A recording of current local happenings can be reached at tel. 907/456-INFO (4636), maintained by the Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau, which also posts an events calendar at www.explorefairbanks.com.
The Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race (tel. 907/452-7954; www.yukonquest.com) starts February 4, 2012, in Fairbanks, and ends 10 to 14 days later in Whitehorse, Yukon (in odd-numbered years, the direction is reversed). Many mushers say this rugged 1,000-mile race is even tougher than the Iditarod.
The Nenana Ice Classic (tel. 907/832-5446; www.nenanaakiceclassic.com) is a sweepstakes held annually since 1917 based on who can guess closest to the exact minute when the ice will go out on the Tanana River. The classic starts with Tripod Days, the first weekend in March, when they set up the so-called four-legged tripod; when it moves 100 feet, it trips a clock, determining the winner. Thanks to the game, this is one of the most carefully kept climate measurements in the north; scientists have used it to demonstrate long-term warming of the weather. The Tripod Days celebration includes dance performances, dog mushing, and other activities.
Also in March, the World Ice Art Championships (tel. 907/451-8250; www.icealaska.com) bring carvers from all over the world to sculpt immense, clear chunks cut from a Fairbanks pond. Among ice carvers, Fairbanks ice is famous for its clarity and the great size of the chunks. Some spectacular ice sculptures stand as tall as two-story buildings. It's long been worth planning a visit around, but recent organizational problems put the future of the championships in doubt. Check for the latest, as many details are unknown at this writing.
The North American Sled Dog Championships (tel. 907/457-MUSH ; www.sleddog.org) are the oldest running, taking place over 2 weekends in mid-March. Sprint mushers from all over the world compete with teams of as many as 24 dogs, streaking away from the starting line on 2nd Avenue or the Chena River.
Lots of events happen around the summer solstice, usually June 21. The Midnight Sun Run (tel. 907/452-6046; www.midnightsunrun.us) is a 10K race and walk, with winners chosen for both their times and their funny costumes. The race is run on a Saturday near the solstice. It starts at 10pm on the university campus and ends at Pioneer Park.
The Midnight Sun Baseball Game, hosted by the semipro Alaska Goldpanners of Fairbanks (tel. 907/451-0095; www.goldpanners.com), begins at 10:30pm on June 21. The game, which began with a pair of pick-up teams in 1906, is played with no artificial lights. The 'Panners have hosted since 1960.
Also in June, the free Fairbanks Summer Folk Fest (www.fairbanksfolkfest.org) fills a Pioneer Park lawn with music, food, and art booths; live music starts at 1pm and lasts late into the night.
The Fairbanks Summer Arts Festival, held the last 2 weeks in July on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus (tel. 907/474-8869; www.fsaf.org), brings artists of international reputation for performance and teaching. Classes are for all levels in music, dance, ice skating, visual arts, healing arts, literary arts, and other subject areas.
The Tanana Valley State Fair (tel. 907/452-3750; www.tananavalleystatefair.com), in early August, shows off the area's agricultural production, arts and crafts, businesses, and entertainment, and includes rides and competitive exhibits.
In late August, Friends of Creamer's Field (tel. 907/452-5162) hosts an annual Sandhill Crane Festival, with nature walks, lectures, and other activities, mostly at Creamer's Field.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.