Alaska Day is a well recognized event in Sitka, Alaska. It commemorates the day in 1867 when the United States purchased Alaska from Russia. Every year, people from all over come to Sitka to celebrate Alaska Day. Although the event takes place on October 18th, the festivities generally last a week and include a parade, brew cruise, reenactments, costume ball, and more.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable way to experience Alaska’s rich history, culture, and natural beauty, mark your calendar for this year’s Alaska Day celebration in Sitka. Keep reading to learn more about this amazing event and what you can expect during your visit.
A Brief History of Alaska Day
Alaska has a long and fascinating history, having been inhabited by indigenous people for thousands of years before the arrival of Russian explorers in the 18th century. In 1867, after negotiations between Russia and the US, Alaska was officially transferred to the US for the sum of $7.2 million. On October 18, 1867, the American flag was raised for the first time in Sitka, marking the end of the Russian Empire’s presence in Alaska and the beginning of a new era for the state. Alaska Day has been celebrated ever since, with parades, reenactments, and other events that showcase the unique heritage and character of Alaska and its people.
Alaska Day Events
Alaska Day celebrations are always full of fun events for everyone of all ages. Here is a list of our favorite events:
12:00pm Tuesday, October 11th
Swearing in of the Keystone Kops
Thursday, October 12th
The Seattle Firefighters Pipes & Drums Band arrive
1:00pm Saturday, October 14th
11th Airborne Division Band, held outside at the Net Shed at Crescent Harbor
7:00pm Saturday, October 14th
New Archangel Dancers Big Show, held at Harrigan Centennial Hall
1:00-2:30pm Sunday, October 15th
Sitka Historical Society & Museum Brew Cruise & Brisket Contest at Harrigan Centennial Hall
2:30pm-5:30pm Sunday, October 15th
Brew Cruise at Harrigan Centennial Hall
6:30pm – Tuesday, October 17th
Alaska Day Ball, held at Harrigan Centennial Hall
Wednesday, October 18th
11:00am – Military Memorial Service
1:30pm – Alaska Day Parade
2:00pm – Transfer Ceremony on Castle Hill
2:00pm – Brew Fest and Chili Cook-off at Harrigan Centennial Hall
2:00pm – New Archangel Dancers perform at the Pioneer Home
6:00pm – Alaska Day Auction at the Pioneer Bar
Where to Stay and Eat
Sitka Travel offers a range of accommodation options, from cozy studio rentals to larger homes with all the amenities. During the Alaska Day celebrations, it’s important to book your accommodations early, as many visitors come to participate in the festivities. In addition, Alaska Day boasts a long list of food vendors and food trucks, each with its unique culinary offerings. You can expect to find food trucks that specialize in seafood, BBQ and tacos options, along with many more. The vendors usually set up shop in the heart of downtown Sitka, where you can enjoy your meal while soaking in the festival’s vibrant atmosphere. And don’t forget to save some room for the chili cook-off!
Alaska Day is a unique and fascinating event that offers something for everyone. Whether you’re interested in history, culture, or nature, Sitka is a destination worth exploring. The festivities of Alaska Day provide a fantastic opportunity to experience the best of what Alaska has to offer, from the stunning natural beauty to the rich culture and traditions of the area. Plan your visit to Sitka and join the locals in celebrating the transfer of Alaska to the United States, while creating unforgettable memories.
Photo: Caitlin Blaisdell Photography