Residents pack downtown Palmer during the 2022 Colony Days Parade.

The original Palmer colonists have a special place in the heart of Mat-Su residents, who are celebrating the 89th anniversary of the year when 203 original farming families carved out an agricultural community in 1935.

From June 7-9 Palmer will be packed for Colony Day festivities that include games, races, craft fairs, horse drawn carriage rides, tractor pulls, a chili cook off, rhubarb delights, car shows, live music and the popular downtown parade.

The celebration dates back to the 1930s to mark the successful establishment of an agricultural outpost in Southcentral Alaska. The colony was part of a New Deal project that brought families to the Mat-Su Valley to carve out a unique and enduring farming outpost.

This year’s celebration is two years removed from a highly controversial and ultimately failed attempt to rebrand the annual celebration to the “Braided River Festival,” a plot hatched by several members of the Palmer Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Mat-Su Health Foundation. The goal of the rebrand was to eliminate the word “colony” and downplay the colonists historic and enduring role in the community.

Colony Days kicked off on Friday, June 7. The Saturday parade starts at 11 a.m., winding its way through downtown showcasing the unique flavor of the historic farming community. Those looking for fresh local produce will have plenty of options, along with a variety of other food and locally made Alaskan crafts.

This year’s theme is “Harvest of Gold.” For more information, including a rundown of events, times and locations, click here.

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Mat-Su kicks off 3-day celebration of 1935 arrival of agricultural colonists

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.


  • Steve Peterson says:

    Colonists, yes! Use that title proudly!

  • George D says:

    This is when the Great liberal, Saint FDR, sent white people (on welfare) up here to take Native American land, destroy the wildlife & claim it for themselves. He did this so the AK Territory would be Democratic Blue when Statehood was pushed and it worked. He didn’t want Independent thinking miners, trappers & businessmen to dominate his “new” State. “The (communist) Party” wanted their own, shipped in, welfare people here to turn AK Blue. Those colonists didn’t build their own homes, FDR had carpenters shipped up for that, then sent home. It irritated working Alaskans at the time, as they could not get a job on this huge project in their own state. Nice job Dems, as you kill jobs here today and drive out working people, you are finally going to get your FDR state back. You can have it …..imo.

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