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Hail Spring!

This weekend, Circle had their mostly annual, whenever we can get it together, ad hoc Spring Carnival. We've heard from various friends in Fort Yukon that spring carnival has been going on there as well this past week and weekend. We miss the goings on in Fort Yukon. Spring Carnival is a fascinating tradition in many locations throughout Alaska. I wish I knew more about its history and origins.

I have no doubt that the weather is a significant factor in the timing of such celebrations. The weather this time of year is so fan-freakin’-taskic. This has to be the very best time of year in Alaska. It is spring time in all of its glory. At this time of year, the amount of sunshine explodes pushing past the boarders of waking hours. The sun is up more hours a day than we are. The temperatures are thankfully still below freezing, leaving the world white and solid. As soon as temperatures rise above freezing, everything becomes a boggy, muddy mess. But after a dark winter of forty below, this sunny twenty above is heaven. Clean, clear, solid, bug-free, sunny, warmish wonderful spring.

For the carnival in Circle this weekend, there was a series of races on Friday afternoon, including crawling races in all age groups, from toddlers though adults. Jacob raced in the toddler class, but lost to the only other entrant when he couldn’t understand the requirement to crawl and walked quickly to the finish line. There were candy scrambles where candy was dumped on the ground and children all ran to the pile to collect as much as they could. Stephanie and I entered the three legged race, which I thought would be fun and easy. A split second after the shouted “Go!,” I discovered that it wasn’t going to be as easy as I thought, and I couldn’t figure out why. The pack quickly left us behind, and we couldn’t get it together. I felt like I was tied to a kitchen table leg. As we (finally) neared the finish line (the rest of the pack was over by the picnic table enjoying hot dogs and beer) it suddenly started to get easy. At which point the following conversation occured:
Steph: Oh, this is better. Maybe I should bend my leg.
Me: What?
Steph: I wasn’t bending me leg.
Me: Why weren’t you bending your leg?
Steph: I thought I was supposed to keep my leg straight.
Me: (shaking my head, disgruntled) Oh, my.

On Saturday afternoon there were more burgers and dogs down by the river, more socializing, and some kids were chasing each other around while others were throwing a football. The action moved to the school where there was a 3 on 3 basketball tournament (5 teams altogether) and a jig contest, all followed by a potlatch community dinner. During the dinner, Stephanie counted 51 human beings all gathered together in the school gym, which is the most people we’ve seen gathered in Circle so far.

On Saturday when Stephanie and the boys went down to the river for the festivities, I took a first walk ‘out the road’ as it is locally, colloquially called. I haven’t had much physical activity in a while, so I figured I should start to do something if I want to be in any kind of shape to do much of anything this summer. I couldn’t have picked a prettier day. It was twenty glorious degrees above and sunny when I left. I walked for an hour out and an hour back for a total of about seven miles. It’s a good first start, and a nice way to spend the afternoon.

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Posted on Sunday, April 1, 2007 at 02:53PM by Registered CommenterBrian Rozell | Comments2 Comments

Reader Comments (2)

Are you sure it is POTLATCH not POTLUCK?
April 2, 2007 | Unregistered Commenterdad
Here in our parts, the words "potlatch" and "potluck" mean pretty much the same thing: a community feed where everyone brings a dish. But the word potlatch is used. In other parts of the state and the northwest, potlatch is a community dinner with religious/spiritual ceremonial overtones, like for a chief's or elder's funeral.
April 2, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterBrian

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