The River City kicks off its annual Soldotna Progress Days festivities today, and like the city itself, this year’s event has gotten bigger with age.
“There’s good stuff going on everywhere,” said Michelle Glaves, executive director of the Soldotna Chamber of Commerce.
The “stuff” begins at 10 a.m. today as the Soldotna Senior Citizens Center arts and crafts bazaar gets under way selling jewelry, breads, jellies and baked goods, in addition to a quilt show.
From noon to 4 p.m., the Kenai National Wildlife Refuge will show free films on a variety of subjects Glaves said will be interesting and entertaining to tourists and locals.
Natron Air will offer 15-minute flightseeing trips over Soldotna all day for $65.
As the day winds down, the fifth annual Everything But The Red Run will get started at 5 p.m. at Tsalteshi Trails behind Skyview High School. Glaves said this 5-kilometer event is for runners and walkers.
“It’s a great trail system, too. It follows a cross country trail through the woods and offers some great scenery,” she added.
On Saturday the festivities resume with the Progress Days Parade at 11 a.m. The route this year will start at Soldotna High School, follow Marydale to Binkley, then proceed down Binkley before turning on Wilson Drive and ending on Warehouse Drive.
“We have over 100 entries this year, including wieners on parade, senior bands, motorcycle clubs and antique cars, trucks and tractors. KDLL will also have their lawn chair drill team there, and they’re hilarious,” Glaves said.
Following the parade, the festivities move to Soldotna Creek Park with food, vendors, entertainment, activities and games for the kids. The Greatlanders military band will perform.
“Construction was also just completed on a half-mile continuous boardwalk for people to see and enjoy the river,” Glaves said.
At noon, Central Emergency Services will host its open house.
“They’ll be raffling off smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and doing lots of fun stuff for the kids with rides on the fire trucks,” Glaves said.
Car enthusiasts can enjoy two different events, the “Cruise for Kids” at Hutchings Chevrolet at noon and the Bill Banta Memorial Show and Shine at Great Bear Ford at 1 p.m.
Also at 1, the Family Rodeo Fun Day saddles up at the Soldotna Rodeo Grounds. At 1:30 p.m., pages turn at the used book sale at Soldotna Public Library, and at 2 p.m. the Soldotna VFW lights the grill for its open house and barbecue.
On Sunday, the Soldotna City Council will host its own free community barbecue at Soldotna Creek Park at 11 a.m. The rodeo continues on Sunday, too, as does the film series at the refuge.
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