City, state offices to close for Alaska Day

Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2002

Although there are no celebrations, parades or events planned on the Kenai Peninsula for Alaska Day, which is Friday, city and state workers will have the paid day off to celebrate as they please.

Alaska Day commemorates the formal transfer of Alaska from Russia to the United States and the raising of the U.S. flag at Sitka on Oct. 18, 1867.

"Kind of like the closing of a house," said Leslie Ridle, who is director of the governor's Anchorage office.

Sitka is celebrating the holiday with its Alaska Day Festival this week.

More is done with Seward's Day on the peninsula, said Soldotna Mayor Dave Carey.

Seward's Day is March 30. It commemorates the signing of the treaty by which the U.S. bought Alaska from Russia on March 30, 1867.

The flag transfer ceremony being delayed almost seven months might have been for several reasons, Carey said.

One might have been because the October weather is more inviting for a flag transfer than the weather in March, he said.

Another reason the flag transfer might have been delayed is because communication was not as easy as it is today.

"People in Alaska didn't even know it was done," he said about the signing of the treaty.

By summer word had reached the state and people would have learned Alaska had been bought from Russia, Carey said.

The cities of Kenai and Soldotna do not hold any type of celebration.

"Communities pick the things they celebrate," Ridle said. "I would love to do a celebration for Alaska Day."

But people do not feel as tied to Alaska Day -- "except for it's a day off," Ridle said.

The Kenai and Soldotna city offices, the visitor centers, the Kenai and Soldotna Chambers of Commerce, and Soldotna and Seward Senior Centers will all be closed. The Alaska State Courts and other state offices also will be closed.

Kenai Peninsula Borough offices and schools, the U.S. Post Offices and Kenai Peninsula College will remain open.



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