Here in the 49th state, we are coming up on the 49th anniversary of the largest earthquake to ever hit the North American continent. I'm speaking of the Great Alaskan Quake, which struck at 5:36 p.m. on March 27th, 1964. With an epicenter located below the Prince William Sound, it measured 9.2 on the Richter scale and lasted over four minutes. At the time, it was the second largest earthquake in recorded history, as measured by seismograph. I was 4 and 1/2 years old. We lived in Anchorage, in Old Turnagain (Turnagain by the Sea), and the neighborhood behind us was lost in the landslide. That's my house in the upper right corner of the photo to the left. My mom still lives in it today.
Like many, many other great places to travel, our beautiful Alaska is earthquake country. It’s a fact that can’t be ignored. Small earthquakes occur here every day and usually go un-noticed. Could a big 1964 style earthquake happen again? It’s not likely, but yes, it could. In the event that a larger quake (as in, one that gets your attention) does occur, it is wise to know the general safety rules to help keep you as safe as possible, during and after. I thought I’d share them with you. Because knowledge is power and being prepared is good.
So here you go. Widely known general guidelines (culled from various credible emergency preparedness websites) include:
During the earthquake:
After the earthquake:
Check for casualties/injuries, attend to injuries, and seek assistance if needed. Help ensure the safety of people around you.
Walking around Anchorage in February of each year, you’ll hear people saying that. What the heck does it mean?
Well, my dear Adventurous Traveler…the Fur Rendezvous Festival is a significant part of the history and tradition of Anchorage! In the mid 1930's, Anchorage was a tiny town of 3,000 that stretched between the Park Strip and Ship Creek. Winters were long, hard and tough. Spirits would dip after the holidays. Cabin fever would descend. People got cranky.
Enter Vern Johnson, the father of Fur Rendezvous. Vern was a likeable, outgoing Anchorage citizen with a keen understanding of social conditions. To help raise the spirits of Anchorage’s residents and to put the “win” back into winter, he and his friends established a festival to coincide with the time that the miners and trappers came to town with their winter's yield. It began as a three-day sports tournament on February 15, 16 and 17, 1935 and featured skiing, hockey, basketball, boxing and a children's sled dog race down Fourth Avenue. The entire town turned out to “Rondy.”
Over the years, Fur Rendezvous has continued to be something that Anchorage residents look forward to. It’s also earned national and international notoriety, drawing visitors from throughout the world.
There are many Fur Rondy events- some old, some new. The Official Rondy Fur Auction has been a staple of the Festival since the beginning and the Festival was named in large part because the fur trade was Alaska's third most valuable industry in those days. The Blanket Toss*, an ancient Native Alaskan tradition, joined the Festival in 1950. Alaskan Native hunters and dancers were flown into Anchorage from Nome and Little Diomede to participate in the Blanket Toss and perform artistic, captivating tribal dances.
The World Championship Sled Dog Race debuted in 1946 and has become the cornerstone event of the Festival bringing teams of sled dogs and mushers to Anchorage from across Alaska and the world. The World Championship Dog Weight Pull began in 1967 as a bet between two dog owners to see whose animal could pull the most weight. Four decades later, dog owners are still competing against each other for the cash, notoriety and the illustrious World Champion title for the event. Other traditional Fur Rondy events include the Rondy Carnival, the Grand Parade, the uniquely Alaskan Original Men's Snowshoe Softball and the Grand Prix Auto Race, one of the oldest street races in North America. The Frostbite Footrace, Miners and Trappers Charity Ball and the Outhouse Races and many other events are also not to be missed. For a complete schedule of the events, which last from 2/22-3/3/2013, go here,http://www.furrondy.net/images/stories/2013_events/2013-rondyofficialschedule-updated-02-15-13.pdf.
See you there. “Let’s Rondy!”
(Official Fur Rondy Website information was used in the writing of this article.)
Marilyn Walsh Morgan