Winter Carnival Fun in Fairbanks, Alaska

Photo by Jade Frank

Winter rocks in Fairbanks, Alaska. Where else can you experience a winter celebration with the world’s oldest dog-sled race and marvel at the aurora borealis to top it all off?

In Fairbanks, March is when it all comes together. Since 1934, festivities have taken place throughout the month as part of Winter Carnival. This event showcases everything that makes Fairbanks a distinctive destination and parades it on the world stage. The stars of one of the carnival’s grand spectacles are panting, straining, competitive sled dogs that are in top form in the GCI Open North American Championship (ONAC).

Taking place in mid-March, the three-day ONAC attracts mushing teams and their canines from all over the world for a chance to win this coveted title. With several spots to watch the race, the ONAC is one of the most spectator-friendly dog-sled races in existence. This hallmark race is hosted by the Alaska Dog Mushers Association.

If you’re inspired by the race, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to drive your own mushing team, or at least ride along as a passenger, with one of the dog-sledding tour operators in Fairbanks. A northern-lights sledding trek might be just the ticket.

To plan your Fairbanks Winter Carnival trip, go to