The sled dog races were the big draw for the first day of Fur Rendezvous. It was also the first chance for people to show off their finest furs.

“I’m wearing my beaver boots, as well as seal and moose yoyos,” said Anchorage resident Melanie SanAngelo, who turned the yoyos into rubber band holders for her pig tails.

Seal, fox, rabbit, you’ll find it all on Fourth Avenue.

Portland resident Gioia Della Rosa got to show off her 30-year-old Italian mink coat handed down from her mother.

“I love it, I call it Ralphino. It has a name,” she laughed. “I’m wearing it today because it’s one of the very few occasions that I can now wear a fur coat.”

Wearing fur in Oregon is a major faux pas, but in Alaska, it’s more than acceptable, especially during Fur Rondy. “I’m a vegetarian I love animals and I love this coat,” Della Rosa said proudly.

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Fur business also draw in customers who want to look the part during the winter carnival.

“They love all the hats that have tails. And they like the wolves and wolverines — all the Alaskan things,” said Kathy Campbell, owner of Alaska Fur Cache.

Campbell said she and her husband, John Sarvis, “were the first” to set up a sidewalk shop during Rondy 30 years ago. For them fur is about celebrating the Alaska way of life.

“We’re supporting the trappers, there’s a lot of people who their only livelihood is trapping so they have a place to bring their furs,” Campbell said.

Out-of-towners use the festival as a chance to embrace the fur phenomenon. Virgina resident John LaRocque had his heart set on buying fur during his first visit to Alaska. He settled on a grey fox trapper hat.

“I wanted to have a distinctive hat. You go through life like everyone else but when you have a hat like this everyone stops and looks at you,” he said.

There are several furrier storefronts along Fourth Avenue, as well as vendors set up for the craft fair.

The Fur Rondy fur auction, Feb. 27 and 28, is also a chance for people to bid on pelts as well.

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