The 40th annual K’amba Carnival kicks off this Thursday, March 3 and organizers have put together an intense schedule of events.
Diane Tourangeau, chair of the organizing committee said the carnival will start with a fire feeding ceremony at lunchtime at noon on Thursday.
Later in the day, the children’s talent show will take place where the young’uns will compete to see who is most talented in singing, jiggling and fiddling. Three age categories will be up for grabs for the 10 and under, 11 to 14 and 15 to 17.
The same day will also include the crowning of the carnival’s Queen, Prince and Princess.
On Friday the children’s outdoor events will take place beginning at 12.
“We also have a $10,000 bingo on Friday to cover all the expenses of the carnival,” Tourangeau said.
“Once the bingo is over, then we usually have a drum dance.”
Into the weekend, the adult talent show will take place on Saturday featuring men and women’s singing and men and women and 50 plus categories for jigging. There will be open fiddling competition as well.
“Usually we have a country and western dance after that,” Tourangeau said.
Sunday will feature indoor events, including the awarding of prizes and trophies for dog mushers and best bushmen and women. Most of the indoor events will be organized by Andy McKay, director of recreation for K’atlodeeche First Nation.
“We also do our draw for a raffle on Sunday because we have a raffle for the queen, the prince and the princess who will be selling tickets,” Tourangeau explained. “That’s our other fundraiser, too.
“Last year because the carnival was online, everything, including the raffle draw, was online.”
Most people reached by the Hub recently were excited about Tourangeau chairing the organization committee because she has a long history with the K’amba Carnival.
She and her uncle Frank started the K’amba Carnival in 1982 after Hay River’s former Ookpik Festival folded.
This year, she is overseeing a committee of Sharon Pekok vice-chair, Andy Mckay rec liaison, and several important volunteers like Victoria Martel, Rosie Heron, Alida McKay and Faye Johns.
The committee has been meeting every Tuesday and Thursday in recent weeks to prepare for a memorable 2022 carnival.
“I think 40 years has been a long haul and it’s been good,” Tourangeau said. “It’s a fun thing where people get together. If you haven’t seen people for a while, you get to meet people and usually people are happy to see one another.
“We’ve always had good turnouts and the prizes are really good too for all the events.”
Pekok, who has volunteered with the carnival for more than 20 years, including as an employee with the band office, said the commitment of volunteers and the community is owed to the continued legacy of the carnival.
“I think it takes dedication of the people that started this,” Pekok said. “Diane Tourangeau was one of the original people that started it with about six or eight people.
“One of the things that stands out for me is that we’re basically the first carnival that starts off the spring every year. We’ve always been the first March weekend and after that everybody else falls into place with their (carnivals). Simpson, Smith and then the carnivals continue all the way up north.
“People come and they just like the carnival because it’s the break from winter to spring.”