and fun environment Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from Sept. 27 to Oct. 15. No experience or equipment is needed. Soon enough, there will be tons of Betster people skating circles around the regulars. The class costs $100 for nine hours of instruction on the ice. Sign up at kevinbellarena.org or email Ingrid at iharrald@hotmail.com to register and get fitted for gear.

BEST WHERE THE RIVER RUNS BET: The Center for Alaska Coastal Studies’ annual CoastWalk has started. The citizen monitoring and coastal cleanup project invites volunteers to pick a stretch of Kachemak Bay beach to look for environmental changes and pick up marine debris. This year’s theme is “Washed Away,” with a focus on waterways and runoff. To catch trash before it enters the ocean, volunteers are encouraged to clean a river or stream and gather the same information they would on a CoastWalk. CACS provides data sheets, how-to information and even bags to collect trash.

Want to learn more and how to sign up? Visit the CACS office at 708 Smoky Bay Way, call 907-235-6667 or email Henry @akcoastallstudies.org.

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