We have all heard the term winter blues. I suspect, somewhere along the line, that is why winter festivals were created—something to liven up the cold, dull stretch of winter. In Canada, we have many winter festivals that take place every year. Vancouver hosts the Aurora Winter Festival, Niagara hosts the Winter Festival of Lights, Toronto has Holiday Fair in the Square, Fredericton has FROSTival, Nova Scotia hosts the Nova Scotia Lobster Crawl Festival, Ottawa hosts Winterlude, Québec has its Carnaval de Québec—featuring the famous life-size Bonhomme (snowman)—and, in the small northern town of Dawson City, there is Thaw di Gras Spring Carnival.
Get Ready for Some Outrageous Winter Fun!
This year, Thaw di Gras will be held from March 18–20. You may be wondering about the name. Yes, it is a word play on the Mardi Gras festival that is held every year in New Orleans, before Ash Wednesday. “Mardi” was changed to “Thaw Di” because the end of March is when the Yukon starts to transition into the spring season. Unlike Mardi Gras, which is known for participants who parade through the streets with colourful costumes and in marching bands, Thaw di Gras centers around creative and slightly quirky winter activities.
Usually there are about 25 different events that take place. Sometimes the events can change between the years. Past events have included adult tricycle racing, tea-boiling competitions, axe-throwing, searching for loonies in a haystack, snowshoe baseball, and human curling (where the rock is replaced with a human being who is slid across the ice), as well as a chili cook-off, dog show, cat show and the One-Dog Pull (where dogs try to haul their weight in dog kibble!). There is also lots of live music, kids activities and a spectacular fireworks show over the Yukon River.
While Dawson City may be one of the smaller towns to host a winter carnival, it is by no means lacking in the fun and excitement department. And the best part is that most events are free! This year’s events have not been announced as of yet. For Thaw di Gras updates, visit www.Dawsoncity.ca.