During the summer months, Camp Gorsuch in Chugiak is a hub of activity when Cub and Boy Scout camps are in session. In winter, the camp is home to an entirely new activity.
The lodge, cabins and recreation areas are transformed with lights, decorations and a generous helping of holiday cheer into Christmas Towne Alaska.
Christmas Towne Alaska is organized by local Courtney Moore. She remembers celebrating the season at the discontinued Enchanted World show – once held annually at the Egan Center – featuring life-sized dolls and fairy tale shows. After years without a premier local Christmas event, Moore decided it was time to make one happen. Her focus was creating a celebration that focuses on family Christmas experiences, rather than “stuff”. Inspired by Christmas Townes held through the Lower 48 and Europe, Moore is now putting on Christmas Towne Alaska for its second year.
Attendees can expect hours of Christmas activities and fun.
Children can make gifts and ornaments to take home and give as gifts. Prices for materials vary from $2-20 but most cost less than $5. There is a dedicated snowball battlefield and a s’more making area as well. Local vendors take up residence in the cabin areas for some holiday shopping opportunities.
For a more personalized experience, reservations can be made online for children to spend dedicated time with the Big Man or the Missus. A 30-minute ornament painting session with Santa is $25.00, and for those with a sweet tooth, $30.00 gets children one hour to bake cookies with Mrs. Claus.
Another activity for children is the chance to write a letter to Santa. Children who include their return address will even receive a reply from Santa, with thanks going to the Chugiak-Eagle River Senior Center for facilitating the letter exchange.
Apart from providing holiday fun, Christmas Towne Alaska is committed to contributing to causes in the community.
Christmas Towne Alaska has partnered with Off the Chain and REI to gift bicycles to local children every weekend. December 9th marked the Santa 5k, which served as a fundraiser for Pump up the Kids, a non-profit that provides gifts for teens in foster care.
No matter your price point, there is fun to be had by everyone in the family at Christmas Towne Alaska.
Not only is it the perfect site for creating Christmas memories with family, but it is a chance to earn some last minute “Nice” points by helping non-profit organizations in the community.
Admission is free for this family-friendly event which continues each Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from 1pm to 8pm until December 24th. Santa and his reindeer are available from 2pm – 7pm. More information and reservations are available at ChristmasTowneAlaska.com.
Sara Kennedy is a special education teacher in the Anchorage School District. She likes to swim, bike and run around Alaska, and camp and fish with her family. To reach Sara, email: firstname.lastname@example.org.