Four-year-old Clara Rinck’s dream came true Thursday when she met Molly of Denali, in person, at the Denali Education Center.

“Molly is her favorite PBS program and that’s saying something,” said her mother Jessica. “She told me it was a dream come true on the way home.”

Molly was there to help launch the Denali Film Festival, videotape an educational outdoor workshop with Alaska Project Learning Tree, and to meet some of her young fans. For youngsters, meeting Molly of Denali was like meeting a movie star.

Molly posed for photographs, played hide-n-seek, and offered kids some of her early reading books after a short read aloud story on the lawn.

Molly of Denali is a nationally distributed children’s series about 10-year-old Alaska native Molly Mabray, her family, her dog Suki and her friends Tooey and Trini. The program focuses on Native values, respecting others, sharing what you have and honoring elders. It also showcases contemporary aspects of rural life and strong female role models.

Molly’s meet-and-greet at the Denali Education Center welcomed families to the opening day of the Denali Film Festival, an event which highlights films focusing on adventure, nature, the outdoors or national parks. The mission of the festival is to bring artists into nature and to promote the economic vitality of the Denali Borough by bringing world class film to Denali that advocates environmental responsibility at the heart of adventure.

The festival continues Saturday and Sunday with screenings of some of the films, including Fairbanksan Amanda Byrd’s film “Alaska Grown.” Byrd will discuss the film during an Artist Talkback at 3 p.m. on Sunday.

Screenings of other films, free yoga sessions and a closing gala are also scheduled. All the films can be viewed online for $24. Information at

For a full schedule, see the Denali Education Center’s Facebook page. 

Molly of Denali’s visit was made possible through collaboration of the Denali Film Festival, Denali Education Center, KUAC, and Alaska Project Learning Tree.

Reach columnist/community editor Kris Follow her on Twitter @FDNMKris.