Thursday, September 29, 2011

Ode to my Dad!

I’ve been thinking about my dad a lot lately. Casting Crowns has a new song out called “Courageous” and I hear it on the radio time and time again coincidentally on the short two minute drive to work each morning. The story behind the song courageous can be seen here but basically it talks about how men are made to be the spiritual leaders in the family as the head of household, and how they have such a responsibility to keep the faith to be a "men of God".

In Alaska it's the end of fall. Frost almost every night, snow forecasted this weekend. Back home in Worthington, MN fall is beginning and the busy, sleepless, stressful, and rewarding time of harvest is upon my family. This will be the first year in my entire life that I have not participated in helping with harvest in one way or another. When I was little I would ride in the grain trucks (in my car seat even) as mom and dad did not hire a babysitter but we children instead would either be with dad in the combine or mom, grandpa, or one of the hired hands in the grain truck. Then I served as lunch girl (making sandwiches for the workers), or even stayed at home to help get my sisters and I to bed at a decent hour. Then I moved up the hierarchy to grain cart driver. One does not need a license to drive a tractor so grain cart was where I spent most of my time. I even did homework by the light of a flashlight in the tractor between rounds, and had a few "Corn-picker-flu" sick days where I got to stay home from school to help harvest-It was way fun for me :) Then one progresses up to driving grain truck. Most people fret over driving stick, me I hauled 530 bushels of corn while driving stick. To and from the grain elevator or home and back self unloading at home and self operating the PTO to run the auger and get the grain from the dryer into the bin.

That's me! I was younger like 13 when this picture was taken

Unloading onto the grain truck.

That's my dad on the left (combine) and me on the right (Grain cart)

I mention this because most people do not have a clue as to what all goes into farming, not even mentioning all the labor prior with tending to the crops...and it all can be gone with one storm at God's will--that takes faith.

My dad is one of the most humble people I know and I'm sure after he reads this post I will get a phone call because he does not like recognition but this is my shameless post "Ode to My Dad". My dad is also one of the strongest people I know. When I was younger, and even still dad is the go to man to lift heavy things, or create leverage to loosen a bolt (put on with an electric ratchet) holding a cultivator shovel. He is the only man I know who can survive running two months (during harvest) with 2-4 hours of sleep, no "real" meals and still make it to my band and choir concerts.
My Grandpa Pfeil in the grain cart.

Grandpa Pfeil getting some tools
My dad, has lupus which is a terrible disease in which your bodies immune system attacks itself and it causes flare ups, and yet my dad never complains. He would give the shirt of his back to make his family happy. Actually, he would give the shirt of his back to make anyone happy because that's who he is, and yet he is humble, to the point of getting "mad" (not really but a fake mad) when people give him recognition, or try to return favors.
That's my dad-there is a "bubble" in the hopper meaning that it is time to empty on the grain cart

My dad is a man of character, helping those in need. Assisting neighbors with harvest when one falls ill, responding to phone calls at midnight because an elderly friend has fallen, bringing a warm meal to our widowed and elderly land-lord who otherwise would not have a visitor all week, and yet one would never know because he is a man of character. He does these things not because he has to but because he wants to.

It's not just that my dad is physically strong but he is spiritually too. Both my parents have been influential in my faith life, teaching me the Lord's Prayer as soon as I could speak, driving us to Bible camp, leading in evening prayers and pointing out God in everyday life. I credit both my parents, but my dad especially to molding me into who I am today and perusing my call into full time ministry. My dad is my hero!

