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Summerof 79 ways to spend 79 days

JJune 17, 17 2012

Fun


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Summer of Fun

June 17, 2012


79 WAYS 79DAYS TO SPEND

FROM SAMPLING GREAT LOCAL MICROBREWS TO HIKING UP HATCHER PASS, HERE’S YOUR DAILY FIX FOR VALLEY SUMMER FUN including the Colony House, Palmer Museum, Dorothy Page Museum and Wasilla’s old town site.

June

Take in some fine local cuisine at The Grape Tap in Wasilla and enjoy 26 a beautiful assortment of fine Washington

Show Dad some home-grown Father’s Day love with a fine, hand-crafted brew 17 and a 100 percent organic cotton T-shirt from

wines with Anchorage’s newest wine boutique, UnWINEd. Owner and winemaker Don Townshend will host an evening of exclusive wine tasting and an exploration of wines from Washington. Tickets are $35. Call The Grape Tap at 376-8466.

Arkose Brewery in Palmer. Gift cards are also available.

Visit Iditarod Headquarters on KnikGoose Bay Road. Take a dogsled ride, 18 then enjoy the richness of race history as you

Take me out to the ballgame! Frontiersman night at the Mat-Su 27 Miners has the Valley’s favorite local newspaper

tour the museum.

Enjoy a round of golf at Palmer Golf Course. With spectacular views of 19 Pioneer Peak, the Matanuska River and Knik

hosting a Military Appreciation pregame show before the 7 p.m. game against the Anchorage Glacier Pilots. Lots of giveaways and some great baseball.

Glacier, the course is one of the most scenic settings in the world to play golf. Best of all, Tuesdays all summer is Ladies Day, with half off regular greens fees all day for women.

The American Society of Civil Engineers Mat-Su Branch’s 20 Scholarship Fundraiser Golf Tournament begins at 12:30 p.m. at Settlers Bay Golf Course. The tournament is a scramble format. Registration is $75 per person and includes the 18-hole greens fee, golf cart, awards and a buffet dinner afterward. Funds raised support the organization’s scholarship fund. For more information, contact Mike at (907) 745-9811.

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Enjoy the beauty of the Mat-Su from the air. Several local flightseeing services book regular tours around the area. See the grandeur of the local mountains and glaciers up close.

June 17, 2012

ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman file photo

June 23 — Sailing with the Alaska Sailing Club on Big Lake. Two words: Friday Fling! In its 11th year, the weekly event in downtown 22 Palmer runs weekly through Aug. 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Come and enjoy quality locally grown produce, crafts and entertainment. Alaska Sailing Club in Big Lake will participate in the Summer Sailstice, 23 a worldwide celebration of sailing aimed at boosting awareness and participation in the sailing lifestyle. For more information about Alaska Sailing Club, visit aksailclub.com, or contact events chairman Teri Stanbro at (907)

522-4440, or at tstanbro@gci.net. To sign up to participate in Summer Sailstice, visit summersailstice.com. Burgers to go from Turner’s Corner Tesoro, then a leisurely drive up and 24 over Hatcher Pass. Watch for hang gliders and bald eagles riding updrafts, and see how many species of wildlife you can identify in our own backyard wilderness. more about the history of the area with a tour of local museums, 25Learn

Summer of Fun

Take a drive up the Glenn Highway. Visit and hike on and around 28 Matanuska Glacier. Have lunch or dinner at Sheep Mountain Lodge. Be sure to save room for the fabulous pie. Try and outrun the mosquitoes on a mountain bike ride over the 29 Crevasse-Moraine Trails near Palmer. The impressive system features an extensive network of rolling trails winding over wooded, glacially sculpted terrain with views of the Talkeetna and Chugach mountains. Most trails are 8- to 16-foot-wide double-track and have connections to adjoining trail systems in through Matanuska Lake State Park and the Experimental Farm, so there is plenty of fun for all skill levels.

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The Matanuska Lakes Recreation Area will be the site for the Tri the 30 Trails Triathlon, which begins at 9 a.m. Come

show off your fitness, or cheer on competitors through an 800-meter lake swim, 13-mile mountain bike ride and 4-mile run through Alaska’s great outdoors. For more information or to register, visit trithetrails.com.

July

Giddyap to Talkeetna for horseback fun with Talkeetna Horses. Whether you choose a 1one-hour ride or a half-day ride, you’ll relax on a quiet wooded trail. For a real treat, choose the dinner ride, which includes a hearty rib-eye steak dinner.

