Roadtrippin’ 2022: ‘Bank robbery’ an annual tradition as part of Midnight Sun Festival in Nome

Roadtrippin’ 2022: ‘Bank robbery’ an annual tradition as part of Midnight Sun Festival in Nome
Published: Jun. 21, 2022 at 5:45 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Midnight Sun Parade on Front Street had just finished. The street in downtown Nome was still covered with candy thrown from parade floats loaded with people from the high school alumni association and Pride participants.

“Is the cowboy robbing it?” a little girl asked her dad from the stands that faced the Wells Fargo building.

In what may be a little-known tradition outside of Nome is the annual “robbing of the bank,” which happens around Solstice after the parade.

“Bad guys” perform this ritual every summer to the delight of the children, who’ll benefit from the foiled robbery that ends with bag fulls of candy being tossed in the crowd.

The lead actor in the event, who didn’t give his real name and instead said to call him Richard Row, recruited women to dress in old-fashioned floozy outfits and another man to play Wyatt Earp.

“All you gotta do is look pretty and act scared,” he told the group of women who are traveling nurses stationed in Nome for the summer.

The Nome bank robbery starts at high noon, obviously.

As Earp hypes up the crowd Row and a woman playing Calamity Jane saunter down Front Street. A third actor sneaks inside Wells Fargo while a pretend shoot-out plays out outside.

“Boom, boom, boom, boom!” Jane said acting like she was shooting her guns into the sky.

As Row goes down in mocked defeat the floozies toss candy loot to the crowd.

“Well, there was an actual bank robbery about a century ago,” Earp said, “and, of course, you know criminals are stupid so they didn’t have an escape plan. You can only leave Nome one way, so it didn’t last long. A very short crime spree.”

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