So this song by Casting Crown "Courageous" I feel best describes my dad, because he is Courageous I think Micha 6:8 best sums it up "To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." And that is exactly what my dad does :)

Here is the song I'm talking about Casting Crown's "Courageous"

We were made to be courageous
We were made to lead the way
We could be the generation
That finally breaks the chains
We were made to be courageous
We were made to be courageous

We were warriors on the front lines
Standing, unafraid
But now we're watchers on the sidelines
While our families slip away

Where are you, men of courage?
You were made for so much more
Let the pounding of our hearts cry
We will serve the Lord

We were made to be courageous
And we're taking back the fight
We were made to be courageous
And it starts with us tonight

The only way we'll ever stand
Is on our knees with lifted hands
Make us courageous
Lord, make us courageous

This is our resolution
Our answer to the call
We will love our wives and children
We refuse to let them fall

We will reignite the passion
That we buried deep inside
May the watchers become warriors
Let the men of God arise

We were made to be courageous
And we're taking back the fight
We were made to be courageous
And it starts with us tonight

The only way we'll ever stand
Is on our knees with lifted hands
Make us courageous
Lord, make us courageous

Seek justice
Love mercy
Walk humbly with your God

In the war of the mind
I will make my stand
In the battle of the heart
And the battle of the hand

In the war of the mind
I will make my stand
In the battle of the heart
And the battle of the hand

We were made to be courageous
And we're taking back the fight
We were made to be courageous
And it starts with us tonight

The only way we'll ever stand
Is on our knees with lifted hands
Make us courageous
Lord, make us courageous

We were made to be courageous
Lord, make us courageous

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Frosty Alaska

This morning I awoke to 22 degree temperature. It's not ridiculously cold considering in Minnesota we experience furious winds with -30 windchill and -17 actual temperatures, but it is the coldest temperature I've experienced this early in the calendar year.

I received a text message last night at around 4:00am from Tabbie (a congregation member) informing me that the northern lights were out. I went to the window to look outside but I am facing the wrong direction (west) and was too tired and too cold from leaving the covers to go outside an look. There will be plenty more times this year. I was informed today by Tabbie that the Northern Lights are supposed to be really good for the rest of the week since there are some severe solar flare activity. You can go here to see the forecast. Anchorage is covered in the green zone (meaning we can see them) and I am situated farther north than Anchorage. Tabbie also told me that the best time to see them is between 2 and 3am so come Friday I shall stay up to try to see them.

After sleeping the remaining 3 hours it was time for me to get up for the day. Outside the sky was crystal clear. There was a heavy cloud/fog hanging over the inlet but that is due to the drastic temperature change not the sky cloud cover.

Mt. Susitna above the fog...clear skies above
I snapped a few pictures of Mt. Susitna peaking over the heavy fog. The drastic contrast between the clear blue sky, and foggy inlet was a sight to behold.

I walked to my car through frosty, even icicled grass blades. My car was covered in a layer of frost. Not terribly thick for my standards but still impressing for September. It’s just another sign that winter is fast approaching.

My sunroof is frosted over

Frosty grass

Work today was a different feel. Today was the monthly Winkle meeting for Alaska. Winkle is a gathering of church workers across Alaska and this month it was held at Our Redeemer Lutheran Church. Pastor Steve presented on his Tanzania experience and we also had Teresa Fairow from Lutheran Hour Ministries present on some of their latest tools, devotions and helps for church workers. It was a long meeting but good to connect with other Pastors and DCE's in Alaska.

After the meeting I was invited out to lunch with Jamie (DCE from Palmer), and Tabbie (former ORLC DCE). We had great girl time, and it was very good for me to converse with them, laugh, and forget about work for a while.

This evening was choir practice. I am one of three altos. I usually sing soprano but alto is more fun because it's not the melody all the time. I am so glad that I can read music, and that God blessed me with musical ability. It has came in quite handy many times on internship alone not to mention, back at college and when I was younger.

Make a joyful noise  :) 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

A Good Day Because of the Little Things

Yesterday was an absolutely fantastic day. I woke up feeling rather refreshed as I got to bed earlier than normal. When I woke up I looked out my window to find the sun beaming down on the bright yellow and orange leaves on the trees across the inlet. I grabbed my camera and snapped some photos…still in my pajamas. I had a hearty bowl of honey nut cheerios and headed to work. 
(Click on any of the pictures for a larger view)
Sun hitting right in front of Susitna
More sun hitting the fire yellow trees

Like every Tuesday we had our weekly staff meeting. At work I got a lot done including finishing the mystery dinner and organizing the parts and scripts which is a big check of my list. The prizes and supplies for the Fall Festival arrived from oriental trading another plus.

