To herald the coming end of the north’s long winter, Whitehorse lights up each February for a few weeks of zany, all-out fun. The Yukon Rendezvous Festival, in its 58th year in 2022, will run February 11 – 27. Some of the events that transitioned online during the pandemic continue, and familiar favorites are also returning in person.
The rendezvous is an old-fashioned good time with a heart of gold. Consider the Sourdough Sam competition, which pits men of the region together in a contest to determine who is the top alpha in the Yukon. It’s certainly a lifetime of bragging right for whoever comes out on top, but all the contestants also give back. The proceeds from the competitions go back to support the family friendly side of the rendezvous.
So, whether it’s online or in-person, don’t miss out on the Yukon Rendezvous Festival to see for yourself the kind of creativity Yukoners can conjure up after a few months of dark and cold.
History of the Yukon Rendezvous Festival
Inspiration for the celebration dates back to 1945, when the first Yukon Carnival Week was held. The carnival drew people from around the region for a week of sporting events, like amateur fancy skaters and a snowshoe ski ball game, and nightly entertainment.
The annual rendezvous officially celebrates its founding in 1964, when the event and society were formally registered. The festival notes on its website, “This was also the last festival for many members of the Canadian Army stationed in Yukon as the turnover of maintenance of the Alaska Highway was given to another government department.”
Even people not in Whitehorse can take part in the fun this year thanks to the continuation of online events and public voting.
- Pet Parade & Dog Howling Contest. Check out cute, furry animals dressed to their best in this online gallery of photos and videos. Vote for your favorite in categories including Best Couple and Best Cold Weather Costume. Turn up your volume and listen to dogs let loose before casting your vote for the Best Howler.
- Strength and Style. Who has the best beard in the Yukon? This competition settles that argument. Entrants compete in categories including Best Beard, Best Ink, Hairiest Leg, and Hairiest Armpit Hair. People can also opt to show their strength in a “uniquely Yukon way” to vie for the title of strongest person in the territory.
- Upcycle Fashion Challenge. It’s almost time for spring cleaning, and this competition encourages people to repurpose waste into outfits instead of throwing it away. Contestants will post their finished designs online and have the chance to show it in front of a live panel of judges during the rendezvous’ final weekend.
The Closing Weekend
The final few days of the festival are action-packed. The snow sculptures that carvers have been honing for weeks are on display. There’s a fiddle show, a drag show, a burlesque extravaganza, and the knighting ceremony for Sourdough Sam.
Visitors can get in on the fun by trying their hand at axe throwing and log tossing on the snow pad. Young ones can participate in the KidFest with mini flour packing and a small log toss. Try a hand at snow sculpting with the guidance of a carving mentor.
Learn more about event details at yukonrendezvous.com.