“It’s all about magic,” says Maryne Dumaine, the production and marketing manager for this year’s Winterval festival.
The event has become a regular part of the Christmas season, and Yukoners can expect a unique take on holiday cheer from the Yukon Educational Theatre (YET).
“We want to make art fun and more accessible for people of all ages,” says artistic director Geneviève Gagnon.
This YET mandate is often achieved by putting art in outdoor spaces. But sometimes the outdoors offers interesting challenges for both event organizers and participants.
“Last year was -40°C and it still happened,” laughs Dumaine. “We’re not going to cancel.”
All are welcome to participate in the parade. To get in on it, people are meeting at 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 30, at the Whitehorse United Church on 6th Avenue and Main Street, where they will form a fluid parade. The destination is Main and Front Streets, in front of the White Pass building, where the Christmas tree will be lit.
This year, YET has added a warm-up venue – The Old Fire Hall – so festival-goers can keep toasty in between acts with treats and crafts.
“No more frostbitten fingers,” Dumaine says.
The Winterval festival will include photo opportunities with Santa and plenty of musicians and artists. But YET has more in store for participants this year.
“It’s not just about Santa, but a celebration of the season and all it brings,” Dumaine says.
Gagnon agrees: “We are really trying to make this Winterval a platform for people to actively engage in the arts — not as spectators but as active agents in the realization of projects. The nature of the parade revolves around this, and we’re also programming some activities that will get people directly involved in the creation of the pieces.”
The hands-on activities include a workshop in French and English before the parade starts, to create lanterns for the festival. People are encouraged to bring jars to decorate at the workshop, which takes place at 1 p.m. on Nov. 30 at the Old Fire Hall.
If all goes according to plan, there will be a contingent from the over-18 crowd carrying their hand-made lanterns, too, since YET held a workshop on Wednesday at The Gold Pan Saloon.
“We’re really trying to reach an audience that we haven’t connected with before, and the (Northern Vision Development) partnership allows for the perfect venue to engage adults in the community,” Gagnon says.
People are encouraged to dress up in costume, prepare their own floats for the parade, bring coloured ice cubes for a mosaic wall, and bring homemade lanterns to the festival — anything to contribute to the seasonal celebration and to warm the spirit.
“We’ve worked really hard this year and we want everyone to go home with a smile on their face,” says Dumaine.
On Saturday, Nov. 30 the Winterval festival begin at 1 p.m. at the Old Fire Hall with a workshop for all ages to make a lantern. All are invited to gather and get into the parade at 3:30 p.m. at Main and 6th Avenue. The parade will end at Main and Front Streets at approximately 4 p.m. Santa will be at the Roundhouse for photos.
For more information on the festival go to YukonEducationalTheatre.com.