For all your Fourth of July grilling needs, visit Mat Valley Meats. Whether you’re 2 looking for the perfect rib-eye steak, reindeer hotdogs, baby-back ribs or homemade jalapeño bratwurst, Mat Valley Meats, located on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway, is the place to go for the finest assortment of Alaska-raised meat products.

Take in the scenic beauty and friendly atmosphere of downtown Palmer. Grab 3 a cup of coffee at Vagabond Blues, or a book

at Fireside Books, and walk over to the visitor center and enjoy the flower garden there.

Enjoy a longstanding Valley tradition — Wasilla’s July 4 Parade and Mayor’s Picnic. 4 The route has changed slightly this year. The

parade steps off from Iditapark at 11 a.m. and proceeds on Nelson toward Lucille. The route then goes right on Lucille, and left on Herning. From there, it follows the traditional “loop” to Boundary, then back up Swanson to the parking lot at Valley Performing Arts. The Mayor’s Picnic begins right after the parade in Iditapark in downtown Wasilla.

ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman file photo

July 4 — City of Wasilla Fourth of July Parade and Mayor’s Picnic. You ain’t seen Denali ’til you’ve seen it Visit the Musk-Ox Farm. Located in the from the air. Book a flightseeing tour Butte region east of Palmer, the historic 5 6 with an air taxi in Talkeenta and see the rugged 1930s-era Colony farm offers a close-up expebeauty of North America’s highest peak up close. Some trips offer the option of a glacier landing on the flank of the mountain.

rience with magnificent Ice Age mammals. Guided tours, engaging exhibits, a gift shop featuring items made from qiviut, the wool from musk oxen. Willow Running Club will host the Hatcher Pass Marathon and Marathon Relay begin7 ning at 8 a.m., at Shirley Towne Road, near Mile 43.25 Willow Fishhook Road. The race course follows Willow Fishhook Road over the pass to finish near Independence Mine State Park, and features a cumulative elevation gain of almost 4,000 feet. The first 25 miles will be relentless uphill, followed by a steep 1-plus-mile descent to the finish line. Runners may register online for the full marathon, or a three-person relay, at ultrasignup.com. Registration on race day is also available. For more information, visit willowraceseries.com. Cost is $40 in advance, $50 on race day.

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around Finger Lake in the evening sun and practice your birdcalls. Finger 8Kayak

Summer of Fun

Lake State Recreation Site is located at Mile 0.7 Bogard Road. There are 36 campsites, 10 picnic sites and a boat launch to access the great fishing. Take in a movie at the Valley Cinema. With 12 screens and matinees beginning 9 at midday, there’s always something showing for every taste. Stadium seating in high-back rocking chairs enhances the movie-going experience. Located in Wasilla, near Wal-Mart. Big Lake = Big Fun. Whether you favor lounging shoreside in the sun or 10 enjoying the array of watersports options on the lake, Big Lake is the place for you. For a special treat, visit Billi Perkins’ floating coffee stand, Coffee Port Espresso, off the south side of Long Island. Mention the Frontiersman and get halfprice hot cocoa for the kids. Stock up on the freshest locally grown produce every Wednesday at the Wasilla 11 Farmers’ Market, located on the Old Townsite behind the library. The market runs 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekly, into September.

June 17, 2012


Hike the Scout Ridge Loop Trail and poke around the Palmer Hay Flats. The 12 trail begins at the kiosk on the edge of the upper

Spectacular Views! Great Fishing!

parking lot, accessible from Hayfield Road. A map of the area can be found at palmerhayflats. org/maps/TRAIL-MAP-SCOUT-RIDGELOOP.pdf. According to palmerhayflats.org, the woodland bluff above Cottonwood Creek is a great place to enjoy a quiet walk in the woods. The trail is an easy 1.25-mile loop under a canopy of old birch and cottonwood that fills with birdsong as spring becomes summer. The trail passes through the ancient remains of an Athabaskan settlement. A bonus for this recently improved trail is the new Scout Ridge Overlook, which provides partial shelter, a resting bench and a spectacular view.

On the shores of Beautiful Matanuska Lake

festivities begin at 2 p.m. with a shotgun start. Entry fee is $120 per person, which includes greens fee, golf cart and drink cart usage. A steak barbecue will be held following the tournament. For those who aren’t golfing, a dinner-only reservation can be made for $45 per person.