This is where I work, but I hardly consider it "work"

Lunch was peanut butter and jelly. Homemade Alaska rhubarb jelly (well jam I guess) it was delightful. I then finished up the afternoon at work with e-mails follow ups for this upcoming youth Sunday, and wrote the clues for the next youth FISH event which is called “Snap & Dash” (It’s basically a digital photo scavenger hunt).

After work I headed out for a hike at the Eagle River nature center for a hike and on my was saw breathtaking snow covered peaks (what we call “termination dust” aka snow on the mountain tops meaning the termination of summer). I thought they were rather beautiful but folks here dislike the sight since winter is fast approaching. I guess it’s time for me to get my studded tires on (they were legal as of September 15th).
Termination dust (aka snow)
Better get on my studded tires
Fred Meyer looks more pretty than usual, can you see why?
After a wonderful hike I headed back to church for hand bell practice. Our hand bell choir is six people strong. The group is fun and easy going. Cracking jokes to one another trying to count our “one-and-two-and’s” and blaming our mistakes on Scott. It was a lot of fun, therapeutic almost!
We are "Moose Ringers" except for Scott and Pastor they are the hunters apparently :)

Today was a very good day. It’s not that something major occurred. It was the little things. God is a detail-oriented God! We often get lost in the details of life as society dictates it and forgets that God is interested in every single detail of our life. The Lord has crafted together every moment of your life that ends with a happily ever after Eternity with our Bridegroom. It’s the little things that add up to a wonderfully big life full of God’s blessings piling up to life us into His presence everywhere. The sun on the inlet, the snow covered peaks, growing relationships with people at my intern church, laughter at hand bell practice; the little things. Look for the little things along the way, hints from God that of course He was, and continues to listen, diligently working behind the scenes on your behalf.

Faith should not require a life built of extravagance. The faith focus is God! He is the extravagance of life. Faith grows through a live out loud relationship with god built around the little things. Faith the size of a mustard seed totally impresses God and He empowers it.  Do not forsake the small details in life that seem insignificant—no, look for your Father there! He is in it!

The Lord directs the steps of the godly. He delights in every detail of their lives. (Psalm 37:23)

Monday, September 19, 2011


Saturday was the first night of confirmation this year. Confirmation at ORLC is joint taught with Pastor Steve and myself. Confirmation meets once a month on a Saturday night and has a "retreat" format. The "retreat" is held at the parsonage which allows for a relaxing atmosphere. The students in confirmation are ages 5th-8th grade. It is a personal and parental decision as to when a student enters in confirmation. Some families wait until all their kids can do it together (less trips and gas), while other take a more traditional approach of starting in 7th grade. The confirmation program is two years total until one is confirmed.

The evening retreat starts with a meal at 6:00pm. Each person brings an assigned part of the meal. This past Saturday it was spaghetti so people were assigned the main course, garlic bread, salad, drinks and dessert. I was glad to get to meet the students all seven of them. It is basically three families so sibling rivalry is apparent, and it also makes things interesting.

After a half hour of fellowship and food I did the first session. For the first session both parents and students participate. I taught the first lesson on the introduction of the Lord's Prayer. We use curriculum from FaithInc so it is more innovative than simply reading from the catechism and Bible but uses everyday application and examples to explain the relevancy of what the students and parents are learning.

After the first session we have a break for dessert. I rather enjoyed this part for two reasons; first the students had warmed up to me and were starting to show their goofy personalities and second its dessert :)

After dessert the parents and students separate. Pastor takes the parents to the basement of the parsonage to teach them and I remained with the students upstairs. We learned about the first petition of the Lord's prayer through a skit, Bible verses and a movie clip.

