When people talk about Palmer, Alaska, several things come to mind: A great place to raise a family, home of the giant vegetables, the Alaska State Fair and the Mat-Su Miners. When the Palmer Museum staff talks about Palmer, they think of community and the strong supportive network that exists there. No other event showcases this sense of community better than the Palmer Midsummer Garden and Art Faire, PMGAF, a one day garden, art and music festival held every second Saturday in July, in downtown Palmer.
Three years ago, the Palmer Museum took the helm of coordinating the event and has since used that opportunity to help expand its outreach and steer it in a new direction. Being a 501 (c) 3 non-profit organization, the Museum understands the murky waters that have to be traversed to survive in Alaska’s current climate of financial uncertainty. That being said, there is no other way to ensure sustainability than by supporting your fellow non-profit organizations and local businesses who help the community to thrive.
The entire event is offered to the public for free which allows attendees to put their money where it counts – in the hands of their neighbors, friends and family who operate our local businesses and non-profits. For some of our participants, the PMGAF is one of only a few opportunities they have to showcase their services and help gain new members and supporters or to network with others.
Since 2014, the PMGAF has made it a priority to feature local art. The Museum strives to create an immersive experience for attendees by having a variety of art forms and media represented. The event achieves this through the Palmer Art Walk, which occurs from 2:00 – 6:00PM on the day of the event, its partnerships with several art organizations such as the Valley Arts Alliance, Valley Fine Arts Association, Palmer Arts Council, Valley Fibers Guild, and Museum of Transportation and Industry, to name a few, and through its variety of featured performers.
For 2016, the PMGAF will be featuring two live performance stages including the Palmer Alehouse Stage that will feature up and coming acts: Andrew Penyak, Wild Cat Trio, Conway Seavey Band, and Blackwater Railroad Company, and the 95.5 Hatcher Pass Radio Stage which will feature more local performers including: the Alaska Children’s Choir, Devynn Maclure, John Cook, Amy Beth, Angeline Moore and the Jerry Wessling Band.
As an added bonus and as a means on expanding the live performance selection, there will be a Cultural Performance Tent on the Museum grounds that will feature performances by Mariachi Agave Azul and Folklorico Xochitlquetzal Tiqun from Anchorage who will offer a taste of Mexico through music and dance and for the first time, the event will be featuring Yup’ik singer and dancer, Byron Nicholai.
Nicholai, who just recently graduated from high school in Toksook Bay, Alaska, is one of President Obama’s Arctic Youth Ambassadors and is a recipient of both the Spirit of Youth Award and the Roger Lang Youth Leadership award. He has been featured on both KTUU and NPR for his efforts in preserving his cultural heritage through music, dance and drumming. Nicholai is also a YouTube star with over 15,000 followers from all over the world. The PMGAF committee is excited to be able to bring this kind of caliber performer to Palmer.
The PMGAF is truly a community effort from its amazing volunteers to the local vendors and featured performers. Whether you are a fan of Palmer, gardening, art or music, the event offers a rare opportunity to experience what being part of a community is all about and allows you to experience the best of Alaska while keeping your money in Alaska.
The Palmer Museum of History and Art is a non-profit museum that serves the community of Palmer in preserving and sharing the history and art of the Palmer region. The museum’s collections contain items that best depict region’s art history, exploration, settlement, agriculture, and trade, cultural and social development. During the summer, May 1st through September 30th, the museum also serves a Palmer’s Visitor’s Center and is open seven days a week from 9:00AM to 6:00PM. The museum also operates during the winter months from October 1st through April 30th, Wednesday through Friday, 10:00AM to 5:00PM and second Saturdays of the month, 10:00AM to 6:00PM.