The governor’s open house is seen Tuesday, Dec. 6, 2016. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire file

Governor hosts holiday open house today

One of Juneau’s longest-running holiday traditions continues today as Gov. Bill Walker opens the governor’s mansion to the public.

From 3-6 p.m., the public is invited to the mansion for cookies, cider, and a chance to meet the governor and first lady.

The governor’s house, built in 1912, has hosted an holiday-season open house every year since 1913, when territorial governor Walter Eli Clark opened the just-built mansion to the public on Jan. 1.

Open houses have happened every year since, with the exception of two years during World War II.

“Donna, Byron, Toni, and I are pleased to open the Governor’s House to Alaskans,” Governor Walker said in a prepared statement. “This is a special time of year that brings together family and friends, and we look forward to celebrating with our neighbors and Juneau community.”

Anyone who needs special accommodations is asked to call Lisa Boman at 465-3500 to arrange advance entry.

The Empire advises attendees to dress warmly and be prepared for cold rain. The National Weather Service forecast for the open house includes rain and temperatures in the upper 30s. Hundreds of Juneau residents attend the open house each year, and the line to enter the mansion frequently stretches down Calhoun Avenue.

State commissioners and their staffs will be distributing warm drinks to those waiting in line, and a limited number of standing electric heaters will also be placed outside.

Parking is limited, and drivers using Calhoun should watch for pedestrians. From 1-7 p.m., Indian Street will be closed between 7th Street and 8th Street to accommodate the event.

Several Juneau music groups will perform during the open house. The governor has invited the Juneau Community Charter School, Faith Community School, the Auke Bay Orca Singers, the Thunder Mountain High School Jazz Band, the Juneau-Douglas High School Band, the Juneau-Douglas High School Choir, Glacier Valley JAMM, Ursa Minor (Mini-Fiddlers), Alaska Youth Choir, and Sherri Paterson.

• Contact reporter James Brooks at or call 523-2258.