Paint your friends red, green or blue

The preparation for the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous Colour Wars can get pretty messy, but the end result has turned into one of the most anticipated events of the Rendezvous weekend. It is the final event scheduled for Shipyards Park on Sunday and definitely leaves a mark on landscape. The free-for-all event leaves no participant uncoloured.

The volunteers helping prepare for the event also end up covered in some of the cornstarch and food dye mixture that is used, the according to Rendezvous Vice-President Bruce Sahlstrom.

“The volunteers this year were in the boardroom with 10 different colours in boxes, each weighing 50 pounds,” Sahlstrom said. “The volunteers move the colour mixture into self-sealing envelopes, but if some got out or they ripped you can imagine what happens.

“We had to wash down the room afterwards and everyone needed a shower.”

This is Sahlstrom’s fourth year on the board, but his first as the event champion. Each board member takes on an event to look after, however, Sahlstrom credits Jenna Paton for running operations during the event for the past two Colour Wars and doing the same this year. “Jenna arranges her own team to run the wars,” Sahlstrom said “The office delivers the envelopes and then they run the show.”

The event doesn’t restrict ages, although they do require young children, generally those under 12, to be signed in by a parent. It’s a safety mechanism as the organizers don’t want to have small children participating by themselves, explained Sahlstrom.

The wars themselves are a simple free-for-all. A competition area is designated in the field at Shipyards Park.

“The boxes with colour envelopes are arranged outside the designated area for participants to grab and then go throw in the field,” Sahlstrom said. “They start and then it’s pandemonium.”

For those parents who are worried about the mess it might cause, the mixture used washes off fairly easily. “It doesn’t stain your clothes and it doesn’t hurt the environment,” Sahlstrom said. “Last year, I had some in my hair and on my clothes and it comes in the shower and the wash.”

Participants are encouraged to sign up early, because it is always very popular. This year What’s Up Yukon is sponsoring the event and providing free t-shirts. There are a limited number, so when the t-shirts are gone, they’re gone.

Most people sign up on the spot, but those wanting to ensure their entry may sign up in advance with the Rendezvous office. More information can be found on the Rendezvous website,

Sahlstrom had one last piece of advice for Yukoners planning to attend. “Expect a crowd and expect it to be busy,” he advised.

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