A couple of weeks ago, an announcement for a fundraiser came up in our Hotline program. Stebbins was hosting an event in anticipation of their upcoming potluck, and the Clearlake Fiddlers were going to be playing music on Friday and Saturday nights in the community center. As I read the announcement, I had an on-air epiphany: KNOM should broadcast some recordings of regional fiddle music. Three days later, I was on a plane to Stebbins.
This was my first solo overnight trip outside of Nome, and I was pretty nervous. If you survive the plane ride to the village, there are all kinds of logistics to work out for overnight travel. How do you get from the airport to the school? It’s a weekend – what if no one’s in the school to let you in? How will you even find the fiddling event, and how will you get back into the school once the event is over? What if there’s a storm and you can’t make it back to Nome the next day? I’m a planner, and travel in Western Alaska requires a lot of anxiety-inducing flexibility.
It turns out I had absolutely nothing to worry about. I survived the plane ride, was generously taken from the airport to the school, and was let in immediately. The principal, Pick, gave me a thorough rundown of all the arrangements. Stebbins even has a bed for visitors to sleep in. It was a beautiful day, despite the wind, and the village glittered in the arctic sun.
Toward evening I headed to the Stebbins community center through the windstorm. The fundraiser was so much fun! I had a great time playing peek-a-boo with toddlers, learning about the cost of gasoline for a snowmachiner traveling from Kotlik to Stebbins, listening to foot-stompingly good music, and joining in on some line dancing and cake walking until well after midnight. Thank you to Stebbins for being so incredibly welcoming. I’m really excited to share the Clearlake Fiddlers with the rest of Western Alaska. We’ve got great, diverse music coming out of the region and it’s exciting to be able to bring that music to a wider audience.
The Stebbins potluck and dance festival will be on March 7th and 8th, which is right smack in the middle of Iditarod. I’m sorry I won’t be able to go – it’s all hands on deck at KNOM for the next few weeks – but I’m so glad that I was able to make it to Stebbins for a solo trip at least once. Now, back to race season reporting.