Tag Archives: Fur Rondy

Fur Rondy and Iditarod Open Studio Events – A Tradition at Real Art Is Better

We’ve had our studio inside the 4th Avenue Market Place for almost five years now, and each year during the Fur Rondy winter festival, and the Iditarod race start we’ve been turning the studio into a pop-up gallery, and opening our doors to the public.  The studio has large windows facing north, with a great view of the carnival.  Yesterday the carnival rides showed up in the parking lot across the street, which means the festivities are right around the corner!

Carnival rides getting set up in a snow storm.

The timing of the winter festival is perfect.  By late February, most Alaskans are fed up with winter, and start experiencing cabin fever.  The best cure is to head downtown to watch sled dog races, outhouse races, check out snow sculptures, ride a couple carnival rides, and maybe even participate in the blanket toss.  There are so many activities starting Feb. 28.  Here’s a link to the entire schedule.

The Real Art Is Better studio will be open both weekends.  Stop by to warm up, enjoy freshly-baked cookies, and check out the view.  We’re inside the 4th Avenue Market Place in Suite 4, which is in the NW corner if you walk in from 4th Avenue.  333 W 4th Avenue.

Open Studio Hours:

Saturday, February 29, 11am – 5pm

Sunday, March 1, 11am – 3pm

Saturday, March 7, 10am – 6pm

Fur Rondy carnival Anchorage Alaskaworld championship sled dog races anchorage alaska


Are you Ready to Rondy?!

Let’s Rondy! 36″x18″, oil on panel.

February 15th 1935, 24 years before Alaska was even a state, Anchorage local Vern Johnson started the first ever Anchorage Fur Rendezvous!  Miners and trappers were already in town awakening from the hibernation months of December and January with the hopes of restocking supplies and selling some of their recent harvest.  Only three days long, the original Fur Rondy hosted hockey, basketball, skiing, boxing and children’s sled dog races, and not much else.  

The event has grown over the last 84 years and people have come to expect a grand time during this traditional Alaskan celebration.  I remember Rondys of the past — the festival used to last three whole weeks and we got a day off from school just to enjoy the festivities.  My mom would bundle us all up in our snow gear and we would trudge off to downtown Anchorage to ride the Ferris wheel, eat elephant ears, and watch super cool events.  I remember the party kicking off with the amazing fireworks extravaganza!  Some of my favorite classic events as a kid were the Grand Prix Auto Race, World Championship Sled Dog Races, the blanket toss, snowshoe softball, the amazing Rondy Grand Parade, and one not to be missed — the snow sculptures. 

The festival was shortened from three weeks to ten days in 2008 due to budget constraints.  We don’t have the Grand Prix anymore, but we still race sled dogs down 4th Avenue and slam beers at every base during snowshoe softball.  Another popular event is the Miners and Trappers Ball, with a beard contest and many costumes made from blue tarps, duct tape and Carhartts.  The outhouse races are always a highlight, and of course the new favorite is the Running of the Reindeer.  A bunch of Rondy participants dress in costumes and brave running with a pack of horned reindeer.  I always wonder if the reindeer are infuriated by the hotdog stands lining the street, selling famous reindeer dogs.  Another new tradition is Anchorage Brewing Company’s Rondy Brew. This year it is a delicious NEIPA brewed with 100% Strata hops, which taste like passion fruit!  

Real Art is Better is strategically located in the 4th Avenue Marketplace, across the street from Rondy Headquarters, in the NW corner of the building.  We clean it up and convert it to a small retail space for the weekend.  There is also a craft fair inside the building.  I invite you to stop in and check out my newest work and take in the view of the Rondy Carnival from our amazing Inlet view window.  We’ll be open Saturday and Sunday, 11am – 6pm.  I have several new art cards never before released, and many new paintings.  I bake cookies for the event and there are great snacks to be found at the craft fair.  The studio is a great place to warm up after watching the mushers, or making the trek down the hill to 2nd Avenue to see the snow sculptures.  The blanket toss and fur auction are right across the street in the 3rd Avenue parking lot.  

If you are getting fed up with Alaska style cabin fever, Rondy is the remedy.  This is the biggest social event of the winter!  Celebrate the end of hibernation season and get ready to PARTY!  Dust off those styling furs and show off Anchorage style!

Wear your Rondy pin, or risk jail time!

Rondy Brew by Anchorage Brewing Co.

This time of year Alaskans start getting fed up with winter, but luckily, just before we all lose our minds, the annual winter festival in Anchorage called Rondy begins, and we all have something to do, and much to celebrate.  If you are in Anchorage, come down to 4th Avenue and watch the dog races, the Running of the Reindeer, and stop by our downtown studio, which will be open both Saturday and Sunday this weekend, as well as Saturday, during the start of the Iditarod next weekend.

