The youth and adult egg toss events close out the Sunday afternoon activities and seem to be more popular every year

Thaw-di-Gras, Dawson’s spring-or-late-winter carnival, is adding a day this year, with events beginning on Friday, March 16 and running through Sunday, March 18. Paul Robitaille, marketing manager for the Klondike Visitors Association (KVA), said there are two reasons for this change.

The first is that the event has been expanding a little bit every year under the KVA’s guidance, and it was getting harder to fit everything into two days. The other reason is that Thaw-di-Gras began its life as an event for locals. The KVA, as one might expect, given its mandate, has been promoting it as a tourism draw, and some locals have expressed concerns about that.

“They have a personal connection with the event and having a lot of visitors hasn’t always jived with how they feel about it.”

So, given that it still takes some part of a day to get here – even with Air North’s extra flights to bring people in – the KVA has added a front-end day that will probably be mostly for locals. This year it falls just before the beginning of the school’s March Break and also just before the new dates for KIAC’s Youth Art Enrichment program.

The weekend provides an extensive list of nearly 30 activities. Some of these are indoor events (see Gabriela Sgaga’s companion article below) and others depend on it being nice enough to hold them outside.

Most of the events are free, and those that take place outside are open to nearly everyone.

The Third Avenue road hockey tournament takes place in the front of the Westminster Hotel

Events in town include the Road Hockey Tournament outside the Westminster Hotel on Third Avenue, Snowshoe Baseball on the grounds of the Robert Service School, the Chili Cook-off, One Dog Pull, Snow Sculptures, smoosh-board racing, Snow mini-golf, and fireworks.

Near town, but needing a bit more space, are Dog Sled Rides with B-Line Racing and the Sunnydale Classic Dog Sled and Skijor Races over in West Dawson.

The belt sander races are a unique event that Paul Robitaille has never heard to being held anywhere else

Outdoor activities really peak on Sunday afternoon, when the action is focussed on the Fourth Avenue parking lot opposite Gertie’s. There are activities for young and old, including the axe throw, log toss, log sawing, the belt sander race, and the YOOP tea boil (including lighting the fire).

By that point in the winter, there’s always a big mountain of snow in the lot that is just a kid magnet.

The Loonies and cookies in a haystack event is one that really gets the kids excited. And some of the adults, too.

The afternoon activities climax with the egg toss events for both youth and adults. Robitaille said they are buying a lot more eggs this year as this event just keeps growing.

The ravens love it too, considering all the eggs that break before the winners are declared.

“We’re also going to make sure we order more than enough ribbons,” Robitaille said, “because everybody goes crazy for ribbons at Thaw-di-Gras.”

While the KVA is the central clearing house for Thaw-di-Gras, it would not happen without the tremendous buy-in from the local residents and businesses, who actually sign up to organize and volunteer for the events, some of which are unique to Dawson.

“We want to keep the weekend weird as much as possible,” Robitaille said. “It’s all about having fun, ending winter and celebrating the arrival of spring.”

Thaw di Gras is going to the dogs…