JUNEAU - Early in 2008 a citizens organization formed to develop, plan, organize and coordinate 50th anniversary of statehood celebration activities in Juneau. The primary goal of Capital City Celebrations was to remember, celebrate, and nurture pride among Juneau residents for their part in Alaska's journey to statehood.
The city of Juneau granted the group start-up funds. The Juneau Chamber of Commerce joined by offering meeting space and administrative oversight.
Under the leadership of Kathy Hildre and Kaysa Korpela, the Capital City Celebrations Committee, along with board members Jackie Honeywell-Walden, Kathy Ruddy, Bob Hale, Kirby Day, Romer Derr, Jane Lindsey and Cathie Roemmich, worked alongside numerous volunteers and organizations for two years to raise funds and sponsor celebration events to fulfill the committee's goals.
Serving 50th anniversary cake at no less than 11 public events, cake-serving volunteers, Ruth Blackwell and Arlene Crumrine estimate that they ordered, purchased, set-up and served about 4,000 pieces of cake.
In August 2008, the committee coordinated a Former First Ladies Tea at the Governor's Mansion. The committee also helped coordinate a public welcome reception for the last voyage of the USS Juneau and its crew to Juneau, and helped place each crew member with a Juneau family so that they could be treated to a home cooked meal while they were in port.
The committee wrote an Alaska Humanities Forum Grant to research, write and produce four mobile 50th anniversary panels for public display and education during the numerous Juneau statehood anniversary celebrations and events. It ordered banners to be hung and displayed around town as we approached the anniversary of statehood.
In 2009, Capital City Celebrations held a statehood ball on Jan. 3, with live music by the The Diamonds. On Jan. 4, the committee coordinated and funded fireworks in the Mendenhall Valley. On July 2, Princess Cruises honored statehood celebrations by sponsoring a lunch on board the Coral Princess.
On July 3, the committee sponsored a free community picnic and another sock hop with the Diamonds. On July 4, the committee co-sponsored the 49 star flag raising ceremony at the Juneau-Douglas City Museum and worked with the Fourth of July parade committee to encourage 50 years of statehood themes for parade floats.
Capital City Celebrations also came forward with funds to help the Juneau Chamber of Commerce sponsor the First Annual Governor's Capital City Picnic in August.
Legacy projects include co-sponsorship of a commemorative bench carved by Tlingit artist Doug Chilton; shipping and placement of a commemorative sculpture gifted to the city of Juneau by the Anchorage 50th Anniversary Committee, Light of the North at the Juneau airport; permanent installment of the anniversary panels at the University of Alaska Southeast Campus, and a donation of 50th anniversary of statehood archival material collected by the committee over the past two years to the Juneau-Douglas City Museum for permanent care.
Additionally, the Capital City Celebrations Committee awarded the Juneau History Grant Fund $15,000 to promote Juneau history and research projects in the community. The Juneau History Grant Fund was established in 1980 with residual funds by the centennial committee in order to promote Juneau history and Juneau History research in our community. More information about the History Grant committee and their application deadlines can be found at www.juneau.org/parkrec/museum.