Klondike Korner: ‘Tis the Season of Bizaarness

November is always a bazaar month in Dawson. Strangely enough, the word does seem to share the same 16th century Italian root – bazarro – as “bizarre,” the word it is sometimes confused with. Perhaps this is because Middle Eastern bazaars are so noisy and frenetic that it almost seems as if people in them are angry, which is what some sources say the root word means. Other sources go with “freakish’ and “chaotic”.

The word has several meanings as we use it today, including “a fundraising sale of goods, typically for charity”, a “rummage sale”, and the archaic “a large shop selling miscellaneous goods.”

Dawson’s bazaars tend to combine these meanings, and November is the time when they crowd the calendar.

The biggest one is always the first, the Christmas Bazaar, staged in the Robert Service School gym. This year it took place on Nov. 10 and the place was full of handicrafts, baking, toys, items from sales catalogs, tables staffed by organizations looking for members or donations and kids getting their pictures taken with Santa.

The 2013 Grad Class ran a cakewalk in the Ancillary Room next door and several organizations seemed to be holding 50/50 draws.

There was a lot of visiting as well, as people milled about seeking both bargains and conversation.

The organizers had to be a bit rushed this year with the clean up after the event, because the town’s Remembrance Day ceremony was set to happen the next morning in the very same room.

Coming up just a few days after you read this column is the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture’s (KIAC) Christmas Art and Craft Extravaganza, on Saturday, Nov. 24, from 1 to 4 p.m. in the Oddfellows Hall.

This one tends to focus on items that people have actually created, so you’ll see lots of pottery, needlework, handmade cards, quilts, jewelry and candles. It will be followed in the evening by an Electric Circus Dance Party to raise money for the ODD Gallery, which is in the same building.

The third bazaar of the year is usually held at the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Community Hall, but this venue has been out of commission due to roof repairs since last summer. If it is not ready in time, there is a backup plan, but the location won’t be announced by organizers until after November 26. Watch for posters.

First Nation’s arts and crafts do appear in the other bazaars, but they are most heavily represented in this final one.

Bazaars are not all that is happening in Dawson during November. We’ve already had a second House Concert with C. R. Avery and Robert Sarazin Blake, and one of our open mic/coffee house events, as well as the Yukon Women in Music’s concert called Song Rise, taking place at the Dänojà Zho Cultural Centre a fortnight ago.

We’ll barely be into December before The Nutcracker will arrive at Diamond Tooth Gerties on December 2.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, after all, I need to save some material for later columns.

After 32 years teaching in rural Yukon schools, Dan Davidson retired from that profession but continues writing about life in Dawson City.

After 32 years teaching in rural Yukon schools, Dan Davidson retired from that profession but continues writing about life in Dawson City.

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