When my family was stationed at Ft. Wainwright, Alaska many years ago, people told me that I may have difficulty sleeping during the summer months because of the 24-hour daylight. They also mentioned that people often found themselves suffering from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) during the winter.
I waited for these things to occur, and perhaps due to complete ignorance (or lack of cognizance or maybe even leftover California sunshine lingering in my system)–the symptoms never surfaced. Did it take a bit to get used to full-on bright sunshine at 10:00 p.m. during the summer? Of course. Was it a struggle during the winter months to notice that you went into work in the morning while it was dark, and left work to realize that it was still dark? Bien sur!
The Midnight Sun Festivities continues to evolve every year. For our family, the event used to signify three things: the Midnight Sun Soccer Tournament, the Midnight Sun Solstice Street Fair, and my brother’s breakdancing competition event. There’s also the Midnight Sun marathon where people prepare to run at 10:00 p.m., till midnight. We missed out on watching the runs every year because we were held up in the soccer fields with back to back games.
I remember that it wasn’t long ago I sat on the sideline of a soccer field ready to watch one of our boys (or sometimes both of them!) play–and the game started at midnight and ended at 2:00 a.m. There were moments when both of them had games that were scheduled back to back or even at the same time. I would have a compromise with myself that I’d watch the first half of the first born’s game, and the second half of the second born’s game (vice versa sometimes). This is just a bit of nostalgia and realization that it has been years since I’ve done that.
Back to it: the main event at the street fair usually meant getting to watch my brother and his crew compete in a breakdancing competition–which occurred at every Midnight Sun Street fair for years. We’d watch him and his best friends breakdance on a stage that they’ve put together, and as the dancing music blasts in the street–we are all reminded of the diversity that makes Fairbanks. Those guys learned how to fundraise and market their event–grass roots style.
The crew’s last breakdancing competition was held last year in 2017, and it was quite fitting. The crew members brought their wives, and their children. I was amazed that I could recall when these guys were once teenagers introducing breakdancing to Fairbanks. Their main master organizer (my brother’s best friends since they were 7-years old) also flew in from Japan where he is now a resident–it was the last hurrah for the guys as they start to head on to their 30s–yet, still possessing the ability to breakdance (while avoiding breaking any bones).
This year, as it has been for the last few Midnight Sun Festivities–we find the time to go downtown and enjoy the many vendors out in display.
The food vendors range from the Americana eatery (cheeseburgers, BBQ, etc) to Korean dishes to Thai dishes–there are at least 2-3 Thai dishes’ vendors at the event. The vendors ranges from the usual suspects every year such as Aunt Alice’s kettle popcorn, and the Pretzel Chef–to the newbies such as 907 Sweets.
While this is the first Midnight Sun where it felt like we were missing a huge chunk of our family. Last year, all three kids (plus a future daughter in-law) walked around with us enjoying the food, the vendors, and bumping into friends. While the husband and I missed the little piglets–we were also very appreciative of spending that time with family (mother and father in-law, and sis in-law), as well as, the “two of us” time.
..although, I’m speculating that the husband was more appreciative of the bag of Yukon Pork Rinds’ Chili Lime that he purchased, and possessively held onto as he gleefully drove us home.
From the 2017 Midnight Sun Street Fair (a bit of reminiscing):
While this year’s festivities were in full effect under the comfort of a cloudy day–last year’s the sun was out providing an intense heat that can only be found in a Fairbanks’ summer.