Madison Frye

Madison Frye from the University of Alaska Fairbanks women’s basketball team volunteered as a coach at FCA Speed and Agility Camp last summer in Fairbanks.

Five chefs barbecuing ribs at their grills, three bands playing music, a bouncy house for kids and a watermelon eating contest for both kids and adults— there’s something for everyone at the North Pole Grange’s Independence Day celebration on Monday, July 5.

The city of North Pole is supporting this event, since the city is not hosting a parade this year. It’s all happening at the North Pole Grange from noon to 6 p.m.

Bring your own lawn chairs and walk to the grange, if you live nearby. Parking and drop-off will only be allowed on-site for mobility impaired visitors to the event. Others should park at North Pole Middle School and walk to the grange.

It will be worth it.

Three bands providing three different styles of music are lined up to provide live entertainment: Earl Hughes, Raven Call and Unsupervised.

Romper Room will provide bouncy houses for kids, for a small fee. Games will also have a small fee, but organizer Jennifer Hughes stressed that it will be very affordable for families.

“Kids can jump the whole afternoon,” Hughes said.

Games will include three-legged races for kids and adults, burlap sack races, and croquet.

Food will include cotton candy, hot dogs and there will be a watermelon eating contest for kids and adults — no hands allowed.

“This should be really fun,” Hughes said. “I’m super excited.”

She decided to spearhead this event when she discovered the city of North Pole did not plan a celebration for 2021.

“We can’t NOT celebrate Independence Day,” she said. “We have to do something.”

She recently became acquainted with the North Pole Grange when she was allowed to teach homeschool cooking classes there all winter.

“I had 10 kids who made homemade tortillas, salsa, shredded their own cheese,” she said. “They made English muffins from scratch, pancakes from scratch, they measured everything. It was really a lot of fun.”

The generosity of the grange made her want to share it with others.

“I want to raise awareness,” she said. “So people know it’s available for the community to use.”

The barbecue competition is serious business. Each chef will be give 6-to-8 racks of ribs and given six hours to prepare them. Judging is at 2 p.m.

After judges announce their decision, the public is invited to buy ribs, at $1 per rib, and then cast votes for their favorites. The winner takes home $100 cash prize. Peoples Choice winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to the Ammo Room.

So far, five chefs are signed up for the barbecue contest. They include North Pole Mayor Mike Welch, Sam Sanders, Landon Fessler, Chris Brenner and Joe Ziegler.


Speed, Agility Camp

There is still time for 8th-12th graders to sign up for a speed and agility camp next week, sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

The camp is set for July 5, 7 and 9, from 3-5:30 p.m. in Fairbanks. Participants will learn quick feet drills, the importance of balance, agility exercises, play competitive games and get a good workout. They can even race the camp director in a 40-yard sprint.

The camp takes place at the Turf Fields Complex at 1966 Davis Road. Participants should bring running shoes and a water bottle. Cost is $100 per athlete.

Register at For more information, contact Ryan Reinheller at

The Fellowship of Christian Athletes is a group dedicated to seeing the world transformed by Jesus Christ through the influence of coaches and athletes, via integrity, serving, teamwork and excellence. 

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