"It's really cool!" said Jacob Pernula, 11, as he carried a 5-by-3-foot American flag along Egan Drive and waited for a glimpse of the Olympic torch.
Pernula's sentiments summed up the feelings of hundreds of residents and visitors as they lined local thoroughfares Thursday morning.
Lifelong Juneau resident Sasha Soboleff stopped off to see the torch pass Juneau-Douglas High School, where he worked for years, and then went downtown to see it again.
"All this is historic," he said. "I wouldn't have missed this for anything."
Suzy Herbison dressed her St. Bernard up for the occasion in his Fourth of July collar.
"The first time I saw the runners go by, I just cried. I couldn't help it," Herbison said.
Homemaker Patty Pruhs accompanied 3-year-old Palmer.
"He thinks it's going to be a big fire, but he is excited, too," Pruhs said.
Randy Coleman, a planner with the U.S. Forest Service, escorted his twins Katherine and Laura, 4 1/2.
"They think it's magnificent. It's a very rare opportunity," Coleman said.
"These kids are going to be part of this history," said Colleen Jardell, carrying 6-month-old Claire in her arms, as Cameron, 2 1/2, held onto her leg for reassurance.
Tyler Dinnan, 14, was part of the event, serving as a support runner near McDonald's.
"It's really cool because it's the first time the torch has ever come to Juneau," Dinnan said.
The torch was about half an hour late arriving downtown, and parents and teachers from Dzantik'i Heeni Middle School, Gold Creek Child Development Center and Mendenhall River Community School could be heard advising their restless charges as they rolled in snow and waved flags provided by Chevrolet, "Get up!" and "We're not throwing snow, guys."
It was a double celebration for consultant Russ White and his wife Cindy Buxton as they waited for the torch opposite the Capitol. The couple had just completed a hearing at the courthouse.
"We came out today because we just finished the paperwork for the adoption of our daughter, Sheeshao, 2, from China," White said, carrying son Eli, 5, on his shoulders. "It makes our adoption day just that extra special," said Buxton, as Sheeshao chomped on an apple as red as her cheeks.
Ann Chandonnet can be reached at email@example.com.
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