Sunday, June 19, 2016

There Are Zero "Tiny Hands" at Juneau Gold Rush Days

There is, however, a lot of the following: testosterone, cammoflauge, fried meat, sugar, logs, axes, power tools, sawdust, regular dust, cigarettes, and mining swag.

Picture a vegan yoga retreat on an episode of Portlandia. Then picture literally the exact opposite of that, and you're at Juneau Gold Rush Days, an annual summertime fair celebrating the mining and logging industries in Alaska.

Since I'm neither a vegan yoga retreatant NOR a machine gun and motorcycle enthusiast, I found myself in the same position I do every year at Gold Rush Days: straddling the middle of the American sociopolitical landscape and observing my surroundings with an anthropological curiosity.

Geoff was home with food poisoning, so the kids and I spent the first 20 minutes of Gold Rush Days availing ourselves of as many of the concessions and activities on offer as we could.

Paige quickly acquired one of the free traditional "mining rocks" flimsy yellow "hard hats," which I think arrive here by barge in packages of 10,000 from Oriental Trading Company. Isaac was delighted by the human-sized duck mascot, who was distributing informational fliers for an upcoming duck hunting derby. I found it ironic that the target of this derby was also promoting his own future demise, but we had no time for cerebral musings. There was food to be inhaled!

Feeling a mite peckish, we bought a half rack of pork ribs drenched in a pint of BBQ sauce and a corn dog. We washed all that down with two sno-cones allegedly made with "glacial ice," one of which Paige predictably spilled on the bleachers during the logging demonstration.

There, we watched a guy named "Animal" who looked vaguely like Bruce Springsteen and was wearing a button down denim shirt with the sleeves ripped off prepare to compete. Animal had innumerable tattoos on his thick, exposed triceps and neck, and we cheered him on as he felled an enormous log with a hand-held axe in under a minute. His opponent (whose name escapes me) was sporting a helmet that said "Jesus Saves" and a T-shirt presenting readers with their choice of "Heaven or Hell?"

After the kids successfully shook me down for six runs on the inflatable bouncy house slide, I briefly considered entering us all in the NRA gun raffle, but then figured it would be faster (if not cheaper) just to get Geoff his annual Father's Day AR-15 at Fred Meyer, where we were heading next.

By the time we got there though, the kids' zeal for the Second Amendment had waned, and we all decided sunglasses and a baseball cap might make a more practical gift.

All in all, another successful Gold Rush Days is in the books!

1 comment:

  1. FYI,the guy with the jeesus saves hat and heaven or hell shirt is Animal. I've been a fan of his for 20 years now.


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