Welcome to the Alaska Travel Industry Association (AlaskaTIA) Travel News Bulletin. AlaskaTIA sends this out periodically to keep media up-to-date on Alaska tourism and travel news. Media are invited to call (800) 327-9372 or visit www.TravelAlaska.com/media for more information.
Alaska Travel Industry Association
June 1, 2011


In this June Travel News Bulletin you will find:

1. McCarthy celebrates the centennial of its historic railway

2. 75 years and still growing at the Alaska State Fair
3.
New cultural programs in Fairbanks
4. Alaska’s ports of entry get a facelift

1. McCarthy celebrates the centennial of its historic railway


This July, the community of McCarthy is hosting a centennial celebration commemorating completion of the 196-mile Copper River and Northwestern Railway. The final spike was driven in 1911 to complete the 196-mile railway that took copper ore from Kennicott to Cordova. Perhaps the most well known feature of the railway is the Miles Glacier Bridge, better known as the Million Dollar Bridge, for the hefty $1.4 million price tag when it was built in 1910. A favorite photographic subject, the bridge is a multi-span Pennsylvania-truss style that can be visited by traveling the 50-mile road from Cordova. The centennial celebration will kick off July 9 with an antique auto parade featuring a 1938 Chevrolet auto-railer bus and a railroad speeder. The ghost towns of McCarthy and Kennicott are located in the center of Wrangell-St. Elias National Park, offering endless opportunities for hiking, flightseeing, glacier climbing and river rafting. Three major mountain ranges converge at the tiny town of McCarthy (the year-round population is 42) and it has become particularly popular with international visitors seeking a truly adventurous experience. For more information about visiting Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve or McCarthy and Kennicott, click here.
 
Media contact:
Contact:
Mark Keogh, Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Preserve
Phone: 907-
822-5234
Twitter:
@WrangellStENPS
Email:
mark_keogh@nps.gov
URL:
www.nps.gov/wrst

2. 75 years and still growing at the Alaska State Fair

The Alaska State Fair is celebrating its 75th anniversary in August 2011. The fair, started by colonists who moved to the Palmer area in 1935 as part of a federal initiative, has become one of the largest events in Alaska. The fair sits on more than 300 acres of land and in 2010, drew 295,530 fairgoers, featured more than 8,000 exhibit entries and included 475 small businesses and vendors, many featuring Alaska-made crafts and local food. It also serves as a showcase of the region’s pride and joy: giant world-record-breaking produce. Cabbages weighing 105 pounds, 64-pound cantaloupes and 19-pound carrots have all tipped the scales at the Alaska State Fair, a result of the Mat-Su Valley’s rich soil and the long summer days. Special events are being planned to celebrate the anniversary at this year’s fair, which runs from Aug. 25 – Sept. 5 in Palmer. Visit www.alaskastatefair.org for updated information as the event nears.


Media contacts:
Contact:
Dean Phipps, Alaska State Fair
Phone: 907-
746-1753
Twitter: @AlaskaStateFair
Email:
dean@alaskastatefair.org
URL:
www.alaskastatefair.org

Contact: Bonnie Quill, Mat-Su Convention & Visitors Bureau
Phone: 907-746-5000
E-mail: bonnie@alaskavisit.com
URL: www.alaskavisit.com




3. New cultural programs in Fairbanks
 
This summer, Fairbanks visitors can take part in new cultural programs offered by the Tanana Chiefs Conference. The programs are focused on retaining and enriching Alaska Native culture through events and performances at the Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center. Travelers can stop by the center and don traditional Athabascan clothing for a portrait; watch Alaska Native artists working on beaded clothing and jewelry and purchase directly from the artists; or see a stage show featuring traditional music, dancing and storytelling. The programs also offer free walks led by a National Park Service ranger exploring the natural history of Interior Alaska. The 35,000-square-foot Morris Thompson Cultural and Visitors Center is open seven days a week in the summer. The center features life-sized dioramas depicting Alaska's seasons, including a fish camp in summer, a hunting camp in fall, and a winter scene with northern lights. It also houses visitor information and trip planning services for Interior and Arctic Alaska. For more information, visit www.morristhompsoncenter.org or www.explorefairbanks.com.

 
Media contact:
Contact: Amy Gieger, Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau
Phone: 907-459-3775
Twitter: @InsideAlaska
Email: ageiger@explorefairbanks.com
URL: www.explorefairbanks.com




4. Alaska’s ports of entry get a facelift
 
Visitors entering Alaska via its three largest airports will notice some major changes. Last month, the Juneau International Airport opened its doors on a newly renovated terminal. Construction brought higher ceilings, more windows, better lights, a larger baggage terminal and more exits to the facility. The Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau booth was also relocated to make it more accessible to travelers. The Ted Stevens Anchorage International Airport finished up the final touches on more than a decade of work last month as well. Along with a number of aesthetic improvements, the renovations opened up space for more dining options, including some local restaurants. The Anchorage airport also welcomed JetBlue as its newest tenant in late May. The low-cost carrier is flying nonstop between Anchorage and Long Beach, Calif. this summer. New charter options are also available. Korean Air announced its return to Anchorage with seven charter flights between late July and mid-August and Edelweiss Air is offering charter service between Anchorage and Zurich, Switzerland. The Fairbanks International Airport opened its brand new terminal in 2009, including curbside improvements, an expanded ticket lobby, new boarding gates, higher ceilings, more windows and a larger baggage terminal. For information on visiting these cities, go to www.Anchorage.net, www.ExploreFairbanks.com or www.TravelJuneau.com.

 
Media contacts:
Contact: Elizabeth Arnett, Juneau Convention and Visitors Bureau
Phone: (907) 586-1737
Twitter: @VisitJuneau
E-mail: Elizabeth.arnett@traveljuneau.com
URL: www.traveljuneau.com
 
Contact: Jack Bonney, Anchorage Convention & Visitors Bureau
Phone: (907) 257-2361
Twitter: @BigWildLife
E-mail: jbonney@anchorage.net
URL: www.Anchorage.net
 
Contact: Amy Gieger, Fairbanks Convention and Visitors Bureau
Phone: 907-459-3775
Twitter: @InsideAlaska
Email: ageiger@explorefairbanks.com
URL: www.explorefairbanks.com
 

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