Iditarod 2018

Old Feb 14, 18, 10:11 am
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Iditarod 2018

I'm coming up for this on 3/3. I was hoping to get some pointers. What time should I get downtown? Where is the best place to watch the start? How long are the festivities?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
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Old Feb 15, 18, 12:18 pm
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Originally Posted by haddon90 View Post
I'm coming up for this on 3/3. I was hoping to get some pointers. What time should I get downtown? Where is the best place to watch the start? How long are the festivities?

Any tips would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
The ceremonial start begins at 10am and runs down 4th Ave starting at D Street and then heading east to Cordova, where it turns south before meeting up with the Chester Creek bike/ski trail and heading into East Anchorage.

Locals tend to avoid the downtown core and (if they aren't watching it on TV from the comfort of their warm home) might pick a spot somewhere along the route throughout the rest of Anchorage, but all the excited energy is definitely downtown around 4th and D. I don't think I've ever been down to 4th and D for the actual start; the closest I recall getting was staking out a spot around Cordova and 4th (where the track turns) when I covered the event live for the college radio station--still plenty crowded but much easier to move around and see the action.

As a visitor coming up solely for the event, though, you probably will want to be a the actual start point where you can see the mushers getting everything ready and hear the excitement of the announcers over the PA and everything. For that, I really can't tell you what time you need to show up, but I'd guess quite a bit before 10 if you want a chance at being near the front of the crowd to actually see anything.

The actual start runs for a few hours, but the annual Fur Rondy (Rendezvous) festival culminates that weekend and also features plenty of fun events, from snow sculpture contests to model railroad exhibits at the railroad depot to Native arts and crafts to fun activities like hockey tournaments, ice bowling, outhouse races, and more, so there will be a lot of activity around the city all day and the preceding/following days. Schedule and info at Anchorage Fur Rendezvous Winter Festival.

Other Iditarod-related events around that time are here: https://www.anchorage.net/winter/eve...sled-dog-race/

Also, the Anchorage start is a ceremonial start to honor the early heritage of the race and also raise money for the race (bidding on spots to ride in a sled for the ceremonial start usually goes north of $1K). The real start is an hour and a half north in Willow the next day. I've never made it up there for that but I imagine the crowd is a bit smaller.
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