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100th anniversary of Alaska Governor's mansion celebrated in Juneau
Published: 12/14/2012 14:38:00
This past Tuesday, the Governor's mansion opened its doors to Alaskans as part of an annual tradition.

Alaska Governor Sean Parnell told us about the event: "This open house is really our time to open up Alaska's Governor's house, enjoy meeting about 3,500 people as they come through to have cookies and treats and hear some great music from some local artists and musicians."

This year is a special year for the mansion, and the tradition which has been going from the start according to Parnell. "This is the 100th anniversary of the house, and this tradition has occurred for 98 of those 100 years. The open house was put on hold for 2 years during World War II, but this open house tradition has occurred every year now for about 98 years even though this is the 100th anniversary of the house."

It takes a long time to prepare the house for so many visitors says Executive Residence Manager Erika Fagerstrom. "Oh I start planning way back in August, and actually the day after the open house I'm already starting to plan for the next year."

The theme this year is the Polar express.

"Well, I was a teacher for 7 years and I have 4 children and I love the book and we were trying to think of a way to incorporate a subtle theme into the house, but also not impede the traffic flow. And so that story just came into our mind and we decided to just go with it and have a conductor in the conservatory, we bought a Polar Express train, and then we'll be handing out bells to the children as they leave" said Fagestrom.

Over 24,000 baked cookies and about 242 pounds of fudge were prepared for this year's guests. But despite the best efforts of hundreds of kids and adults alike, there are still always leftovers.

First Lady Sandy Parnell told us that the leftovers are distributed to local organizations. "We love making up bit boxes of cookies and taking them around town here to the fire department, JPD, Glory Hole, AWARE shelter; various places around town that might enjoy them" she said.

http://gov.alaska.gov/

By: Mikko Wilson - mikko@kath.tv