Community editor and columnist Kris Capps is a longtime resident of Fairbanks and Denali Park. Contact her at kcapps@newsminer.com, in the office at 459-7546 or by cell at 322-6334. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

When strains of “I’ve Been Working On The Railroad” can be heard throughout the city of Anderson, it must be the annual student hay ride.

 This tradition, begun decades ago, happens every fall. Students and staff pile into the hay wagon, pulled by a pickup. The hay ride winds through the streets of the city, with everyone on board singing loudly the entire way. Local residents sitting outside on porches happily wave as the entourage passes by.

 The hay ride this year was filled with about 30 students, kindergarten through 12th grades, plus teachers and other staff. Principal Jeni Mason and Denali Borough School District superintendent Dan Polta were also on board. The ride holds special significance for Polta, who worked at Anderson School earlier in his education career. He happily pointed out his former home along the route.

 Music teacher Candace Mudge was there with a guitar, lots of percussion instruments and song sheets, on the rare chance that some participants didn’t know the words to some of the old classics: “Row Row Row Your Boat,” “The Bear Went Over the Mountain,” “Bingo,” “This Land Is Your Land,” and of course, the “Anderson School Song.”

 The final destination was Riverside Park. There, students took over the field for a rousing game of red rover, red rover. Hot dogs and s’mores were next. It was the perfect beginning to the school year.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Capps at kcapps@newsminer.com. Call her at the office 459-7546. Follow her on Twitter: @FDNMKris.

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