Juneau will have a new way of celebrating Alaska Day on Thursday. Planners hope this will be an annual event as part of Alaska Democracy Week.
Alaska Day celebrates the anniversary of the Oct. 18, 1867, formal transfer of the territory from Russian to American ownership.
The new celebration features tours of the Capitol focusing on the building's history, legislative offices and committee rooms. Students and others are invited to see where laws are made and changed. Tours will run on the hour and half-hour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. beginning in the front lobby at Third and Main streets.
Open House at the Capitol is sponsored by the Alaska Committee and the Alaska Democracy Project. The project was begun over the summer by Lt. Gov. Fran Ulmer to improve civics education and to increase the participation of youths in experiences that will deepen their interest in and understanding of citizenship. Ulmer will speak in classrooms in Juneau, Anchorage and Sitka, said Marjorie Menzi of the state Department of Education.
Other activities planned for the week include a voter registration drive at the University of Alaska Southeast.
The celebration includes a statewide Local Government Day on Tuesday sponsored by the Alaska Municipal League. Mayors and assembly members will talk with students and adults about their roles in city government.
Part of the celebration is a statewide essay contest for sixth graders on the theme "If I were mayor, I would ..."
Sixth-graders are invited to write an essay of 250 words or less. Prizes are U.S. savings bonds, said Annie McIlvain of the municipal league. For details about the essay contest, see www.akmunileague.org, or call 586-1325.
Ann Chandonnet can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.