Palmer Buzz

The new Palmer Crosswalk promises a brand new photo spot. It’s already attracting snap-chatters, instagramers and selfies. It’s just a cool new thing. No, it doesn’t speak to history or Colony farms. No, it isn’t a blue Moose high school mascot for Palmer. No it isn’t a patriotic symbol of national pride.

It is simply colorful and public art—in a functional form. And to many people, this type of simple community improvement says much about our joy and our world. (Photo is an Abbey Road/Palmer photo rendition by Lilly and her friends from Boise, Idaho—who just might have come all the way to Palmer to see the new crosswalk!!) So thank you crosswalk creators and supporters. You have many appreciative fans.

Colorful Community Crosswalk is a Beauty—Everyone is talking about it. It’s a simple crosswalk connecting the little park pavilion to the museum. But it is BEAUTIFUL. And it is a heck more than a bit of paint on pavement (although some mean-spirited folks may say it is only that.) This arty crosswalk is the first of its kind in Palmer. There was more than a bit of discussion about it and not all of it was good. But the citizens, who persevered, despite confusion and red tape, managed to make a truly wonderful addition to Palmer.

Toss your hat in the air for crosswalk champions Heather Kelley, her mom, Linda, along with Jan Newman and Jill Valerius. They thought it up, planned it, designed it, organized it and pulled it off, with a bit of help. And what a gift!

The completion announcement quickly went viral on Sunday evening on the Palmer Alaska Buzz; hundreds and hundreds of joyful reactions greeted the new sidewalk art. Do some have concerns about drivers recognizing it as a colorful street crosswalk? Perhaps, however there are extra huge yellow SAFETY signs alerting people to the pedestrian safety path. (Let’s see if vehicle drivers can figure it out.)

“Lilacs Rule”—Palmer is lilac-ville. On every street, and in nearly every yard lives a luscious lilac tree. Clever Laura Sampson says Palmer should claim credit to the “Lilac Capital of Alaska.” And I agree. You can smell the trees before you even see them. A sight impaired person would know before most, that a lilac tree is within a 100 foot range. The aroma is both fragile and heady. The colors include whites, pale pinks, deep pinks, magenta, violet, indigo and purples.

Solstice in Palmer—This is the best time of year, without a doubt. Bedtimes are chaos because of the light. And celebrating the endless days and short-lived nights are part of the season. It’s going to be a great Palmer weekend.

Construction, Shrub brushing and Tree Clearing—These three are the necessary evils for our community to function for electricity, power, and vehicular and pedestrian transport. We all whine about the construction…but we also love sweet new pavement. We lament the downing of corridor trees in right-of-ways, but we appreciate keeping the power on. We love the corner bushes of flowering shrubs but we grumble when we can’t see if traffic is coming at the same corner. Is it all or nothing in these Palmer situations? Construction can be planned well and frankly the State’s road construction plans are syncing pretty well, given the size of the project. Shrub brushing could be done more selectively it seems and perhaps efficiency has won out over all else. Tree clearing is definitely not an “all or nothing” choice. Continual pruning and maintenance can do what an all-out cut can do—in most cases.

Palmer’s First Drag Queen Bingo Show—It was crazy wonderful. The Palmer Downtown Deli was filled to capacity with happy folks on Monday night. It was an evening of jokes, good food, laughter, a bit of dancing, and singing. Bingo is really fun when you have good friends sitting around wearing boas and tiaras. Folks dressed up in crazy outfits and costumes and looked marvelous. This was not Bingo for money prizes. It was bingo for fun and fun was had by all. Daphne the wonderful Drag Queen performed for many years at Mad Myrna’s in Anchorage. And Daphne did her thing well in Palmer too.

Some folks have wondered aloud if Palmer is ready for this. I can only say that the place was entirely joyful. There was no hate speech. There was laughter and happiness. No one was thrown out for fighting or disturbances. In fact, it was probably safer than a bar down the street! Yes, and judging from the crowd, Palmer is definitely ready for this safe and fun entertainment. Make reservations for the next show in July….because this healthy fun could be addictive.

Palmer’s Full Strawberry Moon?—It was two nights ago and it looked a bit peaked. The Farmer’s Almanac claims it is a strawberry moon because (in normal climates) strawberries are ripe. But not in Palmer, quite yet. Frankly, the moon looked a bit lilac and perhaps in Palmer we should rename the June moon as the full Lilac moon. This is our last full moon of Spring and it is tough to see anyways.

Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She shares the good stuff on the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz in the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group. Contact at

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