2024 midnight sun festival in fairbanks

2024 midnight sun festival fairbanks

Now that I’m somewhat caught up on sleep from this past weekend’s Midnight Sun festivities, I feel like I can coherently share what it was like. Like I mentioned in my last post, on Friday evening/night, we went to the 2024 Midnight Sun Game with the Alaska Goldpanners vs. the Seattle Studs. It was one of those events that really cemented the fact that, holy moly, we live in the Land of the Midnight Sun. So, as one does whilst at Fort Wainwright, we went the 2024 Midnight Sun Festival in Fairbanks downtown this past weekend, as well.

All About the 2024 Midnight Sun Festival in Fairbanks

Hosted each year in downtown Fairbanks, Alaska, the Midnight Sun Festival is one of those annual events that attracts both locals and visitors, alike. More than 30,000 people descend upon Fairbanks’ city streets for a day of fun, food, shopping, and more, all celebrating the longest day of the year in interior Alaska. Running from 12 PM to 12:AM, it’s quintessentially Alaskan.

This family-friendly event is marked by live performances throughout the day, ranging from break dancing to folk bands, fitness competitions, and more, as well as more food than you could ever dream of. Celebrating local artisans and featuring the offerings from hundreds of food trucks, downtown restaurants, and more, it’s one of those events that you just can’t replicate anywhere else. The 2024 Midnight Sun Festival in Fairbanks was the 43rd annual event, and it’s definitely one I’ll look forward to again next year.

2024 midnight sun festival fairbanks

midnight sun festival alaska

Our Midnight Sun Festival Favorites for 2024

When I was originally trying to explain what the Midnight Sun Festival was to the kids, they kept remembering last summer’s Tanana Valley State Fair (and deservedly so because it was a great experience!) I tried to explain that, rather than a fair though, this was a festival. Think: no rides, more food, more shopping, and simpler fun. They were generally unimpressed until we arrived and they saw the massive parking lot full of inflatable bounce houses.

We saw some familiar sights from the fair last year like the soda jerk food spot, the tamales lady, and more, but we also saw a lot of new things whilst there, as well. The food lines were long. Like unbelievably long. So, we tried to minimize how many lines we stood in. We got the kids 3-foot long licorice ropes, which they loved, and we shared a massive barbecue plate from local food truck, T’s Barbecue Connection, and it was so good! The real hit was definitely the bounce houses for the kids though. They had inflatables for all ages, and we bought them wristbands so they could keep going back again and again.

2024 midnight sun festival fairbanks

Fairbanks midnight sun festival

summer solstice festivals fairbanks

Real Thoughts on the Midnight Sun Festival

The festival, itself, is a staple here, and I’m so glad we were able to experience it! There was so much good there, and it was a lot of fun to peruse all the shops from the local artisans and businesses. Parking wasn’t even a real issue, which was nice, considering how busy it was downtown. We were, however, a little bummed by some of the yuckier aspects downtown, too.

We ate down by the Chena, and there were hypodermic needles around on the ground (just a couple, but still). It was also so hot and sticky, that the long lines were really hard with the kids. I think we were just unprepared in that regard, but we were glad to find some shade to sit and eat! Overall, we expected it to be busy, but I don’t know that we expected it to be that busy, so it was wild! You’d think Korea would’ve prepared us for it, but there’s Korea-busy and there’s America-busy, and this was definitely the latter, which was a little more chaotic.

downtown fairbanks alaska

2024 midnight sun festival fairbanks

Tips for Going to the Midnight Sun Festival in Fairbanks

Cost: Entry is free! Individual vendors, food stalls, and such cost money though, so either bring cash or card. Also, for reference, inflatables were $15 for unlimited bounces. All performances were free.

Pets: Dogs are welcome on leashes.

Maps: Before the event, Fairbanks shares the Midnight Sun Festival map online, which you can find for the current and, eventually, the upcoming year once announced.

Pro-Tip: It gets hot in Fairbanks, despite what winter in interior Alaska looks like. You can bring your own water, and I would also recommend bug spray, personal fans, sunscreen, and a hat for all parties!