Palmer Buzz

We’ve been delighted with some serious daily episodes of Palmer Rainbow Ascendancy. Last week there were three evenings…in a row…where nearly full rainbows encompassed and dominated the eastern skyline, stretching from Lazy Mountain to Jim Creek. There were over 600 individual Palmer postings and pictures of these rainbows by various local watchers and admirers.

Rainbow Science—You can read up on the science of rainbows and it is simply “just a basic triangulation of reflected and refracted waterdroplets with the sun shining through them.” According to the literature of “real scientists,” there are 12 types of rainbows. Each flavor is distinctive and changable because of the size of the water droplets and the angle of the sun.

The joyous thing about Palmer Mountain Rainbow Season is that behind that glorious arc of color, is our adored mountainscape. Palmer’s mountain’s profiles are always treasured and revered but to add a full shimmery rainbow is the cherry on the top.

Double It Up—In addition to the nightly Palmer singular rainbow, we were gifted with both a primary (red on the top) and a secondary bow with the colors reversed. Between the two rainbows is this strange dark region, named “Alexander’s band.” We had the inner primary bow and an outer secondary bow, complete with a reversed color scheme. One night Palmer also had a supernumerary bow, which is a really big word for an additional bow. We were lucky; we had twin rainbows several nights in a row and one triplet.

Roy G. Biv—This name is not a familiar Palmer name. But it is an often-used acronymn for the rememberance of the order of rainbow colors: red, orange, yellow, green blue, indigo and violet. The second fainter rainbow is the reverse of these colors.

Rainbow Message—Palmer day dreamers, sky watchers, observers, artists and poets are atune to rainbow messaging. It’s just too darn hard to NOT gaze at a mountain rainbow in total wonder. Our farmers like evening rainbows because it foretells finer weather in the near future. Rainbow religion, symbolism and mythology is plentiful. But summing up our Palmer passion and appreciation for rainbows, we will let William Wordsworth an English poet from early 1800’s speak: “My heart leaps up when I behold a rainbow in the sky.” He is not alone. It feels like a gift and maybe it is.

Palmer Pride Days—Traditionally at this time of year Palmer celebrates an iconic Palmer summer festival—Palmer Pride. This is an annual downtown picnic happening at the Palmer Train Depot, always on the 4th Friday in July. Naturally it is NOT happening this year because of the pandemic. However it is good to recall it’s 30 year history. It was not a political or preachy event. It was always just food, fun and a friendly town. This event was initiated when Palmer was pursuing an All American City award. It’s was kinda old-fashioned and featured darn good grilled hotdogs and amazing farm produce, including big chunks of cabbage. Palmer’s Japanese Sister City program would have a sushi race. Wonderful Palmer’s Janet Kincaid was a force behind this free community event although plenty of sponsors, the city and Chamber helped out too. Sadly, this year there won’t be a band or food or picnic. However later in the year there will be some worthy recognition efforts for citizens, businesses and Palmer area neighbors. And let’s look forward to next year for a big 70th birthday bash celebrating Palmer. Stay safe.

Barbara Hunt is both Palmer writer and artist. She works hard to keep the robust pulse of Palmer, Alaska. She shares the good stuff in the weekly Palmer Alaska Buzz Column in the Mat Su Valley Frontiersman and daily on the Palmer Alaska Buzz Facebook Group. Her “Palmer Buzz Community Calendar” is available at Palmer shops and the Palmer museum. Contact at or text 907.315.3222

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