The pre-Christmas season will soon be underway here in the Klondike, actually beginning a few days before this piece can see print. It’s a season of bazaars and open houses that lead up to the actual holidays.
It begins with the oldest and largest of the bazaars, the Little Blue Daycare Christmas Bazaar. This will fill the gym and ancillary room at the Robert Service School, in Dawson, on November 17 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. It’s a fundraiser for the daycare, so there is a fee for table space, but the selection is wide open beyond that.
There are always organizations looking for members and crafts, catalogue items looking for buyers, lots of baked goods of all kinds, 50/50 raffle tickets and a cakewalk event for the grad class.
Santa holds court on the stage and sits with both eager and frightened children, for family pictures.
It’s a meeting place as well as a market, and there’s a lot of visiting going on.
The next Saturday (November 24), the Klondike Institute of Arts and Culture stages its Christmas Art and Craft Fair in the ballroom on the second floor. This will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., with the first hour being an Accessible Time for seniors. Tables need to have been reserved in advance as this one raises funds to support the ODD Gallery downstairs.
The focus here is on locally-produced cards, apparel, photographs, paintings, pottery, glass items and the work of resident creators. Its motto is “Shop local for one-of-a-kind, handmade gifts by local artists and makers!” There is also Christmas-themed music provided by local musicians.
The town used to hold an open house buffet-style event, but now it hosts a family-focussed Celebration of Lights, based around the picnic shelter in the Waterfront Park. There is singing, music, a walk and run event with a couple of pseudo-Santas, and the official ignition of the park’s Christmas lights. The date for this isn’t set yet, but November 24 is the current favourite.
December 7 (a Friday) will see the second running of the Dawson City Music Festival (DCMF) Winter Bizarre (note the spelling). This is not a craft fair, though DCMF merch will be available in the KIAC ballroom during the 4 p.m. to midnight time frame. The hours will be spent as a “night of live music, games, auctions, food, drinks, karaoke, live radio, a photo booth, and a general feeling of good cheer!”
It is a DCMF fundraiser, so bring along some cash.
The next day (Saturday, December 8) will see the Last Minute Bazaar, which is held annually at the Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in (TH) Community Hall. There is a strong focus on First Nations craft work at this event, but other things do appear on the tables.
Not yet determined at this writing are the annual open house events at the Dawson City Museum and the RCMP detachment. These are always well-attended and replete with good food.
The last big event on the calendar before Christmas Eve is the TH Community Dinner, to be held on December 15 at the Robert Service School. It’s a buffet-style event that usually includes the TH community awards.
Sometimes this is also the night for the annual Boat Parade, during which wildly-decorated vessels are towed around the town, but it works better for both events when they are separated.
There is usually a performance of the Nutcracker, featuring the principle cast from the Northern Lights School of Dance and some local performers. There’s no date for this yet, but it’s usually a Sunday event, and last year was Dec. 17, so this year the 16th would make sense.