The following is a letter to the editor and does not reflect the views of The Skagway News.

An extremely belated, but heartfelt thanks to all who helped make Skagway’s second Fall Festival a rollicking great time! Once again, the dedicated volunteers of the Skagway Arts Council wowed us with the quality of musical acts they bring to town. Both Gordie Tentrees and Martha Redbone gave wonderful performances. Sara Kinjo-Hischer at the Skagway Traditional Council did a great job arranging a variety of canning and other food based classes through the UAF Cooperative Extension. Thanks to Sarah Lewis for traveling from Juneau to teach those classes. Jason Verhaeghe of the KGRNHP brought lots of smiles to young faces with their second annual pumpkin carving event. Thanks to the members of the Elks Club for providing space for the pumpkin carving, burger feed and Sunday brunch and Denise Sager for heading up the burger feed. The good folks at the Eagles Club provided space for concerts, art classes and the fall market.

For the second year in a row, Annemarie Haaskamp was organizer extraordinaire in setting up the Fall Market.  Beth Smith and the Skagway Pizza Station crew kicked off game show nights with the ever entertaining trivia contest, Grandma Ginny Cochran organized the Knit Wits group, Shelby Surdyk and Elaine Furbish of the Skagway bird club led a rainy morning bird walk, Shelby also gave a great bird talk at NPS. Thanks also to the hard working staff at the Skagway Museum, Skagway Public Library and the Skagway Recreation Center for all their wonderful offerings. Last, but certainly dear to our hearts is Katherine Selmer, the folks at Paws and Claws, Clif & Sheila Vig Robertson for arranging a couple fantastic dog agility classes.

The festival is timed over Alaska Day weekend to encourage summer locals to extend their season in Skagway, while still allowing Skagweigans that much needed post-season hibernation and recovery period.

Billed as a Celebration of Art, Music and Life in the North, the goals of Fall Festival are to:

• Provide an entertaining and educational venue for locals to reconnect with each other and visiting friends and family from neighboring communities.

• Provide free or low cost introductory lessons and lectures on a variety of topics, including skills for subsistence living, hobbies, crafts and arts.

• Create potential for people to develop skills, which could lead to new cottage industries for the region.

• Provide support to our winter businesses.

We would also like thank the many individuals and organizations who made the December in Skagway so much fun. Our dark winter nights were brightened with fabulous light displays by business and home owners who braved the winter weather.  Once again, Katherine Nelson and her team at the Skagway Recreation Center organized a fantastic Yuletide Celebration. The events and entertainment our businesses and fraternal organizations provide truly bring the magical spirit of the season to life. Your efforts bring joy to our visitors and residents alike, thank you for all you do!

Next year, invite your friends and family to enjoy Skagway during the amazing month of October or celebrate an old fashioned Yuletide. Our festivals will provide great, low cost entertainment while they are here and you will actually have time to enjoy their company!

If the events of Fall Festival and Yuletide entertained and inspired you, please join us on Friday, February 5th at 10 a.m. in the AB Hall for a follow-up meeting and brainstorming for 2016 winter events! As the saying goes, many hands make light work. It also makes work fun.  With your participation, ideas and enthusiasm, our winter community can continue to grow and thrive!

The staff of the Skagway
Convention & Visitors Bureau