Muskrat ready to roll
Jamboree a sure sign summer's on the way

by Richard Gleeson
Northern News Services

NNSL (Apr 02/97) - Get out the canoes and throw some new line on that spinning reel, because it's summer from here on in, baby.

This weekend's Muskrat Jamboree guarantees the cold is about to follow the darkness we've already left behind.

On the off chance it doesn't turn summer instantly this weekend, a good supply of old-fashioned community warmth will be available to tide everyone over.

An organizing committee of 23 people has been working months to make a success of this, the 40th Muskrat Jamboree.

Hans Lennie, who is heading up the organizational push, noted, the event is run entirely on community spirit. "We wouldn't have it if it weren't for the volunteers," said Lennie.

Committee member Barry Greenland noted that a sense of community is also the main product of the event, explaining. "This is a chance for people to get together, have some fun and tell a few stories," he said.

Greenland said the Muskrat Jamboree, like all spring jamborees in the Beaufort Delta region, puts the emphasis on traditional skills.

"In Yellowknife it's not really geared to traditional events. Our carnival is geared to the things people who live out in the bush do on a daily basis in the summer."

Anyone is eligible to sign up for any of the events. Among the competitions will be axe-throwing, tea-boiling, log-sawing, nail-driving, team plank-walk, three-legged race -- the list goes on and on.

Of course, a source of anxiety for Muskrat Jamboree goers is the age-old question -- what on earth will I wear?

"I'll be wearing long underwear," said committee member Theresa Ross boldly.

"And wind pants," she quickly added. "There always seems to be a breeze around here. Then the parka with the hood, neck warmer and my winter boots with some good wool socks."

Hmmm, sounds like much the same fashion statement that prevailed as last year's jamboree, and the one before that ...

The fun begins tomorrow night with a TV Bingo and a 7:30 p.m. feast of traditional food at Davey Jones Arena, part of the official opening ceremonies.