Live updates: Alaska State Fair kicks off Friday

Published: Aug. 20, 2021 at 12:09 PM AKDT|Updated: Aug. 21, 2021 at 10:14 AM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - Alaska’s News Source is bringing you the latest Alaska State Fair news as it happens. All live updates will be posted here as updates come in.

Aug. 21 — 10:14 a.m.

A glimpse of day one at the Alaska State Fair

The Alaska State Fair is underway.

Food vendors and rides were operation on day one. A big crowd-pleaser was the new rollercoaster called the “Aftershock.”

Lauren Maxwell caught up with a few adrenaline junkies that rode the ride for the first time.

The fair will run for three weeks long with its opening day on Aug. 20, and it will run through Sept. 6. The fair will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Read more:

Posted by Alaska's News Source on Saturday, August 21, 2021

Aug. 20 — 2:30 p.m.

Photos from the fair

The Alaska State Fair is officially in full swing. Here are some images from reporter Lauren Maxwell!

Aug. 20 — 12 p.m.

What to expect on Energy Day at the Alaska State Fair

The Alaska State Fair kicked off at 11 a.m. Friday with a variety of food and drink vendors, arts and crafts, performances and animal exhibits for folks.

Here are some of the fun activities and events going on today:

  • Goat-a-Palooza starts at 12 p.m. at Pioneer Plaza
  • Magic by Robbie starts at 12:30 p.m. at Alyeska Pipeline Colony Stage
  • Hurricane Dave performs at 1 p.m. at Alaska USA Bluebonnet Stage
  • Antique Tractor Pull and Display at 3 p.m. at Yellow Trail Lawn
  • WEIO Alaska Native traditional games start at 3:30 p.m. at The Gathering Place
  • Opland, Elder & Freeman: Music from Ireland and Beyond performs at 6 p.m. at the Alaska USA Bluebonnet Stage
  • Portugal. The Man performs at 7 p.m. at the ConocoPhillips Borealis Theatre

View the full schedule at the Alaska State Fair website.

Aug. 20 — 12 p.m.

Guidelines to follow when attending the state fair

Although the Alaska State Fair is meant to be fun and exciting for those attending, fair officials want to remind people to follow certain guidelines so everyone can enjoy themselves.

Fair officials ask people to not smoke, including e-cigarettes, except in designated areas. People age 21 or older with a valid photo ID are allowed to enter the “wet” area of the ConocoPhillips Borealis Theatre or be accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

They also request people to not bring the following items:

  • Firearms, knives or weapons of any kind
  • Animals (except for service dogs)
  • Alcoholic beverages
  • Bicycles, scooters, rollerblades, roller skates or skateboards
  • Solicitation materials (and please refrain from soliciting or you will be removed from the Fairgrounds)

State fair officials noted other safety measures planned for the next three weeks:

  • Additional handwashing and sanitizing stations will be available throughout the fairgrounds.
  • High-use areas will be cleaned and disinfected regularly.
  • Contactless transactions are encouraged. Skip the line, buy online-don’t wait at the Gate.
  • Fairgoers are encouraged to wear face masks in congested areas. Face masks will be available at all enclosed exhibit buildings.
  • Fairgoers are encouraged to practice social distancing where possible.
  • Patrons are asked to stay home if sick or experiencing symptoms of illness.

People can find more frequently asked questions and safety details at the Alaska State Fair website.

Aug. 16 — 6:15 a.m.

Alaska State Fair gearing up for 2021 opening day

The Alaska State Fair is less than a week away and since it was canceled last year, they are expecting a good turnout.

The fair will run for three weeks long with its opening day on Aug. 20, and it will run through Sept. 6. The fair will be closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

By having the fair span over three weeks instead of two, fair organizers said it is one way they are trying to keep people safe and allow for social distancing.

“That’s the end goal, is to have a safe opportunity for people to come out, socialize, reconnect, enjoy some of those family traditions that they have so enjoyed in the past,” said Jerome Hertel, CEO of the Alaska State Fair. “And people are real excited about doing that this year.”

Hertel said there are currently more than 400 vendors attending the fair this year, and noted that some are new with many being returning vendors.

Theodore Kelly is one of those returning vendors. This would have been his 30th year at the state fair, but because of last year’s cancellation, it will be his 29th year.

“It was really sad across the community though,” Kelly said about the fair being canceled in 2020. “I got a lot of customer calls, of what are we going to do, you know, but we made it through.”

But he said he is excited to see some familiar and new faces this year.