Once the second session was complete we had a five minuet break and then resumed for the third session. The third session was my favorite. I still had the students upstairs and we learned about the second petition of the Lord's Prayer "Thy kingdom come". We must have been slightly loud because the parents later said they could hear we were having a good time. As part of the learnings the students participated in charades by acting out several of "The kingdom of heaven is like..." parables that are found in Matthew ie: The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field (Matt. 13:44), or the kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed (Matt. 13:31)
The students really got into it and more importantly learned something from the activity.

Confirmation re-affirmed my love for middle school. I think middle school is my favorite age. Many people like the little ones (I do too, don't get me wrong), or else they like the older youth, and middle school sometimes the forgotten group but I really enjoy this age.

They are not yet "too cool" to be silly, they are willing to try things and they are just fun. God continually shows me that I am called to ministry and I certainly felt that at this first confirmation session. The parents are willing, and involved (they participate and learn along side their students) it's such a blessing, and the students are fun, and open to new ideas. I think this is going to be a great confirmation year :)

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Alaska Fall...Oh look a BEAR!

Yesterday I took the chance to enjoy the fantastic fall weather here in Alaska. The leaves here have almost all turned from rich colors of green to multi-colored autumn tones of red, yellow, orange and brown.
The drive to Eklutna
I decided to take a hike near Lake Eklutna on the Twin Peaks trail. Twin Peaks was the first hike I experienced here in Alaska. A hike that almost killed me because I was promised by Sara (who I swear is part mountain goat) that it was "easy" when really it is rated "difficult" by the board at the trail head. Anyways, I ventured off by myself for what I expected to be a relaxing, and peaceful hike.
Headed to the Twin Peaks Trail Head

I arrived at the parking lot to find only three cars. It was quite and there was hardly any people around. I was excited for this because my introvertedness wanted alone time. When hiking alone, it is wise to either sing out-loud or talk. This comes naturally to me so on my hike I began to sing. It was quite a work out as I was singing rather loudly, and losing oxygen through the extensive work out. After singing some tunes I began to do some wedding plans (by talking to myself).

Green, Yellow, Red, and Brown!
The trail was covered in yellow leaves

The hike was absolutely beautiful. I was the only person on the trail (I expected as much since there were only three cars in the parking lot). The leaves were covering the trail, it was spectacular! The whole time I was slightly paranoid becasue with each leaf that fell I would hear the sound and think it was an animal but time after time it was just leaves.

After hiking for a good 45 minutes I was about two switchbacks from the first bench (which is about 1.2 miles from the trail head). The total elevation gain if one goes all the way up is 3500 feet so I would guess I had gone about 1500 feet of so. I was singing "Trading my Sorrows" at which point I noticed a big black bear in the middle of the trail in front of me. I have seen several black bears since being in Alaska but there had always been small and cute. This one was big and not cute...I was, well... startled.

I turned around and calmly retereated in the opposite direction back down the trail singing "The Ants Go Marching One-by-One". I continued singing and noticed the bear following me. Not actively perusing me, but he was casually walking in my direction. This freaked me out a little more than...well...I was rather hysterical.

Headed back down
Being shook up I did what any person would do...I reached for my cell phone to call my "mom", well my host mom, Terri. I'm not sure why. It's not like she could ward of the bear, she was probably still at school. I turned my phone on to find no cell reception which is common for the Eklutna area.

Eklutna Lake down below
Click for larger image-The distant trees look like a painting AMAZING!

Anyways I was fine, and continued my hike back down. On the way down I did encounter a Magpie and since I was rather jittery and had adrenaline I let out a shriek to which the Magpie flew frantically away.

Panorama of Lake Eklutna
The hike was overall good but next time I think I will take Jorge (the dog) with me. :)

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Rally Day!

This past Sunday was Rally Day and our Children’s Church kick-off. It was one busy day for me let me tell you. The week leading up to this Sunday was busy as well.

The day began with last minuet preparations and then Children's Church. Children's Church is basically Sunday School that takes place during the service. The children got to meet their teachers, sings songs, and have a snack. I felt slightly frazzled and did a lot of running around getting snacks, pouring juice cups, and making sure the teachers had everything they needed but it seemed to go well.