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Annual Summer Family Fun Day on Reflections Lake. Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats sponsors a full day of summer fun at Reflections Lake in the Palmer Hay Flats

ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman file photo

July 15 — Enjoy four-wheeling fun. State Game Refuge. Canoes, kayaks and rafts provided by Mat-Su Borough Parks and Recreation, REI and APH members/supporters. There will be diver demonstrations by the borough’s Water Rescue Team, retriever dog demonstrations, woodland walks along the river and around the lake, and scenic overlook photo opportunities. Bring a picnic and enjoy cookies and lemonade provided by Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats.

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Hitch up the trailer and head over to the Knik River for some four-wheeling 15 fun up the Knik River Valley, one of the premier

four-wheeler destinations in Southcentral Alaska. For those without ATVs of their own, fully provisioned half- and full-day tours are available from Alaska All Terrain Tours. Summer is short. Get out and enjoy it.

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a unique dining atmosphere after a real Alaska golf experience. Check out Three Rivers Fly and Tackle in Wasilla for all of your summer fishing 17 needs. The shop also offers classes in fly-tying and custom rod-building.

Golf a round at Settlers Bay, where two play for the price one every Tuesday and Thursday all summer. Nestled in the heart of Alaska’s only residential golf community, this 18-hole championship course offers great views of the Chugach Mountain Range. An onsite full-service restaurant, The Albatross, provides

Get Krazy Moose subs, hangout in the sun and feed the ducks at Carter Park on 18 Lake Lucille. Visit Independence Mine in Hatcher Pass. Explore the alpine remnants of the 19 area’s mining heritage. Afterward, enjoy dinner at Hatcher Pass Lodge.

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July 6 — The Musk Ox Farm in the Butte.

CELEBRATE THE SUMMER SOLSTICE on the patio of the Fancy Moose located at the Millennium Alaskan Hotel on Spenard Road in Anchorage

Saturday June 23rd: 4:00pm – Till the sun “goes down”! Join 101.3 KGOT and KCB as they kick off the Solstice Celebration.

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Chillin’ and Grillin’ on the Lakeside, Entertainment by Grits & Gravy and Diana”Z”

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Summer of Fun

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June 17, 2012


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Summer of Fun

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a Jet-Ski and bounce around the for gold in the Little Susitna River, which runs Hike Bodenburg Butte. The local waves on Wasilla Lake. beside the trail for most of its eight-mile length. 26landmark offers two trailheads, one 20Rent on borough property on the north side, and the other on private property on the south side. It Fly-fish the Little Su from the banks Take on the Seward’s Folly chalis about 1.5 miles to the top along either route, near Houston. Finish the day with lenge at West Rib Pub and CafĂŠ in 21 24 although the south trail access is steeper. Great dinner at Houston Lodge. Talkeetna. Featured on Travel Channel’s “Man

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Rent a kayak and paddle around Kepler-Bradley Lakes. Located at Glenn Highway Mile 38, the 349-acre park is an excellent picnic and day-use spot. The lakes are stocked with rainbow trout and grayling, so bring the fishing gear.

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Hike or Mountain Bike Mint Glacier Trail in Hatcher Pass. Stop and pan

vs. Food,� it’s billed as the biggest burger in Alaska. It’s a 5-pound monster made with two caribou burgers, 12 slices of bacon, grilled ham, 12 slices of cheese and all the fixings smothered in the pub’s signature “Fat Ass� sauce.

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Enjoy lunch or dinner on the deck at Rumrunner’s in Wasilla. Perched above Wasilla Lake, the deck is the perfect place to watch boaters and take in the scenery.

views from the top. The annual Palmer Pride Picnic takes to the lawn around the Palmer Railroad 27 Depot from 4 to 6 p.m. Come enjoy this free picnic hosted by Palmer businesses and the city of Palmer, which features Palmer Pride hotdogs, farm-fresh veggies, live music and entertainment, and recognition of the Citizen of the Year. Second annual Run for the Refuge. 28 Take part in the 5-K, 10-K or Kids Dash races sponsored by Alaskans for Palmer Hay Flats. The race course winds through the woods along Scout Ridge Trail. The races begin at 9:30 a.m., with race-day registration available starting at 8:30 a.m. at the trailhead, off Hayfield Road.

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Take the family to RW’s Hamburger House for dinner. Located at Mile 2 29 Palmer-Wasilla Highway, this longtime local

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Appreciation Day at Hermon Brothers Field. Game time is 6 p.m. Take the kids or grandkids to Little Miller’s for ice cream. With three loca31 tions, Little Miller’s fine soft-serve ice cream is never far from home.

