Snowking’s Winter Festival is moving ahead as planned, albeit with some uncertainty thanks to the ongoing pandemic.

This year, the festival will be held from March 21-27. Construction on the castle has started within the last week, with a team of about ten workers assembling the structure.

“We’ve got snowblowers in action, we’re putting up walls,” says Snowking president Bill Braden. “We’re making good headway.”

Anyone who wants to take part in the festival this year as a visitor or volunteer will need to show proof of vaccination. As for other rules and restrictions, Braden says it’s too early to make any announcements.

Currently in the NWT, up to 50 people can gather outdoors and up to 25 people can gather indoors, excluding households. Events that would exceed these limits need to be approved in advance via an Application to Vary From Public Health Order Requirements. A health order issued earlier this month, which is set to expire Jan. 21 but could be renewed, further bans “high-risk” activities without exception, like indoor singing, dancing, or playing of wind instruments.

Braden says the team is waiting at least until these new restrictions expire before making any decisions. “It’s a really fluid situation and we’re paying close attention to it.”

Last year, the team was forced to turn the festival into an open-air garden, with no live music or comedy, and limits on the number of people who could gather. The previous year, the festival was cancelled entirely due to the emerging pandemic.

The Snowking team is currently looking for sponsors and volunteers for this year’s event. Interested parties can learn more and get involved by visiting www.snowking.ca. More announcements are soon to come about performances, the carving competition, and other features of the festival.

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