Early in May, with the deadlines for the 2017 edition of the Dawson City International Gold Show approaching, Coralee Rudachyk was busy, but calm. As the General Manager of the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce, she has the primary responsibility of making sure everything works out according to plan.
The plan is a pretty solid one, having evolved over the last 31 years, and being able to draw on a couple of decades worth of experience from Mark Mather, owner of the Dawson City General Store, is very helpful.
Exhibitors will be setting up their displays on May 18 and by May 19 to 20 everything will be in place and ready to open.
Begun in 1986, the Gold Show celebrates Dawson’s gold rush heritage as well as contemporary mining in the Klondike. It is the unofficial beginning of the summer season, by which time the ice has left the river to make way for the George Black Ferry, and the Top of the World Highway has been opened to the joint U.S./Canada border station.
The Gold Show is an industry and consumer trade show encompassing the diverse and interconnected sectors of the regional economy, with mining at its hub. Miners are invited to chat, network, buy and sell, in a relaxed and social atmosphere, which makes it a pleasure to do business.
While the Klondike Placer Miners Association holds its annual general meeting in the fall, the Gold Show weekend is always the time for its spring meeting.
Parks Canada will hold a “Doors Open” event during the weekend, during which people will be encouraged to tour buildings that are usually closed to the public.
The Dawson City Museum will have a lecture and book signing with Michael Gates, promoting his latest book From the Klondike to Berlin: The Yukon in World War I.
The late Bill Bowie was one of the founders of the show, and the annual Bill Bowie Dinner and Auction will be held on Friday evening in the new event tent that the chamber has purchased as a result of the Palace Grand Theatre being out of service during its renovations for the second year. This year the local ladies will also be offering their popular Boardwalk Burlesque show at this event.
The new tent will also be the venue for a children’s show on Saturday morning with Will Stroet, the star of Will’s Jams on Kids’ CBC television, who is billed as an award-winning bilingual children’s musician and educator from Vancouver, B.C.
The trade show is continuing last year’s practice of extending the location of the outdoor booths along Fourth Ave and out on Queen Street from the Masonic Lodge to Fifth Avenue. There are 27 outdoor booths and all had been rented by May 2.
The outdoor booths feature larger mining equipment and vehicles, as well as the ever-popular selection of bedding plants, potted plants and hanging baskets that cause Dawson’s homes and businesses to leap into bloom the very next week.
The 65 indoor booths in the Art and Margaret Fry Recreation Centre had been selling steadily at the time of this interview, with 70 per cent of them taken.
Indoor booths feature information displays by a lot of government agencies and nonprofit groups, as well as information technology booths and smaller mining related equipment.
The venues are open to the public from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on both Friday and Saturday, with other events happening at other times during the two days.
Both exhibitors and visitors are cautioned that the arena is unheated and can be chilly in the mornings, but that really doesn’t seem to keep people away. For more information you can visit the Dawson City Chamber of Commerce website or email [email protected]