After church was Rally Day. Each year Our Redeemer Lutheran Church (ORLC) has Rally Day which is a day where every sub organization or activity that happens at ORLC gets to provide shameless publicity for their events. Each group sets up posters to publicize what they have to offer ORLC and in return the congregation gets to look at each one and figure out what they as members have to offer each group.

I, myself, was responsible for creating five different posters. Just by looking around the room it wasn’t too difficult to figure out which were the ones I made as they all followed a similar format with color coded backing paper.

In addition to having the groups publicize our congregation made it into a servant event as the members packaged “hygiene kits” to be donated to the Brother Francis Shelter. So how was this done? Well at each poster there was an item to be included in the hygiene kit; toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, wash cloth, deodorant, hairbrush, comb etc. In order to make a complete kit one would first pick up a ziplock bag and then proceed to visit  all the stations. This ensures that people were able to see each poster and allows for a service project to be done in the process. :)

Generational connections each member helped with the service project.
 All members young and old alike were able to participate in this service project and I think they had a lot of fun too. One thing that really helped me was that everyone wore a name tag. We are not a "name tag" congregation like my fieldwork church or other congregations, but on Rally Day everyone got a name tag. This was helpful for me because some people, I know them, I see them each week, but we were only formally introduced once, unfortunately I am not that good at remembering as it takes three, four, eight times for it to stick so this was very helpful to me.

We had a great turn-out


 Of course what's a Lutheran gathering without food? What's the saying "Where two or three Lutheran's are gathered there will be food?" Just kidding. But there was donuts, muffins, fruit, coffee, and juice provided and as one can imagine lots of fellowship.

Existing members got to talk with one another and new members got to connect with old. It was great for me too because I got to meet A LOT of people. It's interesting because I saw several people who I'm told have attended ORLC for a long time but I had never seen before. In Alaska people are gone for the summer and fall is hunting so several "new" people I met were actually regular attenders.

After Rally Day I was invited over to some congregation member's home for a brunch. We watched football and they shared with me some great family fishing videos and pictures. It was a good time.

By the time I left it was around 4:00pm and I was exhausted. I went home to take an afternoon "nap" which turned into me sleeping around the clock until 10:00am Monday morning which was the best thing ever. All in all it was a very fun and good day and now i'm onto my next adventures; confirmation lessons, Fall Festival planning, and High School Lock-in planning. Never a dull moment :)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Classroom Skills Applied

The life of an intern…well it’s learning to juggle many tasks at once. Let me start off by saying that there are several times within the church year when one is bound to feel like there are never enough hours in the day. Fall kick off (Rally Day) is one of those times. I am incredibly blessed to have been taught and mentored by several great people in preparation for these times. My professors, field work supervisor Andy, and my involvement in activities as a High School youth.

So here I am, end of summer gearing up for all things church. I rather enjoy working on many things at once as it keeps my life interesting. My past few weeks have been focused on Children’s Church. Children’s Church would be the equivalent of Sunday School except that it takes place during the church service. The format for Children’s Church is “Rotational”. It’s funny how I recall sitting back in the college classroom reading about the different types of Sunday School and here I am using one of those types-Workshop Rotational Model. The Workshop Rotational Model (in a larger setting) means teachers stay-put for our three week tours of duty in the workshop medium of their choice -- teaching nearly the same lesson each week to different classes which rotate through. Classes rotate into a different workshop each week but stay with the same story three weeks, learning it in-depth through a variety of media like games, crafts, music, Bible Story etc.

Our curriculum for Children’s Church is not pre-packaged but rather we ordered a VBS curriculum and from that re-wrote it for a Children’s Church format. I took each area (craft, game, music, Bible Study) and went through to select material that would fit with a smaller group, and stay within the time frame.

