At Juneau Gold Rush Days, we celebrate the past, present and future of mining in Alaska!
Nearly three decades ago, JP Tangen, John Sandor and Roger Griffin were looking for a way to help educate the public about two major industries in the Juneau community. They reached out to Jerry Harmon and Jim Wilcox, and together they came up with the concept for Juneau Gold Rush Days – a two-day celebration to pay homage to mining and logging, two industries that helped shape Alaska.
Juneau Gold Rush Days is a free, action-packed celebration consisting of local fair foods, booths of arts and crafts, and activities for the children. Contestants compete in mining specific events such as jackleg drilling, spike driving, and hand mucking, and logging events, like axe throwing, speed climbing, hand bucking, and log rolling.
Mining education is an important aspect of Coeur Alaska’s relationship with the Juneau community. Coeur is a large supporter of Juneau Gold Rush Days providing equipment, staff, and monetary donations to the event each year.
Gold Rush Days connects Juneau’s past to its present and future. While the logging industry has decreased in Juneau, the mining industry has remained. In fact, together Coeur Alaska Kensington Mine and Hecla Greens Creek are responsible for over 800 jobs. That’s a huge impact for this region.
Like the mining industry, Gold Rush Days is a family affair. Gold Rush Days is a family-friendly event – where families don't just spectate, but compete! Several events had mother vs daughter, in-law vs in-law, sister vs sister, etc. Gold Rush Days is a great way to instill family values while learning about the significance of mining and logging in Juneau.
Gold Rush Days brings people together. Gold Rush Days helps unite community members with advocates of the mining industry. It also allows employees from the two major mine sites in Juneau, Kensington and Greens Creek, to connect and stir up some healthy competition. Gold Rush Days is a fun experience for summer tourists to stumble across. The more opportunity to educate people on the positive aspects of mining, the better. It may be a competition but ultimately, everyone is there to have fun.
Passionate people make Gold Rush Days successful. Gold Rush Days wouldn’t be as robust an experience without the passionate, hard-working volunteers, contestants, and community members.
Every group plays a specific role throughout the celebration, and it’s amazing to see the end result. If you happen to find yourself in Juneau while Gold Rush Days is occurring, you must make it a point to drop by and experience this wonderful event. Who knows, you may just take home a win in axe throwing!
Middle Photo: A young competitor participating in Children's Hand Mucking
Bottom Photo: Eddie Petrie, Coeur Alaska employee, competing on the jackleg drill