After what some may consider a too-white Christmas, Anchorage is set to ring in 2023 with an annual New Year’s Eve fireworks show and a downtown carnival of events for kids and adults alike.
The event on Saturday is free, with activities starting at 7 p.m.. The main fireworks display will be launched from Ship Creek at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The show will be readily visible from most of downtown, said Kris May, the Anchorage Downtown Partnership’s events director.
“I can tell you that it’s going to be about 12 minutes long – and yeah, it should be pretty spectacular,” May said. “We contract a really great group of folks who put on a really wonderful show.”
The fireworks are the centerpiece of the celebration, but visitors can expect much more downtown.
“We have a big party on 3rd (Avenue) and E (Street) in the Chinook Lot, where we have The Roland Roberts Band playing, and they’ll be playing from 7 to 9,” May said. “We’ll have fire dancers, we’ll have a beer garden sponsored by Humpy’s. We will have Truck 1 from the fire department, we will have a sledding hill, we have five food trucks, we have hip-hop dancers – so yeah, it’ll be a lot of fun.”
One unanticipated element of the event: large snow dumps downtown as road crews continue clearing a backlog of snow from this month’s three major winter storms. But May said she found a silver lining.
“I have made the most of the snow piles in the parking lot by turning them into big sledding hills,” May said. “So for me, it’s an advantage and is now a part of the event.”
Kids can bring their own sleds for the hills, May said, but the downtown partnership will also have sleds on hand to borrow.
A note for drivers: May said some roads will be blocked near the Ship Creek fireworks site for safety reasons, but no major street closures are currently planned for New Year’s Eve. EasyPark garages will be open.
The use of personal fireworks remains illegal in the municipality according to the Anchorage Fire Department, with violations punishable by a $300 fine.
Outside of Anchorage, Wasilla will launch its New Year’s Eve fireworks from the Iditapark at 500 W. Nelson Ave. at 8 p.m. Saturday. And farther north, Fairbanks is planning a New Year’s Eve Sparktacular, launched from the west ridge of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, from 8 to 9 p.m. that evening.
Did we miss a free community fireworks show in your area? Let us know, email reporter Chris Klint at firstname.lastname@example.org.