I love living in an amazing little-big town like Anchorage.  We have all the benefits of living in a big city without all the congestion too many people bring with it.  If I get stuck in cross-town traffic I am still home in 20 minutes.  One of my favorite places across town is Anchorage Brewing Company.  Every year Gabe Fletcher from Anchorage Brewing makes a tasty malt beverage called Rondy Brew.  This year it is a single hop IPA made with Nelson Sauvin hops, which is a delicious treat.  This bottle is a collectors edition because it celebrates ten years of the Running of the Reindeer!  So, of course I painted it with a reindeer enjoying the brew. I imagined how much rowdier this pronged beast will be after getting a snootful of this hoppy stuff.  A double bottle serving of rowdy Rondy brew should bring this beast to its best form for the running.  Looks like this reindeer is chugging it too, only letting a little fall into the 4th Avenue snow.  I hope you contain your beast and remember to savor every sip of this delectable beer.  A bottle is $6 at the brewery, so stop in and have a glass and then Rondy with the rest of us!  Just remember to be “slick” it’s careful out there!

This original oil painting and only 30 limited-edition, signed art prints are for sale at my Etsy shop RealArtIsBetter.

Rondy Brew by Anchorage Brewing Co. 11"x14", oil on panel. Beer art by Scott Clendaniel

Rondy Brew by Anchorage Brewing Co. 11″x14″, oil on panel. Beer art by Scott Clendaniel

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #61, February 25, 2016, Rondy Brew by Anchorage Brewing Co.

Grab your Rondy pin, don your winter boots, put on that crazy fox-face fur hat that has been sitting in your closet all year, because it’s time to RONDY!  That means a carnival on 3rd Avenue, directly across the street from my studio, a craft fair in the hallways here, dog races in front of the building both weekends, and the annual running of the reindeer.  Not to mention other odd events in the immediate area like snowshoe softball (may have to be studded shoes softball this year due to lack of snow), and the outhouse races! 

The annual Rondy Brew by Anchorage Brewing Co. is fabulous this year!  Brewed with Motueka hops and aged in fouders with Hibiscus and Brettanamyces.  The brew is a lovely rose color right now, but I bet that will fade with aging.  I am sure the traditional Saison flavor will increase if you cellar it, and the pink will possibly drop out into a sediment layer.  It is a tart, refreshing, floral brew right now.  I absolutely love it!  The Motueka Hops blend with the Hibiscus to produce a refreshing flavor that won’t shut down your Rondy groove, because the beer is only 6% ABV. 

The studio will be open from 11 AM – 6 PM all weekend, starting on Friday.  Come check out the view of the ferris wheel out my window, and peruse the large selection of prints, paintings and art cards.  If it’s not too busy, I can make a print of any painting that’s at my Etsy Shop.  I am also offering a free poster with any $20 purchase.  333 W 4th Avenue, Suite 4.

Cheers to another fabulous Rondy Brew! 

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #61 by Scott Clendaniel. February 25, 2016. Rondy Brew by Anchorage Brewing Co. 11"x14", oil on panel.

Thirsty Thursday Beer Painting #61 by Scott Clendaniel. February 25, 2016. Rondy Brew by Anchorage Brewing Co. 11″x14″, oil on panel.

Fireworks, First Friday, and Dog Races!

~ by Maria Benner

View from our studio.

View from our studio.

Fur Rondy officially starts this Friday, February 26th, sending us into a whirlwind of fun activities in the middle of a dreary snowless winter.

First is the Fireworks Extravaganza on Saturday, February 27th at 6:45 PM.  Our studio will have a great view, so if you need a warm place to watch the fireworks, stop by.  The space is small, and I have a feeling that a lot of people will figure out that we have the view, so get here a few minutes prior to the show (no, we won’t be letting random strangers in). Suite 4, inside the 4th Avenue Market Place (the blue mall on 4th Avenue).

Another noteworthy event is the World Championship Sled Dog Races Friday – Sunday.  The 4th Avenue Market Place is hosting a craft fair that weekend, and our studio will be open from 11 AM – 6 PM, so stop by to warm up if you’re out and about downtown.

Next up is First Friday on March 4th.  This month Scott is having an art show at Sub Zero Microlounge on F Street.  The reception will be from 6-9 PM, (free appetizers from 6-7PM)!

Following First Friday is the ceremonial start of the Iditarod on 4th Avenue.  Once again there will be a craft fair inside the 4th Avenue Market Place and we will be in our studio from 10 AM – 6 PM, so stop by to warm up.

That will keep us busy for the next two weeks!  This time of year we really appreciate the location of our studio.