Ringing in the New Year Around Fairbanks

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Forbes recently named Alaska’s biggest Interior city the fasted growing small town in the United States. Despite the recession, the population of Fairbanks increased by 13.7 percent between 2006 and 2009. Many attribute Fort Wainwright and Eielson military bases for contributing to the low, 6.5 percent unemployment rate, well below the national average.

It has been quite a year, and this budding city is bringing in the New Year with a bang. Everyone is invited to the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus on New Year’s Eve for the annual Sparktacular Celebration. Get there a little early to find a spot to watch fireworks launched from UAF’s West Ridge, Friday, Dec. 31 at 8 p.m.  The University of Alaska Museum of the North welcomes all the firework spectators to come in before, during and after the show to enjoy free hot cocoa and cookies. The museum galleries will be open to the public at no charge from 7-9 p.m.

If you can’t make the first round of fireworks, then head to the Ken Kunkel Community Center next to Ivory Jacks in Goldstream Valley. The Goldstream Valley Lions Club is sponsoring the 10 p.m. fireworks show. Starting at 8pm there will be a bonfire and other fun activities.

Video: Goldstream Valley puts on a great fireworks display

Make sure you bundle up and wear layers when heading out to watch the fireworks. This time of year, Fairbanks’ average temperature is 4 degrees Fahrenheit, with an average low of 15 below zero.

If you enjoyed making buttons last year with your kids at the Noel Wien Library, don’t miss this year’s, “Got Trucks?”  Children ages three and up can bring their favorite Big Rig (or other transportation item) for a program “geared” to your fabulous big wheeled machines.  No registration is required, but the event is a day earlier than last year, Thursday, Dec. 30, at 2 p.m. in the auditorium of the Noel Wien Library.

For the 21-and-over crowd, there are plenty of bars hosting their own New Year’s Eve celebrations. As always, plan to have a designated driver or take a cab home. Keep Fairbanks safe and don’t drink and drive.

For those who feel like staying in this year, catch “Dick Clark’s New Years Rockin Eve” on Dec. 31 starting at 10 p.m. ET on ABC with American Idol host Ryan Seacrest from New York City’s Times Square.

Happy New Year!