Anchorage Independence Day celebration planned by new organizers after former host group dissolves

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Published: Apr. 29, 2022 at 4:41 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - After the nonprofit previously in charge of hosting Anchorage’s main Fourth of July celebration dissolved, a new organizer has stepped up and begun the process of permitting the Independence Day celebration on the Delaney Park Strip that has been a tradition for over two decades.

This week, the former board president for Anchorage Fairs and Festivals, which had been in charge of organizing and putting on the main July Fourth celebration in the city, announced the nonprofit had voted to dissolve after losing a major partnership. Nicki Hale said the group would not be organizing the event going forward.

Spenard Food Truck Carnival owner and operator Darrin Huycke said Anchorage Fairs and Festivals had reached out to him for assistance last year. After hearing that the group had dissolved, Huycke said that other vendors reached out to him about stepping in, and that he has begun the process of planning and permitting for the Fourth of July festival in downtown Anchorage with the municipality.

Huycke said in an interview on Friday that he began the process over a month ago.

“We’re excited to be able to provide this project, this festival, safely to the public and also to continue the business for those that have been out here,” Huycke said.

Huycke said that he was eager to settle nerves of the community members who had learned that the Anchorage Fairs and Festivals nonprofit had dissolved.

Huycke hopes that his group can maintain leadership of the Independence Day celebration on the Delaney Park Strip for decades into the future. He said that he plans to include a beer garden, a concert tent, and stage with a variety of local artists performing.

“We’re going to have a whole park strip of rides ... to bouncy houses, food, community-minded vendors, craft vendors — pretty much the whole dang kit and caboodle,” Huycke said.

He also said he’s working with the existing veterans’ parade to keep it as close to the same as possible.

Huycke grew up in Wasilla before moving to Anchorage, and shared excitement about maintaining the celebration of the nation’s independence as it has traditionally taken place in Anchorage.

“I love the Fourth of July, and I love my country,” Huycke said. “And to know that I can make an impact to continue this effort for another 25 years — sign me up coach.”

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