A Birthday Celebration Worth Driving To

The 14th annual Mayo Arts Festival offers a unique way to celebrate Canada’s birthday. Ring in Canada Day on Friday, July 1 with artists, workshops and musicians from the Stewart River Valley alongside colourful celebrations. This free, homegrown festival showcases talent from Keno City, Elsa, Mayo and Stewart Crossing – some of the best-kept secrets in the Yukon.

Much anticipated artists include Mary Beattie and Marcia Telep, both from the Yukon.

Telep will bring colour to the festival with her vibrant painted depictions of Yukon’s landscape and First Nation themes. If you’ve always wanted to learn to paint with bold colours, hang out in the workshop tent as she teaches her technique of layering colours.

Beattie will offer an all-day workshop in which participants will create needle felted wool beads for their own one-of-a-kind jewellery. Don’t worry about missing out while in the workshop – the live performers are in full view from the tent.

Get your groove on to more than 17 Yukon musicians that will play on the main stage throughout the day and evening. The newly formed band Blacksheep will perform with Barbara Barchen, Shona Sicotte, Mitchel Andre, Brett Pilon and Franklin Patterson. Solo guitarist Mike Friesen will bring his Blue Rodeo-style soulful sound to the stage after Margaret Freeland has everyone dancing to old-time country tunes.

The festival will feature a Northern Tutchone Regalia Fashion Show in conjunction with Na Cho Nyak Dun First Nation. Dressed in traditional beaded outfits, models will walk the catwalk to traditional drumming.

The morning of the festival, get ready to take part in small-town Canada Day fun. Beginning shortly before noon, festivities will kick off with a local parade full of decorated bicycles and floats. The parade will end at the school soccer field where there will be three-legged races, potato sack races and other games. Then check out the annual peanut drop when a helicopter will fly overhead and unload a rainstorm of peanuts onto the field. It’s a race to run out and grab a couple of handfuls to snack on before they’re all scooped up.

If you’re staying for the night or the full Canada Day long weekend in Mayo, there are a few options to choose from. Camp for free in Gordon Park and be a quick walk from the festival grounds. Five Mile Lake Campground is 8 km from town, but offers beautiful views and the rare warm Yukon lake for daytime swims and midnight sun dips. Gold and Galena Bed and Breakfast is in a quiet rural residential area just outside of town. The Bedrock Motel and RV Park has beds and spots for those on an RV weekend road trip.

Canada Day in Mayo Weekend Schedule

Friday, July 1st:

11 a.m. – Canada Day Parade (YG Admin Building at 5th Ave. and Centre St.)

12 p.m. – Kids Games

12-5 p.m. – Mayo Arts Festival: art vendors and workshops

12-7 p.m. – Musicians on the main stage

7 p.m. – Slo-pitch Ball Tournament (Mayo Ball Diamond at 3rd Ave. and Laurier St.)

Saturday, July 2nd:

Canada Day Dance at the Mayo Community Hall with music by Retrospect  

Sunday, July 3rd:

Ball Tournament Finals

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