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Fourth of July in Sitka, AK

Airship Goes to Alaska

The official 4th of July fireworks in Sitka happened on Friday night, July 3rd. We had the most perfect spot for fireworks viewing here in the marina. (It actually looks way darker in these photos than it was, because I metered on the light of the fireworks for these photos.) The official fireworks show started around 11:30pm, but prior to that there were several other local shows happening that we could see from the top deck as well. 



As the show progressed, the moon rose up to add its glow to the show:


This was the very best fireworks show I've ever seen. It did not let up for a second, and was LONG. It's a pretty good fireworks show when halfway through the show the smoke from the fireworks is blocking the fireworks:


On the morning of the 4th, we all slept in and then headed into town for some lunch before catching the 4th of July parade. We stopped to walk through the little Sitka Farmer's Market on the way:


Next, we grabbed lunch at The Larkspur Caffe. Kevin and I shared a Cubano sandwich and a king salmon sandwich and both were fantastic. 

All lined up for the parade:


We went into Harry Race Pharmacy where there's a soda fountain and got ourselves some milkshakes, and then found our spot on the sidewalk for parade viewing. The parade was quite a bit better than expected (we have low parade expectations). It began with a dramatic fly over by a U.S. Coast Guard helicopter and the Coast Guard was the first to show up:


Your usual parade participants…fire trucks, cool cars, cute kids:





The Alaska Airlines entry had a kid driving his own little car dressed as an airplane, and it also had this giant inflatable airplane:


It looked a little sad from behind though:


The Sitka Fine Art Camp campers were a fun and lively bunch:




I'd forgotten about all the candy that is thrown from the paraders to the audience! The kids in front were cleanin' up! (The grocery stores both carefully threw plums, peaches, oranges, and bananas, as well as some candy.)


No parade would be complete without an umbrella-hat-wearing selfie-taking dude:


As the parade ended, we headed upstream as most of the crowd followed the last parader. We wanted to check out a few shops that were going to reopen after the parade.


As we passed St. Michael's Cathedral (the Russian Orthodox Church) we noticed it was open for touring, so we went in to check it out.

Lots of gold…



Lots of metal work in the art…


This gorgeous blue…


…and a little embroidery:


After touring the cathedral, we went into a few shops and galleries and browsed around. Deke bought Tiffani a beautiful silver bracelet by a local artist at the Fisherman's Eye Gallery. While we were there we got to chatting with the owner, Vern Culp, about other local(ish) artists and I asked him about the artist I'd seen work by back in Ketchikan, Eric Bealer. Eric Bealer lives outside of Pelican, AK, very much off the grid. He is a painter and printmaker and I fell in love with his wood engraving prints when I first saw them. For some reason I didn't buy one immediately, even though they were insanely affordable. Vern had a couple pieces, but told us that the Sitka Rose Gallery just down the road a bit carried more of his work, so we decided to go look. 

Well, we bought three prints. "Raven's Rock" (8in x 8in, framed $55, no. 183 out of 190 — this one is going in the boat!):


Ice Wall (7-1/4 x 3-1/4 unframed $45, no. 396 out of 400) (see tiny kayaker in the lower left of the image):


…and "Ocean Motion" (10" x 13" unframed $75). This is the largest engraving he's ever made, and he'll apparently never do another one this big…way too much work! We got an artist's proof, number 5 out of 14.


You should see the detail in these…it's incredible. I did a bit of wood block carving as well as copper engraving and etching in art school, and the amount of tiny detail he gets on these wood blocks is remarkable. (We saw two of his wood blocks in the Sitka Rose Gallery…fabulous!)

Here's the new home for Raven's Rock:


On our way back to the marina, we walked past Totem Square where they were having the Firemen vs. Coast Guard water fight (kind of like a reverse tug of war, with hoses). Needless to say, the crowd got soaked as well:


Last night we grilled up some burgers with blue cheese and bacon and had ourselves a little deck top party in the gorgeous weather. It's so sad to have to say goodbye to Tiffani and Deke tomorrow morning. Sharing this trip with them has been the best two weeks of of it all!