Party atmosphere marks Iditarod's ceremonial start

By

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (AP) — It'd be easy to confuse downtown Anchorage, Alaska, with a very large dog kennel Saturday.

Mushers and their dogs are inundating Alaska's largest city for the annual start of the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race.

It's a party atmosphere during this fan-friendly event. Locals and tourists from across the globe will chat with mushers, have photos taken and then watch the dog teams take off on an 11-mile jaunt. Snow has been trucked into downtown Anchorage, and mushers will eventually leave downtown streets and move to urban trails.

The real race starts Sunday about 50 miles north of Anchorage. Mushers will begin the trek to cover nearly a thousand miles over untamed wilderness and try to become the first to reach the finish line in Nome, on Alaska's western coast.

©2014 by The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.