Free summer events offer fun without denting wallets

School is out, summer is in, and the youthful segment of Anchorage’s population is suddenly left with an excess amount of time on their hands and no idea what to do with it. Thankfully, there are hundreds of free and fun opportunities to get out of the house and enjoy the fresh summer air before school drags everyone back to their dusty tomes and textbooks.

For free entertainment over the weekend, the Anchorage Market sets up in downtown Anchorage on Saturdays and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. There are almost always quality live musicians performing for no reward more expensive than the sound of applause. Besides the free concert, the market offers a wide array of merchandise, art and food to sample, and entry is free.

The Anchorage Market itself is basically a weekend-only flea market set up off of 3rd Avenue, between C and E streets. Hundreds of tents and stalls set up where local storeowners showcase and sell their merchandise. Bands and solo musicians always turn up to entertain the crowds and get noticed.

With the Anchorage Market taking up the weekend, several events hold their festivities during the week. Many people are familiar with First Friday and the massive art walk it has transformed into. With over 80 stops on the route, it promises to fill up anyone’s Friday night with ease, and viewing the art is completely free of charge for everyone.

The First Friday Art Walk is a cross-town art show that has many stores across the downtown and midtown area setting up art galleries for people to view as they stroll from stop to stop. Stores use it as a chance to increase business with sales, advertising and specials on First Friday, but viewing the art is never charged. Some of the major stops include the 5th Avenue Mall, Title Wave Books, Barnes and Noble, and Artwork Galleries and Glass Studios.

Now that summer is here, though, several places are trying to bring in fresh entertainment. UAA’s Fine Arts Building will host Michael Patrick MacDonald, who grew up in South Boston and dealt with the Irish mafia, among other challenges. He will give a lecture on his experiences on June 4, at 7:30 p.m. in ARTS Room 150, free of charge.

That kind of entertainment is great for filling up a person’s night, but it leaves room for things to do during the weekdays. UAA has that opening covered with all sorts of events ranging from barbeques to concerts to art shows. UAA’s student gallery will be running shows all summer with free food at opening receptions and artistic masterpieces available for viewing. The first show starts June 19 and ends July 3, with the second one starting July 10 and ending July 24; the final summer show will run from July 31 to Aug. 14.

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All these events are just a few of the things that students can look to for entertainment this summer. With the season just beginning, now’s the time to get out of the house and make the most of it.