In addition to selecting and re-working the curriculum I got to put my volunteer recruitment skills to work. Another thing that I learned all about in the college classroom came to life. It was slightly challenging since some of last year’s volunteers had stepped down, and since Children’s Church happens during the church service some do not wish to miss worship, but with the guidance of Pastor and Ericka we filled the positions. For anyone reading who has ever been a volunteer for anything, church related or not, you really deserve a pat on the back. So many things could not be done without volunteers so THANK YOU!

So Children’s Church keeps me mildly busy, and there is also confirmation. Confirmation here is team taught with Pastor and myself. The confirmands and their parents meet once a month for a “mini retreat” at the parsonage. One month I teach the youth while pastor instructs the parents, and the next month I teach the parents and pastor teaches the youth. Since we meet once a month three lessons are covered at each 3 hour retreat. This makes me really get to read into the curriculum and pick the stuff that is really important and leave out the less important items.

Another thing that is a continuous mission is selecting music, singing and playing guitar at the once monthly connections service. I am recruiting potential guitar players, and additional vocalist so if you’re interested it would be much appreciated. I should also note that I will be offering free guitar lessons this fall in an effort to set up a rotation for this worship service.

And Then there are my youth. I love my youth so much. I love watching their sporting activities, getting to know them and I love that although they are small in numbers we join in to make big things happen. Starting this Sunday I am teaching Youth Group based on the PULSE Concordia Publishing House curriculum. I am excited to start and look forward to hearing the youth’s ideas for the upcoming year’s events.

There are of course other day to day tasks, meetings, phone calls, e-mails, sending out Birthday and thank you cards, and parent letters but those are all behind the scene stuff.

So there is a lot going on, but once fall kicks off the rhythm of ministry will beat like a drum. As I mentioned before I am so glad that I had people to prepare me for these moments, in preparation for internship. As I always say the life of an intern is never dull! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I Found Youth at the Fair

Sunday was the annual Alaska State Fair Scavenger Hunt. It went well. It is a joint event with the churches from Wasilla, Palmer, and Chugiak. It was fun to watch the kids run around and look for the pictures that we not always obvious. I feel they had fun and I know I did too.

The drive to the fair was crowded. What normally takes 15 minutes took me 45! To get to the fair there is only one road, single lane. It was backed up for seven miles and it was slow going. Once we got to the fair it took another 15 minutes to park. There is no parking lot but rather a giant grassy field.

I can defiantly tell it is fall. At the fair it was very cold and I wished I would have brought my gloves because my hands were like ice cubes by the end of the day. It was also VERY windy. The fair it in an area referred to as "The Valley". In the winter there is a dramatic temperature change between Chugiak, and Palmer due to the windchill. The town of Palmer, and the fairgrounds are sandwiched between two glaciers (Matenuska Glacier, and the Knik Glacier) which adds to the windy issue. I asked the kids why it was so windy to which one of my youth replied "Because Wasilla Sucks" I laughed.

The crew!
Mmmm, Husky Burgers!
Halibut Tacos--Alaskan's do love their Halibut, on EVERYTHING
The grassy "parking lot" for the State Fair

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fun at the Fair

Each month at Our Redeemer Lutheran Chruch (ORLC) there is a FISH event. FISH stands for Faith Integrity Service Honor. For this month’s (September) FISH event the youth are doing their annual scavenger hunt at the Alaska State Fair. In order to create the scavenger hunt one must first scout and find things to scavenge for, so that is exactly what I did.

Jamie (the DCE from Palmer) has done this event several times in the past so I accompanied her to the State Fair. It was a beautiful day, which was unusual since it has been raining 6 out of 7 days this past week but we happened to catch the ONE sunny day.
One of the streets at the state fair...not too many people :)
How the scavenger hunt works is that Jamie and I take pictures of things at the fair. We then crop the pictures into something more abstract ie:If the picture was of a sign we crop the picture to just the corner of the sign, and the students must find that object at the fair.

