Winter’s opening act scheduled for Oct. 4-6
For those of us who enjoy the many splendors of an Alaska winter, and attempt to enjoy the cold and snow to no end, there’s one event that unifies us in celebration of the coming season. Oxygen & Octane Expo, scheduled for October 4-6, showcases the dizzying array of winter sports and recreation activities, something for everyone.
Each year, the Dena’ina Center in downtown Anchorage is filled with vendors and clubs specializing in everything from snowshoeing to snowmachining, with games and entertainment, too, providing a festive atmosphere for winter enthusiasts. We can learn, shop and share in our passion for winter fun. Oxygen & Octane is quite possibly the opening act to usher in another season of snow.
For 2013, expo founder John Woodbury says the show is sure to impress visitors. This is no run-of-the-mill expo.
“As always,” Woodbury says, “all this entertainment is free to the public; door prizes practically rain from the rooftops, and there is fun for folks of all ages.”
On the snowmachine front, all the manufacturers at the expo will roll out their 2014 models, and this season should be a banner year for sled innovations. Economically speaking, Alaska’s most lucrative winter sport, snowmachining, will make an equally impressive appearance at the Big O Show.
According to Woodbury, the BRP folks have something up their sleeves. The factory reps are coming up in force, and Ski-Doo has invested another $5,000 in booth accessories to really spiff up their extra-large space. Arctic Cat also plans on flying sleds and wheelers from the rafters. And Iron Dog will have its raffle prizes on display, which is typically a wrapped truck, ATV or snowmachine, and their National Guard race sleds as well.
“Oxygen and Octane is a great venue for Iron Dog to kick off its season, introduce our raffle and new merchandise, and get the racers and community connected to each other,” says Iron Dog executive director Kevin Kastner. “We also use this time to introduce our sponsors, talk about our event schedule and attract new racers to sign up before the October 31 deadline. We enjoy partnering with our presenting sponsor, the Alaska National Guard, and hope to attract new recruits during these types of events.”
Film geeks (Who doesn’t enjoy a good flick?) ought to be impressed with the second installment of the Winter Adventure Film Fest. According to event planners, despite the fact that talented local videographers and producers walked away with thousands in cash prizes last year, and literally bags of door prizes for most everyone who submitted a film, the film festival is growing. The word is out.
“We expect a lot more entries, a lot more cash and prizes, and a lot more audience participation as far as voting for the crowd favorites,” Woodbury says.
Need some winter gear that’ll hardly put a dent in that PFD money? Sixth Avenue Outfitters will have the entire east wall of the Dena’ina Center filled with smoking deals on outerwear. Other vendors specialize in hardware like skis, snowboards and protective equipment.
As for a sampling of the entertainment it’s too early to tell all, but expo attendees can expect the Yukon’s World famous Snowshoe Shufflers, a Big O tradition; Kelly Williams entertainment and Alaska Professional Entertainment DJs; musical acts, fashion show, local performers and much more.
And it’s all indoors, which should appeal to families.
“Being at the Dena’ina Center is really great compared to an event where you’re outdoors in a tent in the rain,” says Mike Brown, sales manager for White Spruce Trailers. “A lot of the people there are getting geared up for winter and looking for snowmachine parts and accessories. We sell a lot of accessories and some trailers, too, and it’s nice that people can take their time indoors looking around and not have to worry about the family getting frustrated.”
Combine all this with prizes, games and activities for kids, food, even a beer garden where adults can plan their winter excursion over a pint, and we’ve got ourselves a can’t-lose way to spend the day.
Visit the Dena’ina Center on October 4-6 to take it all in, and pay a visit to the expo’s website for further details, www.oxygenandoctane.com. Becoming a Facebook fan to receive updates is an option as well, www.facebook.com/OxygenOctaneExpo.