Don your best Victorian era dress and get ready to be transported back to the late 19th century for the Yukon Historical & Museums Association’s (YHMA) third annual Charity Croquet Tournament.
After a successful turnout last year, YHMA will once again transform the lawns of the SS Klondike into a croquet course. The game was chosen for the fundraising event after organizers uncovered photos circa 1900 of a match in Dawson City. From the gold rush days to an infusion in Yukon life over the years, the organizers felt that such an event fit with the territory’s social history.
“It’s a game that originated in Britain in the late 19th century and quickly spread throughout the British Empire,” says YHMA Executive Director Nancy Oakley. “It likely made its way up north during the Gold Rush. We’ve also heard stories of some pretty epic ‘bush croquet’ games that have been organized over the past few decades.”
If you have never played croquet before, not to worry – it’s easy enough to learn. While you may not master it within the day, you can still expect to have fun in a friendly setting whether you’re nine or 90. For those who are in it to win it, Oakley is confident that the game offers the opportunity for “a wonderful undercurrent of complete, utter cutthroat competition.”
Players will have the chance to win prizes including round trip flights from Air North, White Pass train trips, and more.
Past tournaments have been popular.
“By the end of the day folks are asking us when the next tournament is!” Oakley says. “It’s great to see how much Yukoners appreciate their history, and how much love and support they show for heritage non-profits especially.”
Whether or not you choose to compete in the tournament, there is an Après Croquet soiree that offers a chance to enjoy an evening revelling in a bygone era with friends. After the tournament, the historic grounds will be turned into a garden party setting complete with live music, a beer garden, heritage-themed games and a live auction. Organizers have even arranged for a discount for period costume rentals for party-goers.
YHMA was established in 1977 and works to support Yukon heritage through museums, First Nation cultural centres and societies. The association runs the annual Yukon Heritage Awards and Territorial Heritage Fair to highlight efforts in Yukon. All together, these activities work towards the conservation and celebration of Yukon’s rich and diverse heritage, Oakley says.
The tournament is anticipated to raise $5,000 to support the maintenance of LePage Park, located on the corner of Wood Street and 3rd Avenue in Whitehorse. The park is home to the annual Arts in the Park program and several non-profits, which are located in its three historic buildings.
The tournament takes place Saturday, July 30 on the lawns of the SS Klondike from noon to 5 p.m. Registration is $100 for YHMA members and $120 for non-members.
The fee includes entry to the Après Croquet event and giveaways. If you would just like to attend the party, swing by from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tickets at $15. Registration forms and more information can be found on the association’s website: www.HeritageYukon.ca