“We’ll see a lot of our customers that we haven’t seen, which will be great, and other vendor families, we’re a pretty tight family, and to miss a year is a big thing,” Kelly said.

Another addition to the fair is a new roller coaster called the Aftershock. This is the largest roller coaster in the state.

“I think this is going to be one of the most popular attractions, this year at the fair.” Hertel goes on to say, “It’s 1,182 feet of exciting joy, bone-chilling excitement to ride.”

Fair officials said they are just excited to see people come out and enjoy the long tradition of the Alaska State Fair.

Fair officials are also encouraging attendees to purchase tickets online by visiting the Alaska State Fair website.

Aug. 1 — 9:14 a.m.

The Aftershock: A new roller coaster is coming to the Alaska State Fair

The Alaska State Fair is getting a little more thrilling this year with a new roller coaster coming to the 2021 event.

Called the “Aftershock,” it features 1,181 feet of twists and turns, drops of 25 feet, and a top speed of 35 MPH.

“We’re always looking to expand and improve the Fair experience for our fairgoers, and are pleased to have the Aftershock join the carnival as another ride the entire family can enjoy,” said Jerome Hertel, Fair general manager.

Here are some quick facts:

  • The gravitational-style coaster stands 40 feet tall
  • It has six cars/three trains
  • Its ride time is about 1 minute, 20 seconds

The ride is expected to cost about $12. The fair does say that the price for a ticket on the Aftershock is not included in any carnival promotions.

July 9 — 1:38 p.m.

Portugal. The Man to play not one but two shows at the Alaska State Fair

Portugal. The Man will be performing not just once, but twice at the Alaska State Fair this summer, according to a Friday announcement.

The band, formed in Alaska, was originally scheduled to play on Aug. 21. A second show on Aug. 20 has been added to the schedule.

“High demand led the Fair to add a second night of music with Alaska’s homegrown Grammy-winning rockers, who will take the ConocoPhillips Borealis Theatre stage on Friday, August 20 and Saturday, August 21 at 7 p.m.,” according to a press release.

“In celebration of a third weekend of the Alaska State Fair, we are pleased to add a second show featuring Portugal. The Man on opening day of the 2021 Fair,” said Jerome Hertel, fair general manager, in the press release.

“We spent our childhoods going to the Fair, bassist Zach Carothers is quoted as saying in the press release. “Those memories are etched in our minds and we look forward to playing for our fellow Alaskans. We will see you in the funnel cakes line!”

Also expected to perform at the fair are Martina McBride on Aug. 22, Dashboard Confessional on Aug. 27, The Guess Who on Aug. 29 and Billy Idol on Sept. 4.

A full list can be found at

June 4 — 6:56 a.m.

Portugal. The Man will perform at this year’s Alaska State Fair

Portugal. The Man will be performing at the Alaska State Fair this year, according to an announcement from fair organizers released on Thursday.

The band is the latest to join the 2021 AT&T Concert Series lineup. Other acts already announced include Martina McBride, Michael Jr., Dashboard Confessional, Jon Pardi, The Guess Who, Zach Williams, Common Kings and Billy Idol.

Portugal. The Man will take the stage at 7 p.m. on Aug. 21, according to the release. Quinn Christopherson, an Ahtna Athabaskan and Iñupiaq songwriter based in Anchorage, will be the opening act. Tickets for the performance go on sale at 10 a.m. June 11.

Band members Zach Carothers and Eric Howk will also take part in a special event, “Pints with Portugal,” at the Matanuska Brewing Company in Eagle River from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. on June 11. People will be able to win swag from the band and tickets to the show, according to the release.

Mar. 4 — 10:50 a.m.

Alaska State Fair announces expanded 14-day schedule

Alaska State Fair officials have announced the dates for the expanded 14-day schedule of the 2021 fair.

This year you can enjoy all the fair fun you remember from years past from Aug. 20 to Sept. 6 at the fairgrounds in Palmer. Officials say during the 14-day run, the fair will be closed Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Hours for the days it’s open will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

“Our goal by adding another weekend is to help spread out the Fair crowds and keep fairgoers as safe as possible as Alaska continues to respond to the global pandemic,” said Jerome Hertel, Fair CEO. “The expanded schedule will also provide an additional economic boost for the over 400 vendors at the Fair and, of course, provide an extra weekend of fun for our guests.”

In a press release, the fair says it will follow current CDC recommendations for large events and will be filing a mitigation plan to the State.

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