On New Year's Eve in Alaska, locals and visitors revel in the possibilities of the months to come. From ball drops to fireworks to First Night activities, every locale rings in the new year a little differently. As part of NewYearsQuest -- a MapQuest guide to the best New Year's Eve sights and sounds in the U.S. and in major cities around the world -- here are three recommended events for New Year's Eve 2011 in Alaska.
Alaska New Year's Eve Events Map
NECA/IBEW Fire & Ice Celebration
Sparks and ice fly in Town Square Park in the heart of downtown Anchorage on New Year's Eve. The NECA/IBEW Fire & Ice Celebration kicks off at 5 p.m. with fire jugglers, live music, ice skating, a costume parade, a light show and acrobatics by the Aerial Angels. The last evening of the year goes out with a bang at the 8 p.m. Fireworks Spectacular. The whole family can bundle up and enjoy this outdoor party. Admission to Fire & Ice is free.
Torchlight Parade & Fireworks
Skiers and snowboarders light up the night with flares at the Torchlight Parade & Fireworks at Mount Alyeska in Girdwood, 40 miles south of Anchorage. Spectators can watch from outside the Daylodge at the Alyeska Resort as the parade of skiers and snowboarders descend the mountain with bright lights in hand. Fireworks complete the light show after the parade ends. The celebration runs from 8 p.m. till midnight and is free of charge.
Chena Hot Springs Fireworks
Residents and winter tourists in Fairbanks head to Chena Hot Springs, 60 miles east of downtown Fairbanks, on New Year's Eve for the free Chena Hot Springs Fireworks celebration. The glittering show begins at 10 p.m. at the Chena Hot Springs Resort on the airport runway, yards from the Activity Center. Resort employees distribute fireworks for this do-it-yourself celebration, which may have competition from the aurora borealis on a lucky New Year's Eve. Viewers can soak in the hot springs indoor pools or outdoor lake with prices at $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $7 for children ages 6 to 17. Hardy souls can brave an evening encounter with the brisk outdoors before the fireworks or afterward on the Aurora Borealis Snow Coach Ride from 10:30 p.m. to 2 a.m.
New Year's Eve In Alaska: VideoThe 2008 Alyeska Torchlight Parade unfolds in fast motion. Skiers and snowboarders descend with their lights, followed by fireworks.
Did we miss an Alaska New Year's Eve event? Tell us about it in the comments section below.
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by Ken Jennings
Our resident expert -- and renowned Jeopardy! champ -- scours the planet to find some of its oddest New Year's traditions.