We’re now into that wonderful part of winter when we can see and feel that Spring is near. The deep cold is gone, and the quality of the light is superb. The fact that the sun has some real warmth to it doesn’t hurt, either. To celebrate the end of winter, we have a major annual event in Whitehorse called the Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous, and this year was a humdinger. Here are 45 photos and a short video to give you a bit of a feel for what sort of a party it is.
We got a very high-quality program in the mail a couple of weeks ago. We knew that we’d only be going to a fraction of the events – some don’t interest us, but there really is something for everyone, of every age.
The Rendezvous Kick Off was on Thursday, but even on Friday, all I did was check out the airport to see how many planes were in for the Air Display. They’ve quit calling it an Air Show since we seldom get any flying demonstrations anymore. In this photo, Air North was moving one of their aircraft into position for the open house on Saturday and Sunday.
Cathy and I were at Shipyards Park, the centre of the action, just after 10:00 on Saturday morning to meet my niece and have look around, but it was still very quiet. This little frontier-style “mall” is new this year – several non-profits were offering all sorts of food and drinks from them.
The snow carving is always very popular. The sculptures are judged by both the public and a judging panel – not surprisingly, Team Japan won the children’s vote with this cute entry
Team Alaska’s “Mammoth Hunter” was the winner in People’s Choice as well as the judge’s choice as the top entry.
Some years, we get very nasty weather for Rendezvous, with heavy snow or temperatures heading towards minus 40. This year it was warm, just below freezing, but the wind was bitterly cold. That made the heated performance tent a popular place for more than just the excellent performers
Volunteers are a huge part of why Rendezvous works so well – St. John’s Ambulance first-aiders were in attendance as always. Many people, both workers and visitors, get dressed up for Rendezvous, with costumes ranging from elaborate to simple, traditional (like this one) to hilarious.
Now that’s a hat!
The flour packing contest is impressive. This female Canadian Forces member was packing about 340 pounds at this point. A crane system on wheels lowers the weight onto the contestant, and then is pushed along as the contestant walks 50 feet or so. It’s a great system to ensure that nobody gets hurt (other than muscle strain).
Kids love getting to tour through the armoured car that’s always brought in. The military has always been very visible – the United States used to send a large contingent of ground and air forces but that’s stopped in recent years due to budget cutbacks.
For Cathy and I, dogs are a focus. This little guy has only 3 legs, but went on to place 2nd in his class in the One-Dog Weight Pull! I saw a much larger Alaskan malamute interact with him, and despite his size, other dogs seem to recognize him as alpha
Some of the dogs don’t understand the weight pull. In this case it was because the weight was so light she barely knew she was pulling anything, but sometimes the weight was so heavy the dog clearly thought he was tied up and didn’t understand why his owner was calling him to “come”.
This malamute was impressive – he knew the drill!
“Yukon” also put everything he had into it – at this point he was pulling almost 300 pounds.
Cathy and I often see partnerships that we either take an immediate like or dislike to – you know which this was
This video shows you what an entire pull looks like, with the weight early in this malamute’s class at 320 pounds (the weight is increased in subsequent pulls).
The Association franco-yukonaisse has been running their very popular “Sugar Shack” at Rendezvous since 1983.
Not all of the contests are serious – the Corporate Challenge team-building events can be very funny!
Rendezvous used to be held on Main Street, and I wasn’t a fan of moving it to Shipyards Park, but it’s really worked out well. Main Street just can’t match features like the tobogganing hill at Shipyards.
Many people bring their dogs to Rendezvous – we don’t simply because I can’t handle both a dog and a camera.
The sun came out Saturday afternoon, but the wind-chill temperature stayed down near -20C.
Back at the flour packing, with some serious weight happening – something over 600 pounds.
At almost 700 pounds, this contestant had to quit.
A broader shot of the dog pull area, with a 500+ pound pull attempt.
One of what I think is the really significant things with a crowd of thousands of people is that there was no security, no police presence (and the military were here for fun, not crowd control). So many places have had large events ruined by obnoxious drunks, perhaps the absence of a beer garden is part of the reason it works here. Forget the income, let’s just have good clean fun. Two thumbs up, Rendezvous!
We went home for a barbecue, then came back in to watch the fireworks show. We’d planned on watching the fire dancers as well, but this year they were moved from the top of the tobogganing hill to a spot where relatively few people could see them. The fireworks were great, though!
The fire pit in the picnic shelter was another popular place, for a quick warm-up.
There was lots going on on Sunday as well, but the airport was our focus. This is a CT-156 Harvard II trainer. The 2 Harvards were flying on Saturday but they couldn’t get this one fired up yesterday due to some external-power problems.
The nacelle art on this Beechcraft C-90A King Air is new – pretty funny at first glance.
The sharkmouth above, the name “Ropey” and the bomb graphics were added to honour Lancaster VR-R, KB772 of the 419th Squadron, RCAF, which served during the Second World War.
One of Air North’s Boeing 737s arrives behind a search-and-rescue CC-115 Buffalo.
Doing some maintenance work on a Cormorant helicopter.
Line-ups to tour the inside of the CP-140 Aurora that comes every year is always long. This is a maritime surveillance aircraft.
It was Air North’s Hawker Siddeley HS 748 that I most wanted to see the inside of.
The tail of the Hawker Siddeley.
A classic panel! Jets are okay, but planes like this are where my heart is.
The powerful little CT-155 Hawk is the next step up after training in the Harvard II.
The CC-138 Twin Otter came down from its base at Yellowknife – all 4 of the Canadian Force’s Twin Otters are now based there. One of the crew members was more than happy to show us a video he’d shot showing an extremely short take-off and landing on a frozen lake. Note the Rendezvous squirrel mascot in the background
The Aurora and Buffalo again.
They never did get the Harvard IIs up.
Another look at the King Air and it was time to get going.
We’d brought Monty and Kayla but left them in the car while we viewed the planes. Monty in particular loved the chance to get out and RUN! before we headed home.
So that’s what a little bit of our Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous looked like this year. If you’re ever looking for a unique event, come on up