FAIRBANKS, Alaska - Golden Days is winding down for another year, with the pinnacle taking place today. The Golden Days Street Fair at the Golden Heart Plaza started at 9 am. According to the Fairbanks Greater Chamber of Commerce, all vendor spaces were completely sold out this year. There were more food options than any year before. The Golden Days Street Fair included many free activities for kids, including face-painting, balloon animals, a petting zoo, and more.
Shortly after the the start of the fair, the parade began. It started at the Carlson Center and ended at the Gaffney and Noble intersection, in downtown Fairbanks. The parade is one of the oldest celebrations of Golden Days. This year, there were many participants including businesses, nonprofit organizations, churches, and even some politicians, among others.
A first time event also took place today. In honor of the 120th anniversary Engine No. 1, which currently runs at Pioneer Park, there was a reenactment of a Golden Spike Ceremony that took place July 17, 1905. The original ceremony marked the completion of the Tanana Valley Railroad. Engine No. 1 was at the original ceremony in 1905, when the cities first mayor, E.T. Barnette, was still in office. Despite being inactive for some time, the train is still active today. Julia Hnilicka portrayed Isabelle Barnette, who drove the golden spike at the original ceremony. Nicholas Nugent portrayed Falcon Joslin, who financed the railroad, and Steve Mitchell portrayed Judge James Whickersham. They both gave the same speeches the two historical figures gave at the original event.
Golden Days is not quite done for this year. The Ram Championship Rodeo takes place Sunday at 2pm at the Tanana Valley State Fair Grounds. Also taking place tomorrow, the Golden Days Bathtub Races will be held at 3pm at Pioneer Park. Pioneer Park will also be having their Kids Day on Sunday, starting at 1pm.