Thaw di Gras is going to the dogs…

Now that March has finally arrived, Dawson City is gearing up for it’s annual Thaw di Gras spring carnival. From March 16 through 18, the community will come alive with a variety of events taking place throughout the town.

Friday night kicks off with the Dawson City Music Festival hosting a lip sync competition at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s Gambling Hall. On Saturday and Sunday festival goers can partake in such events as a cat show, adult tricycle races, a hat toss competition and bum darts, as well as men’s and women’s arm wrestling competitions.

One of the most popular events for families is the annual dog show, held at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s. It’s a fundraiser for Humane Society Dawson, and anyone with a dog is invited to participate.

Registration is at 11 a.m., with the show starting at 11:30 a.m. Participants pay a fee of $10, which enters their pooches in the Doggie Olympics, as well as the Show and Tell. Events in the Doggie Olympics include the peanut butter lick, in which humans hold a spoon of peanut butter in their mouths and their dog must be the first to lick the spoon clean in order to win.

Other Olympic events include bobbing for hot dogs, the Rip van Winkle category (the dog who stays lying down the longest wins) and the “which dog can eat a plate of veggies first” event, among others. After the Olympics, the Show and Tell part of the dog show begins. Everyone gets a chance to parade their dog around the ring and tell the audience something about their pooch and what they’re good at.

They can then demonstrate the dog’s talent, hopefully impressing the three judges. The judges will then come up with a category that the dog wins, for example, Best Smile, or Worst Listener. Every dog gets a prize.

Katie Pearse, president of Humane Society Dawson, has been involved with the dog show for several years now. She is ringside announcer, and has even brought her own dog George for the last five years.

“George won the Jackie Chan award one year for all the jumping around tricks she did,” she said.

Pearse says the event has grown over time, with many more spectators and participants in attendance.

“I remember there being 10 dogs only a few years ago,” she said. The count last year was over 40, with entries from as far away as Whitehorse and Inuvik.

“There are so many different types of dogs, from chihuahuas to St. Bernards, different ages, dogs that jump through hoops, sing to instruments – it’s so much fun to watch.

“It’s the best event there is. It’s so much fun seeing everyone bring in their loved animals and show them off.”

Longtime Dawsonite Al Sider has been participating in the dog show for 13 years. He started with his dog Shasta, who died two years ago at age 17.

“Shasta was part lab and Irish wolfhound and I had her since she was eight weeks old. She won Best in Show and Most Resembling her Owner,” he said with a smile.

Now he takes his terrier/shepherd/lab mix named Mahal.

“It’s a great thing,” he said of the dog show event. “I like the idea that it allows anyone who has a dog to show it off, even if it doesn’t do anything. It just has to be there.”

Registration for the Thaw di Gras Dog Show is Saturday, March 17, at 11 a.m. at Diamond Tooth Gertie’s. The registration fee is $10.

For more information on other events, including the many outdoor events also planned for the weekend, go to and click on “Events.”

Dawson’s Thaw di Gras

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