Whales, eagles, nutcrackers take center stage

November brings a flurry of seasonal salutes to the whales and eagles that enhance our life here.

In Haines, thousands of bald eagles gather to chase the late chum and coho salmon run, while in Sitka the annual migration of humpback whales is saluted with several days of delving into the science of marine life that supports life on our planet.

Sitka Whalefest

This annual celebration of science and everything marine life occurs in Sitka for three days, November 3 to 6.

This year's theme is "How it is Made: Courting, Babies and Growth." Scientists will present in the symposium at Harrigan Centennial Hall a variety of steamy subjects like Crissy Huffard's "Octopuses: How They Fight and Shag"; Joanie Van de Walle's "Mating in Troubled Waters for the Wandering Albatross"; Dara Orbach's "Sex in the SEAtaceans: Mating Behaviors and Reproductive Anatomy of Cetaceans"; and, Schery Umanzor's "A Dive Into the Surprising Reproductive Life of Seaweed;" as well as several other less titillating topics.

A daily symposium pass is $35 with a three-day pass at $95.

Aside from serious subjects, there's a fun market with local craftspeople selling marine-themed crafts and jewelry and a café offering homemade food and sweets. And there is also bidding on silent auction items benefiting Sitka WhaleFest.

Take a whale observation tour from Crescent Harbor near the Centinel Building from 8:45 to 11:30 a.m. on Nov. 4 or 5, aboard an Allen Marine boat. Area wildlife experts will share their insights about the area and wildlife encountered on the cruise. This event supports the Sitka Sound Science Center and the Sitka WhaleFest.

Bring your runner relatives along for the Whale Run, a 5K and 10K fun run and two-mile walk. Pre-race registration is on Friday, Nov. 4, from 5 to 7 p.m. at Centennial Hall, and on race day, registration on Saturday from 9 to 10 a.m. at Whale Park. Start time is 10 a.m., Saturday, Nov. 5, at Whale Park.

Go to http://sitkawhalefest.org/ to register.

Bald eagles galore

For the 27th year, the American Bald Eagle Foundation in Haines celebrates the gathering of eagles at the Chilkat River for the late chum and silver run in the Alaska Bald Eagle Festival.

Over 3,000 bald eagles descend, turning Haines into an early celebration of Halloween with birds everywhere, much like Hitchcock's horror movie "The Birds."

This year's theme is "Gathering Together," in recognition of being able to return to an in-person event after the years of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Over the course of three days, Nov. 9-12, festival activities will include visits to the American Bald Eagle Foundation Museum, live bird presentations, eagle viewing in the preserve, a local artists fair, evening entertainment, and raffles. This year, a guided walk on the Bald Eagle Preserve is being included.

Up in the air still is the release of a rehabilitated eagle into the wild, and the collaboration with the Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Center in Klukwan, so keep an eye on the festival's site https://www.baldeagles.org/bald-eagle-festival or call 907-766-3094.

Registration is open. Full registration is $175, which includes admission Wednesday through Saturday, access to all evening events and banquet; individual event tickets are $35 for one or two evening events on Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday, but does not include admission to the museum or banquet; a visitor banquet ticket is $55, but includes no other event.

Classic holiday ballet times two

Two companies will present the ballet "The Nutcracker" at the Alaska Center for the Performing Arts in Anchorage.

"The Nutcracker" is a Russian-choreographed ballet based on E. T. A. Hoffmann's 1816 short story, "The Nutcracker and the Mouse King," with a memorable score by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky.

The Eugene Ballet of Oregon and young Alaska dancers flock to the stage accompanied by live music from Anchorage Symphony Orchestra.

The performances run from Friday, Nov. 25 to Sunday, Nov. 27, with both matinees and evening shows. Tickets are $43 and up for those older than age 6.

December 9 brings the Anchorage Ballet and the Anchorage Classical Ballet Academy for Anchorage's very own production of "The Nutcracker."

Tickets are $44 and up for performances on Dec. 9 at 7 p.m., Dec. 10 at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Grab a grandchild and join Marie as she joins the Nutcracker Prince on a dreamy journey through the enchanted Land of the Sweets.

It could become a family tradition.