If the thought of dog mushers in tuxedos makes perfect sense to you, drop by the civic center at Pioneer Park at 6 p.m. today.

The annual Yukon Quest auction and beer and wine tasting is one of the major social events of the year.

One highlight will be tuxedo-clad mushers such as Brent Sass, Hugh Neff, Cain Carter, Lance Mackey, Cody Strathe, Mike Ellis and Mike Bowman serving as waiters. The mushers were being fitted for their rented tuxedos earlier this week.

Some of the mushers accent their tuxedos with bunny boots or mukluks. Neff has told some people that he will wear a kilt.

Admission is $30 at the door or $25 at the Yukon Quest office. There will be live music.

There are hundreds of auction items, with Aliy Zirkle as the auctioneer. These range from “musher for a day” trips to flightseeing trips and gifts of all kinds.

The race starts in Whitehorse in February and this is one of the major fundraisers of the year for the Yukon Quest organization, which is a largely volunteer operation.

Last year, about 250 people attended to buy auction items and sample beverages.


NATURAL GAS ISSUE: There is an important meeting in Fairbanks at noon today at which Gov. Sean Parnell is to brief local energy officials on what is coming in terms of state support for getting natural gas to Fairbanks.

If the governor supports a major grant to help make the trucking plant a reality, it will improve the economics and help speed the transition of Fairbanks to a more affordable energy supply.

But if he tells Fairbanks that he is supporting a major loan instead, that’s not going to speed this transition. The gas trucking plan has not been commercially viable, which is why it has not happened.

Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins said he hopes that the governor will insert a major grant into his proposed budget for the Legislature.

“There’s people that are hurting in this community,” Hopkins said.


HOOP SHOOT: Young free-throw shooters are invited to take their best shots Sunday at Boileau Hall at Monroe Catholic High School from 3-5 p.m.

This is the local competition in the Elks National Hoop Shoot Contest, now in its 41st year. Admission is free and is open to kids from ages 8 to 13.

The idea is to make as many free throws as you can out of 25 attempts. The winners at this level could be the state winners, depending upon the results elsewhere.

Registration starts at 2:30 p.m.


FILM PREMIERE: The film “alaskaLand,” which has its first Alaska showing today at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, is about a Nigerian raised in Alaska who struggles to “balance the expectations of his traditional Nigerian parents and the larger world around him,” the director says.

The film, which has been shown in film festivals in Chicago, Montreal and elsewhere, is dedicated to the late Adrina Knutson, a UAF film student who died in a car accident this past summer in Tanzania. She was the production designer on the project. Proceeds from the premiere are to be donated to the Adrina Knutson Memorial Scholarship Fund.

Former UAF student Chinonye Chukwu, director of the film, and producer Maya Salganek, an assistant professor of digital performance media at UAF, are to hold a Q&A session after the 7 p.m. showing at the Salisbury Theatre.

Dermot Cole can be reached at cole@newsminer.com or

459-7530. Follow him on Twitter at FDNM@dermot.