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ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman file photo

July 22 — Kayak and paddle around Kepler-Bradley Lakes.

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Summer of Fun

June 17, 2012


August

your adrenaline fix with a whitewater raft adventure on the Matanuska River. Nova 1RiverGet Runners in Chickaloon offers twice-daily four-hour trips through the class 3 and 4 rapids of the river that flows out of Matanuska Glacier.

Visit the Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry. Kids of all ages will enjoy 2 the vintage craft on display at the museum, which was established to give a home to the transportation and industrial remnants of our state’s history and tell the stories of the people and machines that opened Alaska to exploration and growth. The museum, at Mile 47 Parks Highway, is open seven days a week all summer.

Enjoy a frosty cold, locally crafted beer at Last Frontier Brewing Co. Buy a few to 3 go, too. Located at the corner of Parks Highway

and Boundary Street in Wasilla, the brewpub also features a full menu of bistro faves and house creations.

Reserve an Alaska State Parks public-use cabin on Nancy Lake and fish for dinner 4 while plying the extensive canoe trail system.

More information on cabins and canoe rentals can be found at http://dnr.alaska.gov/parks/ cabins/matsu.htm#nlsra. A map of the Nancy Lake canoe trails can be found at http://dnr. alaska.gov/parks/aktrails/ats/matsu/nanclk.htm.

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Tour the Williams Reindeer Farm. Open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., the farm is home to 150 reindeer, 35 elk, 13 horses, two bull moose and one bison. In addition to an up-close-and-personal encounter with each animal, the farm offers a number of enjoyable Alaska activities, including hiking trails, scavenger hunts and horseback rides. Admission is $7, or $5 for kids ages 3-11. Kids younger than 3 are free.

Grab your Frisbee and try your hand at a round of disc golf on the grounds of the 6 Alcantra Sports Complex and Trail System in

Wasilla. The tightly wooded 1,800-foot course offers nine holes that can be played through twice for a full 18.

Take advantage of the Valley’s excellent late summer fishing by booking a Deshka River 7 fishing charter.

Stretch your legs with a hike up Lazy Mountain. A new, less strenuous trail up 8 the lower part of the mountain makes the 2.5-

to 3-mile trek to the top much more inviting.

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Take a ride on Alaska Live Steamers. The 7.5-inch gauge railroad is scheduled to reopen July 7 at its new site on West Riley Avenue in Wasilla.

June 17, 2012

ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman file photo

Aug. 2 — Museum of Alaska Transportation and Industry.

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Soak up the grandeur of Knik Glacier and the Chugach Mountains with a Knik Glacier Tours boat ride up the Knik River. At more than 28 miles long and 5 miles across, Knik Glacier is one of Southcentral Alaska’s greatest rivers of ice. A unique microclimate or “rain shadow” in the area has created a truly diverse ecosystem that includes northern desert surrounded by snow-covered peaks, hanging glaciers and waterfalls.

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Get your motor running … Head out on the highway … to Alaska Raceway Park for some hot summer motorsports action. Alaska Raceway Park offers drag racing action all summer in the Butte region. Everything from junior dragsters and snowmachines, to motorcycles, top fuel funny cars and nitro-altereds, if speed is your thing, head on over to the Butte for weekend events through Labor Day.

Mid-August is the start of berry-picking time, and there’s no better place than 12 Hatcher Pass for blueberries. Grab a bucket and get picking! the day shopping. Back-toschool is just around the corner, and 13Spend

everything families need to get their young scholars off on the right foot can be found at the assortment of retail stores around the Valley.

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Fish for silver salmon at the Eklutna Tailrace. Ample free parking at this close-to-home hotspot at Mile 3.8 Old Glenn Highway makes it a popular fishing spot every summer.

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Don’t let the summer slip away without enjoying dinner, drinks and the great views on the deck at Settlers Bay Restaurant. Located at Mile 7 Kink-Goose Bay Road, Settlers Bay Lodge opens for dinner every day at 4 p.m.

Celebrate Houston-style with the annual Founders Day festivities in central 18 Houston. The fun starts at 8 a.m. and goes ’til 10 p.m. Lots of activities for the whole family. Fireworks close the celebration. Load up the fridge with fresh produce you pick yourself at Pioneer Peak Farm 19 in the Butte. Run by the Pyrah family for more than three decades, Pioneer Peak Farm is the largest U-pick operation in the state. From artichokes to zucchini, the Pyrahs offer an impressive array of locally grown veggies at a fraction of the supermarket cost. Consult the farm’s website, pppfarm.net, for a list of what is currently available.

