Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Alaska Celebrates 50th Anniversary of Statehood

This is going to be the biggest party in Alaska's history, with events all over the state celebrating the 50th birthday of the 49th state.

It was on June 30, 1958 that the U. S. Congress approved statehood for Alaska. The birthday bash begins Friday, June 27 with a free Wynonna Judd concert that is being broadcast around the world. Coined "Operation Gratitude," the show honors Alaska's military and the state of Alaska.

Judd's concert will be held at Alaska's Elmendorf Air Force Base, located just outside Anchorage. Wynonna's sister Naomi Judd, and the Palmetto State Quartet, will also be on hand.

Even without the birthday celebrations, this is a great time of year to visit Alaska. In June and July, just before and after the summer solstice, Alaskans enjoy near-constant daylight, so the concert will be well lit, to say the least.

Alaskans are likely to be celebrating the rest of the year, until January 3, 2009 -- that's the 50th anniversary of the date Statehood was made official, when President Dwight Eisenhower's signature ushered in Alaska as the 49th state, on January 3, 1959. For a full schedule of events, check the special celebration website.