Deh Cho carnival celebrations begin
Communities gearing up to usher spring in

by Ralph Plath
Northern News Services

FORT SIMPSON (Mar 07/97) - It's carnival time in the Deh Cho.

Residents in communities from Fort Liard to Wrigley are making plans for their annual celebrations to beat the winter blues and cheer the coming of spring.

Fort Liard is hosting the first carnival this month with the annual Cabin Fever Days from Friday to Sunday.

"It's going to be an action-packed weekend," said organizer Colin McPherson. "There's going to be something for everybody."

This year's carnival will feature a speed skating demonstration and races, a youth and family dance, children's events, snowmobile races, and a curling funspiel.

Next weekend, both Fort Simpson and Trout Lake will be hosting their events.

Trout Lake carnival organizer Brenda Jumbo is busy getting ready for a variety of events, such as a pancake breakfast, sack races, log sawing competition, and snowshoe races.

Something new this year is a karaoke contest. "We just got a karaoke machine in," Jumbo said.

One highlight which has always gone over well in the past is a competition involving partners who feed each other chocolate pudding while blindfolded. And on the musical side of things, the band is hoping to bring in the Assumption drummers.

Meanwhile in Fort Simpson, members of the Tracks and Trails Snowmobile Club have taken over the reins of the Beavertail Jamboree. Events begin Thursday with a feast and crowning of the king and queen and end Sunday with a snow and ice sculpture contest.

Other activities include a fashion show, ski loppett, kid's games, drag races, traditional games, talent show, and snow-golf, to name a few. "It's taking some big-time planning but we're hoping people from all over the region participate," said organizer Mike Chemerys.

Nahanni Butte's Snowball Blitz takes place March 21 and 22 with events that include everything from snowmobile races to a moose calling competition.

There will also be a raffle for 200 litres of gas or diesel with the proceeds going towards event prizes.

Jean Marie River's annual Mudball Carnival also gets under way the same weekend.

The carnival opens Friday with a fire ceremony and the crowning of the Mudball Queen and ends Sunday with Dene games, a mixed broomball tournament and a pot luck supper.

There will also be a volleyball tournament, bush skills activities, a youth sliding party, a talent show and dances during the weekend. Wrigley is planning a celebration for the Easter weekend, though it's tentative for now and organizers are still in the planning stages.

Fort Providence is also busy organizing its carnival, which is tentatively scheduled for April 4-6.

Though the communities and activities may all be different during carnival month, one thing they share is the need for volunteers to help residents share the coming of spring.