Saturday marked the end of an era for a beloved Soldotna bakery.
The Moose Is Loose was open for the last time on Saturday after 18 years of business. People flocked from all over the peninsula and beyond to enjoy one last maple bar or moose snack before it was too late.
The line outside the bakery was wrapped around the building, and people easily waited up to three hours to get their favorite pastry.
Aleshia Quennell and her son Lucas were returning from a bathroom break after standing in line for about an hour — luckily someone was willing to hold their spot in line.
The Quennells live in Wasilla and visit the Moose is Loose every time they make it down to the Kenai Peninsula, so when they heard the news of its closing they knew they had to make one last trip.
“We’ve had a lot of the different stuff, but we always get at least one of the moose snacks,” Quennell said.
Tabetha Aldridge is a Soldotna resident and remembers her mom bringing her snacks from the bakery any time she was having a rough day.
“My mom was like, freaking out when she saw that they were closing,” Aldridge said. “She came three days in a row and got four boxes worth of donuts.”
Aldridge said that she doesn’t know how she’ll fill the void left by the absence of the Moose Is Loose.
“I can’t eat donuts from other places,” Aldridge said. “After you’ve eaten here, it’s just not the same.”
“Every birthday from like 3 to 10 I got their sheet cake with the raspberry jelly filling and the cream cheese frosting,” Soldotna resident Paige Ramos said. “It’s serious.”
Ramos and others were holding their own boxes in line, because apparently the bakery had run out. Ramos said that earlier in the day some enterprising kids were selling empty boxes to people standing in line.
While waiting, folks exchanged fond memories of the bakery with one another, such as getting the smiley-faced cookies after church on Sundays.
“It’s just one of the things that is Soldotna. If you had any family member or friend that’s never been to Soldotna, you went to the Moose Is Loose at some point,” Aldridge said. “It’s a requirement.”