Homer Winter Carnival: A Tradition for 61 Years

Feeling February’s chill now that the temperature has dropped? 

Warm up with the 61st annual Homer Winter Carnival today through Sunday. This year’s theme, “Warm Winter Hearts,” overlaps with Valentine’s Day, and offers plenty of memorable activities for those in — or out of — love.

Outhouse race? Not so romantic. But if you’re competitive, goofy and creative, it might be the perfect fit.

Immediately following the parade Saturday on Pioneer Avenue is the second annual outhouse race.  Don’t worry — it’s not the whole length of Pioneer. Contestants simply have to propel their mobile toilet down a roughly 150-yard stretch, starting in front of Bay Realty.

“Those guys ran out of gas last year in half of this distance,” said race coordinator, Dax Radtke, adding, “routes can be a funny thing.” 

The official 2015 rules for the race include the following: 

“Defense strategies are not completely illegal. If your opponents are somehow delayed you’ll probably have a better shot at winning. … Other shenanigans, tricks, deceptions, and/or outright Outhouse Race mischief is probably your best ticket.”

Radtke’s goofy-event coordinating doesn’t stop with the races. Instead of a winter queen pageant, like the ones from carnivals gone by, he has organized a Mr. Homer pageant, also in its second year. Held Valentine’s Eve — that’s Friday — in the basement of the Elks, Radtke said that contestants are nominated by friends — or by special request — and will participate in three different rounds.

Chris Story will emcee the event, which begins at 8 p.m. with introductions and an interview. Second comes talent — and Radtke notes there is no restriction on what might be considered a talent. The final round is a swimsuit competition and a Miss-America type question.

Know someone with Mr. Homer potential? Call Radtke at 299-0319 by Friday so he can include them in the show.

“Interesting is a word that doesn’t even describe what this group of people is,” he said, adding that the show will be very impromptu. 

Looking for something a little less rowdy? Try an event that’s new to the calendar. Start out Valentine’s morning paddling with the Kachemak Bay Water Trails group. Launch is at 9 a.m. followed by a bonfire and barbecue at Mariner Park. 

Robert Archibald, who is helping to coordinate the event, says that this will be the second organized paddle of the year. It’s a BYOB event — Bring Your Own Boat, as well as something for the barbecue following the paddle. For those who don’t have one, single or double kayak rentals are available at Mako’s Water Taxi on the Homer Spit. 

Archibald said the group will paddle along the Spit from behind Pier 1 Theatre to Mud Bay or Mariner Park, depending on the weather. After the barbecue folks can either shuttle back to their cars, or paddle. Warm clothing is a must for the roughly 90-minute route. 

If the weather allows in the future, Archibald said the Kachemak Water Trails group would like to do a monthly paddle.

“This is a good excuse for people to keep their boats handy in the winter time,” he said.

Other highlights of the weekend include the 33rd Annual Home Brew Contest, basketball tournament and a Saturday show at the Mariner Theatre by percussion group TorQ. (See Arts story. page 10.) 

Then, of course, there’s the Winter Carnival parade.

Patrice Krant is the interim executive director for the Homer Chamber of Commerce, which coordinates the calendar of events and Saturday’s parade. 

Although people can register for the parade an hour before it starts, Krant said she would love to have them sign up by the end of the day Friday. In particular, she said she’s looking forward to seeing a lot of folks having a great time.

“Hope for good weather!” said Krant.

Toni Ross is a freelance writer who lives in Homer.


Homer Winter Carnival Parade 

(Sponsored by Alaska USA Federal Credit Union)

When: Noon 

Where: Starting at the Homer High School parking lot

Entry Fee: None


Best Non Profit: $400

Best Individual or Family: $200

Best For-Profit: $125

Judges Choice: $125


All participants will be judged on the following:

• Use of this year’s theme

• Effort put into your float or display

• 60-second presentation before the Grand Reviewing Stands at Bay Realty

Mr. Homer Pageant

When: 8 p.m. Friday

Where: Homer Elks Lodge

To participate: Contact Dax Radtke at 299-0319

For a complete schedule of Winter Carnival Events, please see page 14.

Mr. Homer 2014, Lucas Thoning-Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News

Mr. Homer 2014, Lucas Thoning-Photo by McKibben Jackinsky, Homer News