Alaska State Fair Replacing 60-Year-Old ‘Sluicebox’ Beer Hall
A designer’s rendition of the new Sluicebox performance venue, to be completed
in time for the next fair in August.
This winter’s unusually heavy snowfall caused a crack to worsen in one of the crucial beams of the Sluicebox, a 60-year-old building at the fairgrounds in Palmer. Consequently, the Alaska State Fair must replace the structure.
Safer Than Renovating
Plans are underway to raise a new building on the existing Sluicebox footprint prior to the 2023 Fair, scheduled to start August 18.
Originally built to house vegetable exhibits, the building became known as the “Beer Hall” in the ‘70s. In 1982, it was dubbed the Sluicebox, and ever since it’s been a place to hoist a glass of beer and listen to local musicians and touring acts inside a roadhouse with gravel floors, long picnic tables, and a plywood dance floor.
Concerns had been growing over the past few years about the safety and structural integrity of the Sluicebox building. Due to the building’s age and structural issues, Fair officials decided the safest decision is to rebuild rather than repair or renovate.
Many pieces of memorabilia have been saved and will be featured in the new Sluicebox, such as the artists’ wall signed by many Sluicebox stage performers. The familiar sign out front, along with reclaimed wood from the old structure, will also be included in the new Sluicebox.
Architecture & Engineering Special Section + Small Business
In the February 2024 issue of Alaska Business, we engineered a special section that inspects the many ways architecture and engineering enrich our lives, from creating beautiful and functional spaces to crafting functional and safe transportation corridors. In addition to the built world in which we live, this issue celebrates small businesses and the many functions they provide, whether they're developing tools in the healthcare industry or opening new dining locations.