Sunday, September 3, 2017

Greetings (once again) from the Alaska State Fair!

We're celebrating our seventh consecutive year of sharing Matanuska Colony history in the historic Wineck Barn at the Alaska State Fair. Each day throughout the Fair we show our films Alaska Far Away and Where the River Matanuska Flows, as well as vintage newsreels from the early days of the Colony in the 1930s. Since 2014, the Palmer Historical Society has shared the Wineck Barn with us, presenting wonderful displays of historical items from their vast collection of Colony memorabilia. (This year's display honors the Colony's military veterans - it's a must-see.) 
The historic Wineck Barn, right inside the Red Gate at the Alaska State Fair. 

Audiences enjoying a screening of "Alaska Far Away"

Come see the World War II items donated by Colony veterans.

One of the main draws for our visitors, particularly the children, is the models of Colony buildings. These models were built by Colony kids from the Loyer family as part of a float in the Colony's 75th Anniversary parade in 2010. The display includes the Loyer's original colony house and barn (fully decorated inside), a barnyard, canvas tents like the ones the colonists lived in when they arrived in 1935, the Colony's Trading Post, and even the Palmer water tower. 

Many visitors enjoy reading the history of the Colony on our informational display, and browsing through the books and reference materials we have on display. 

But the best part of all is the fact that every single day during the Fair, history walks in the door of the Wineck Barn. People come in to learn about the local history, but also to share their own stories. We love meeting our visitors and swapping stories, and every day in the Barn is a new adventure. 

Come join us!

(Below: On August 28th we celebrated Earl Wineck's 90th birthday in the Wineck Barn. Earl's dad, Ed Wineck, built the barn in 1936. Several Colony families dropped by to wish him a happy birthday, and Earl got up and shared some of his stories about coming to Alaska, and growing up in the barn. It was a very special day.)

Friday, May 19, 2017

You "Like" us! You really "Like" us!

Something fascinating happened this month. Well, WE find it fascinating.

On May 10th we commemorated the 82nd anniversary of the arrival of the first Matanuska colonists in Palmer, Alaska with a post on our Facebook page. We posted a couple of photos, and a link to our trailer. A few people "liked" the post. A few commented. And then a few more. And then more, and more, and more, and....

As of today, 61 people have shared that post, and it has been seen by 3,648 people. Wow! For us, that's the equivalent of going viral.

But wait, there's more. The post we shared one year BEFORE, for the 81st anniversary, suddenly went viral, too. Out of the blue, it has been shared 872 times, reaching over 57,945 people!

What does this mean? Well, in simple terms, of course, Facebook's algorithm is set up so, literally, the more times your post is seen, the more it spreads, and the more people see it. But we think something else is going on.

When we filmed the interviews for Alaska Far Away and Where the River Matanuska Flows, we were interviewing primarily the original colonists (36 of them) and many of the "colony kids." Most of those interviews were filmed in 1994-1997 - over 20 years ago. By now, all of the original colonists are gone, as well as many of the colony kids. But a whole new generation is now discovering our films, and discovering that their families were part of a unique part of our country's history. They are proud that their grandparents, or great-grandparents, or great-great-grandparents, were part of the Matanuska Colony, and they are sharing that pride in the ultimate 21st-century manner - on social media.

We welcome all our new "friends" on Facebook, and encourage you to share this wonderful story with your family and friends. Thanks for "Liking" us!