With late February temperatures maxing out at +4 in Dawson, it’s hard to say just what this year’s Thaw di Gras, Spring Carnival will be looking at for weather, but the Klondike Visitors Association (KVA) has once again encouraged a wide variety of groups to get involved in outdoor and indoor events for the weekend of March 18 to 20.
“Thaw di Gras is our happy place at the KVA office,” said Paul Robitaille. “If we’re having a bad day in some other way, we just start thinking about plans for Thaw di Gras.”
Robitaille and Katie Pearse don’t organize the three day event exactly, but they encourage other people to do their bit, set up the schedule once everyone’s committed, and can be found cheerleading throughout the weekend.
If all goes according to plan, there will be 25 events, a variety of games – from the serious, to the ridiculous, to the simply outrageous. It’s not as big as the Sourdough Rendezvous, but it’s pretty concentrated and most of it is absolutely free.
While its origin is as a homegrown weekend, KVA believes it has been successful in encouraging out-of-towners to come visit for the weekend. This year, for instance, Air North is adding a paper airplane toss to the list of events.
March 18 is a big night with the Dawson City Music Festival’s famed Lip Sync contest. There will also be a Glow Skate event and Happy Hour Bowling.
Saturday is a busy day, with dog and cat shows, an indoor tricycle race, the Barry Fargey Dog Sled and Skijor Race, Beer Cap Baseball (from Yukon Brewing) and a variety of kids’ games.
Things kick off at the tail end of the Robert Service School’s March Break, so those kids who want to will have had lots of time to prepare for the fan favourite Youth Lip Sync taking place that afternoon.
The Craig Dunham Road Hockey Tourney will begin on 3rd Avenue, while Snowshoe Baseball will take place on the school playground. There will be fireworks that night, sponsored by Paperny Entertainment (Yukon Gold).
On Sunday logs, axes and chainsaws will be flying through the air at the Diamond Tooth Gertie’s parking lot, while belt sanders will be racing, some folks will be running to Moosehide, and dogs will be pulling heavy loads. Some teams will be boiling tea, while others will be cooking chili in the Downtown Hotel parking lot. Kids will be searching for loonies and cookies in a haystack and dozens of people will face each other in pairs for the massively popular (and messy) egg tossing contest.
New this year at Gertie’s is the Tacky Winter Outfit Walk-off on Saturday night.
“You might not know that your regular winter outfit is a winner,” says Katie Pearse.
“The beauty of Thaw di Gras for me,” Robitaille says, “is that almost everyone can participate in almost every event, with the exception of the ones that take place in the bars.”
There aren’t any big prizes to be won or lost, but people are happy just to get their ribbons – and those are new for this year, made locally.
“I think we’ve done a great job at making the weekend as much fun as we can,” Robitaille says.