Petersburg , Alaska ’s Little Norway, was founded more than 100 years ago by Norwegian anglers. A small town on Mitkof Island , it lies off the main sea routes used by larger cruise ships, but some small-ship cruise lines include it as a port of call. A visit to Petersburg provides some insight into the character of a true Alaskan town-isolated, with an obvious spirit of community and self-sufficiency. There is an opportunity for sight seeing via floatplane or helicopter over nearby Le Conte Glacier (weather permitting) and for hikes on forest trails. Cruise out to look for whales in the south part of Frederick Sound , which is often a virtual sculpture garden of grounded icebergs. The biggest week of the year for Petersburg falls around May 17th, Norway 's Constitution Day. For 40 years Petersburg has held a «Little Norway Festival» around this date to celebrate the homeland of Petersburg's founding families, honor the U.S. Armed Forces Day and throw one last big party before the the fishing season gets under way. Visitors and locals can take part in traditional dances and concerts, arts and crafts displays, photos with Vikings and Valkyries, smorgasbord meals, kids contests, a pageant and boat tours. The totems to the left sit next to the Federal Building in downtown Petersburg . Artists/carvers Tommy Joseph and Fred Beltran, both of Sitka , worked almost daily for many hours a day in a Quonset hut in downtown Petersburg carving these totem poles from cedar logs. Totem poles were once carved and raised to represent a family-clan, its kinship system, dignity, accomplishments, prestige, adventures, stories, rights and prerogatives. A totem pole served, in essence, as the emblem of a family or clan and often as a reminder of its ancestry. In Petersburg 's case, these totems tell the history of the Tlingits and their settlement in the Southeast. They celebrate the Eagle (Shangukeidi) and Raven (Laayaneidi) Clans, which are the two moieties of the Tlingit society. During the totem raising in October hundreds of people came out to watch and help raise the totems into place.