The layout of the State Fair is quite simple really. There is only one building that houses all of the animals; chickens to cows. For those of you reading who are from Worthington, MN there are more animals at the Nobles County Fair than here at the Alaska State Fair. It makes sense though. Even with the dwindling 4-H livestock in Nobles Country it cannot compare to the amount of livestock here in Alaska.
The one and only livestock building it looks big but lets walk inside..
Inside there are two rows of animals. Each row as 2-3 kinds of animals. There is also the arena.
Pioneer Peak 4-H poster
Sign on outside of winners arena.
In addition to the livestock there was also a building with all of the 4-H projects ie: Quilting, photography, arts, and GIANT VEGTABLES.  Since Alaska summers get constant sunlight and plants feed off of sunlight the vegetables if properly watered have the potential to grow to exponential sizes. The growing season for pumpkins is brief in Alaska. The titans at the fair grew for only three months, gaining 20 to 40 pounds a day.

Some of this year’s highlights included a 61.80 pound Zucchini, 117 pound cabbage, 87 pound kohlrabi, 93 pound Kale, 62 pound celery and  1723 pound pumpkin which surprisingly could not be judged and was disqualified because of a deformation so the lighter 1,287 pound pumpkin won this year’s largest pumpkin check out this excerpt from the Anchorage Daily Newspaper…

"Lucy Lu," a 1,287-pound pumpkin grown by John J.D. Megchelsen of Nikiski, took the title as the biggest pumpkin ever grown in Alaska at the Giant Pumpkin Weigh In at the Alaska State Fair on Wednesday.
A 1,723-pounder grown by Dale Marshall of Anchorage, "Patrick," was disqualified because of a hole in the bottom that went through to the core of the gourd. It will, however, be placed on view in the farm products display starting today.
There was a great deal of curiosity over whether Marshall's pumpkin would break the world record currently held by a New Jersey grower, 1810 pounds. A sullen silence fell over the crowd as judges crawled under the giant vegetable, suspended from a hydraulic hoist, to inspect the flaw, less than 3 inches across, probing it and deliberating for several minutes.
There were groans when officials finally announced that the specimen from Sand Lake had run afoul of the official rules of the Great Pumpkin Commonwealth, the international group that makes the rules and keeps the records.
Had it qualified, "Patrick" would have been only the fourth pumpkin in history to have topped 1,700 pounds.” (ADN © 2011)
the 1723 pound pumpkin that was disqualified for the rotten hole on the bottom.
LARGE VEGGIES! That's a 117 pound cabbage in the back middle.
10.85 Zucchini, this was not the largest but just the "best"
61.80 pounds

They do not have 4-H club banners like in Minnesota but they did have 4-H club scarecrows. It brought back some good ole memories
4-H scarecrows! 
One thing that is unusual about the timing of the State Fair is that school is going on. School used to start after the state fair but then it got moved up a week earlier, and the next year a week more! Now it is virtually impossible for students to attend the fair unless they go on the weekend. With that said Jamie informed me that many parents take their children out of school to go and see the fair to avoid the crowds on the weekend.
This is what a Grand Champion Ribbon looks like
As we were standing in line at the fair gate I couldn’t help but notice many parents with their children. I also found out that 4-Her’s with livestock either have to skip school to tend to their livestock or have their parents watch after them. As Jamie and I made our way through the one and only livestock barn I found several 4-Her’s camped out in their own sections and even saw one boy sweeping as the herdsmanship judge walked by.

Of all the livestock (animals) Nobles county would have more except for the rabbits. As you can imagine it is much easier to raise a rabbit in Alaska than say a cow, sheep, or horse so there were hundreds of rabbits.
Each year the Alaska State Fair brings in some sort of traveling exhibit. Last year it was reptiles. This year it was all Australian animals. There were kangaroos, pelicans, Macaws, and Emus.
Kangaroo! In Alaska?
Mr. Pelican. 
While at the fair I experienced my first Husky Burger which is like a hamburger except better, and had my State Fair must—Dipin Dots.

All in all it was a good day. I can’t wait for the actual FISH event which will take place this Sunday afternoon. Pray for good weather