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Roadhouse Exhibit Brings Iditarod History to Alaska State Fair

(Posted Aug. 13, 2014)

Visitors seeking a break from cotton candy and giant cabbages during the 2014 Alaska State Fair (Aug. 21 - Labor Day) are invited to drop in at the Iditarod National Historic Trail exhibit. They’re likely to meet other Iditarod fans and leave with “Idita-facts” to share with the folks back home.

The exhibit is the result of a dynamic partnership between BLM, the nonprofit Iditarod Historic Trail Alliance, the Alaska Dept. of Natural Resources (DNR), and Chugach National Forest. During the Iditarod centennial celebration (2008-2012), the exhibit drew thousands of visitors who wanted to know more about Alaska’s only National Historic Trail. Some even shared their own tales of the trail.
After the centennial, the Iditarod Alliance proposed that the exhibit become a permanent educational feature at the fair. It was a proposal that came with commitment.
Today the Iditarod Alliance is the official sponsor of the Iditarod NHT exhibit at the state fair. The Alliance, DNR and Chugach National Forest now provide 75 percent of the staffing for the annual exhibit. BLM provides the remaining staffing support.

“This exhibit is part of the legacy of the Iditarod Centennial,” explains Iditarod Trail Administrator Kevin Keeler. “What began as a centennial exhibit is now largely sustained by partners, and continues to engage thousands of visitors and potential stewards each year.”

  • More than 350,000 visitors attend the Alaska State Fair in Palmer annually.
  • The Iditarod Roadhouse exhibit is located near the Red Gate. Be sure to pick up your free Iditarod zipper pull!
  • Expand your Idita-knowledge! Visit www.blm.gov/ak/iditarod. 

Evolution of an Exhibit

Iditarod Exhibit at Wineck Barn, 2009Iditarod shelter cabin exhibit, 2010
Iditarod exhibit at Alaska State FairSunny day at Iditarod exhibit 2013

The 2009 Iditarod exhibit at the Alaska State Fair was located in the historic Wineck Barn, constructed in 1936 during the Matanuska Colony Project. The 2010 Iditarod exhibit featured a public safety cabin built by Alaska Job Corps carpenters. The cabin is similar to public shelter cabins along remote parts of the Iditarod Trail.

The current Iditarod exhibit features rustic wall tents reminiscent of the Iditarod “roadhouses” of yesterday that offered food and shelter to weary travelers. The exhibit includes maps, memorabilia, mushing sleds, and helpful staffers who share tips for enjoying the trail.

Child on mushing sled at State Fair exhibitYouth wearing INHT tattoo

FUN FOR KIDS OF ALL AGES: A tiny tot checks out a mushing sled at the State Fair exhibit. Funnel cakes taste better when you have a cool tattoo!

Last updated: 07-22-2016