Only two out of eight of the snow blocks prepared for carvers in the snow carving competition at the 2018 Inuvik Sunrise Festival were used, and both were by the same team.

Donna Johns works diligently on the second sculpture she and Kelcy McDonald completed during the snow carving contest Saturday, Jan. 6.
Stewart Burnett/NNSL photo

Kelcy McDonald and Donna Johns made up the lone entry in this year’s competition.

“Last year the turnout was much better and every block was taken,” said McDonald, who along with Johns won all the prizes available, being the only entrants.

“This year we got down here and we were the only ones. I’m not sure what the difference is.”

But they still went above and beyond. After finishing a carving of an Inuvialuit man muskrat trapping, the pair figured they still had time to do a second piece and completed a lady drum dancing.

“We’ve done it for a few years and we finished the first one and thought we had enough time to do a second one, so we just went at ‘er,” said McDonald.

They’ve been carving at the festival for four years and have also taken part in an Aklavik carving competition.

“When we first started, we had a sketch,” said Johns about how the pair come up with their designs. “This year we didn’t sketch or anything, we just carved.”

McDonald said the hardest part is transforming a vision into reality, but there’s lots of room for improvisation and going with the flow.

She encouraged more people to take part.

Recreation coordinator Steve Krug seemed somewhat dismayed at the lack of participation.

“In previous years we’ve had waiting lists and sponsors take part,” he said. “This year, I really don’t know what happened, but maybe just the burnout from after Christmas. It is what it is.”

Next year, he’s considering raising the prize money or finding a master carver to teach some apprentices to generate more interest in the activity.

“Having only two out of eight is a little disheartening, but they’re here, they’re nice,” said Krug. “People are going to like them, take pictures with them.”

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