First day of school. Parents can celeRide the go-carts at Susitna Speedway brate with a quiet lunch at Turkey Red on the Palmer-Wasilla Highway. 16 20 Café in downtown Palmer. Creative dishes, made from fresh ingredients and locally grown Check out the new supply of gear for produce, are what make Turkey Red menu the fall hunting season at Sportsman’s 21 sparkle. Warehouse in Wasilla. Hard to believe, but the high school footDrive to Summit Lake at the top of ball season is already in its second week Hatcher Pass and hike the 1.25-mile 17 22 at this point. Colony High will unveil its new April Bowl Trail. Located 3,886 feet above sea artificial turf field in a 7:30 p.m. kickoff against the visiting Kenai Kardinals.

Summer of Fun

level, the alpine landscape at Summit Lake is stunning.

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ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman file photo

Sept. 3 — Revel in the fall colors with a drive up the Glenn Highway to Lake Louise, or other stunning locales along the National Scenic Byway north of Palmer.

Get your face painted at opening day of the Alaska State Fair, which features all the usual fair favorites 23 and a 7 p.m. concert by Creed. Concert tickets are $35 and $60, and do not include admission to the fair.

Palmer’s Moose Park and Wasilla’s Wonderland Park offer playground fun for the younger set. Wonderland 24 Park has adjoining tennis, basketball and volleyball courts, as

well as a bike trail, skate park and BMX course, so there’s fun for all ages.

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Camp at Byers Lake in Denali State Park. Located at Mile 147 Parks Highway, the campground has 73 campsites and a boat launch. The area offers easy access to great trails and unparalleled views of Mt. McKinley.

1970s-80s rock superstars Styx bring their retro sound to the Borealis Theatre at the Alaska State Fair. The 26 concert begins at 6 p.m. Tickets are $40 and $65, and do not include admission to the fair.

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Enjoy a draft beer and some German cuisine at Schwabenhof in Wasilla. The hilltop restaurant on the

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Palmer Wasilla Highway boasts some fine views from its deck. Spend a day in Talkeetna. Have the best breakfast ever at the Talkeetna Roadhouse. Stroll through the shops 28 downtown and walk along the Talkeetna River. Take an afternoon jet boat tour and look for bears. Take in the unique contemporary sound of The Avett Brothers in their 7 p.m. show at the Alaska State Fair’s 29 Borealis Theatre. Tickets are $35 and $50, and do not include admission to the fair.

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Take the dogs for a walk around Reflections Lake. Reflections Lake is a small, beautiful lake within the Palmer Hay Flats State Game Refuge, along the Glenn Highway at Mile 31.5, Knik River Access exit. It is home to many nesting migratory birds during spring and summer. A boardwalk trail takes you around the lake, and a bridge over the slough makes it a complete circle. It is quiet and very scenic.

neon bowling at North Bowl, 3250 E. Palmer Wasilla Highway in Wasilla. 31Go

Summer of Fun

september the kids unwind with an afternoon of fun and exercise at Bouncin’ Bears. 1Help Revel in the beauty of changing foliage with a drive up the Glenn Highway to Lake Louise. See the golden stands of 2 aspen and birch on hillsides along the Matanuska River, and the rich, earthy reds of tundra flora in Eureka Pass. Don’t forget the camera. Last chance for Aunt Linda’s Funnel Cakes, gigantic turkey legs, fried veggies and all the other fabulous fair food as 3 the Alaska State Fair closes down for another year. The fair’s last day features fireworks and a 3 p.m. concert by Hot Chelle Rae. Concert tickets are $20 and $45, which does not include admission to the fair.

June 17, 2012


Aug. 23 — Don’t forget to head over to the Alaska State Fair in Palmer. ROBERT DeBERRY/ Frontiersman file photo

Aug. 9 — Take the kids on a ride with Alaska Live Steamers. ROBERT DeBERRY/ Frontiersman file photo

ROBERT DeBERRY/Frontiersman file photo

Aug. 19 — Enjoy all the fresh produce you can pick at Pioneer Peak Farm.

June 17, 2012

Summer of Fun

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Summer of Fun

June 17, 2012

Summer Fun  

79 ways to spend 79 days

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