Mat-Su residents packed the streets of downtown Palmer this past weekend to celebrate Colony Days in honor of the 203 original farming families that carved out an agricultural community back in 1935.

People line the streets of downtown Palmer during the Colony Days parade on June 11.

The annual event was mired in controversy earlier this year when the Palmer Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Mat-Su Health Foundation in a failed attempt to rebrand the event to the “Braided River Festival” as a way to downplay the colonists’ historic role in the community.

With the controversy behind, Mat-Su residents flocked to Palmer for games, homegrown food, a Harvest Olympics, a car show, craft fairs, live music, reindeer petting, tractor pulls, a downtown parade and much more.

There were no signs of protest against the use of “Colony” in the event’s title, and a number of politicians and candidates were seen marching in the popular parade, including Sarah Palin, Nick Begich, Kelly Tshibaka, Sen. Shelley Hughes, Rep. DeLena Johnson, former Gov. Bill Walker, gubernatorial candidate and Kenai Mayor Charlie Pierce and many others.

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Thousands turn out to celebrate ‘Colony Days’ in Palmer

Joel Davidson
Joel is Editor-in-Chief of the Alaska Watchman. Joel is an award winning journalist and has been reporting for over 24 years, He is a proud father of 8 children, and lives in Palmer, Alaska.


  • Neil DeWitt says:

    Thank you for reporting and writing this article. You could of left out former governor Walker but I understand not to show prejudice you had to put him in.

    It’s great to see all the people that turned out for the parade. Nice to see at least some of the people are getting back to normal.

  • Proud Alaskan says:

    There were no signs of protest against the use of “Colony” in the event’s title,
    Because they lost and went home to there cry room with there tails between there legs.
    We still need to stand up and keep your guard up