The issue: summer events
We say: give them a chance

Let’s face it, late winter and spring were a big bust.

So much of what we were looking forward to was cancelled, like the Arctic Winter Games, Snowking’s Winter Festival, Super Soccer, class trips, the Long John Jamboree and on and on.

We can blame it all on the darn coronavirus, which came along and threw our lives into a tailspin.

Being resilient Northerners, we adjusted. We washed hands frequently. We stopped holding gatherings and we maintained physical  distance in the few public venues and businesses that remained open. Many of us donned masks.  

It paid off. We kept a lid on the virus with just five cases in the territory and, fortunately, none of them was fatal.

Now we’re in the gradual stages of restoring normalcy, as much as that’s possible. Organizers of seasonal events are doing their level best to give us something to look forward to, even though these occasions won’t necessarily include all the usual features that we’ve grown to love or presented in ways to which we’re accustomed.

The Yellowknife Farmers Market kicked off Tuesday and will be held every Tuesday throughout July, August and into September. There are still plenty of vendors – all required to wear face masks – selling their jams and preserves, baked goods, vegetables, crafts and the like. The outdoor venue has a limit of 75 people at a time who are able to peruse the mostly homegrown and hand-made items for sale. Customers are asked to observe social distancing, of course, and to please not stop and engage in lengthy conversations or indulge in snacks while on site. It doesn’t seem like too much to ask.

Much bigger alterations are in store for the 14th Old Town Ramble and Ride, which kicks off 24 days of activities on Friday. Rather than big gathering in Yellowknife’s historic Old Town, all of this year’s offerings will be online: art shows, musical performances, dancing, storytelling and contests. 

Ramble and Ride co-ordinator Emily Smits said people have asked why the festival couldn’t proceed outdoors as usual. She said the event’s board decided not to risk it due to the uncertainty posed by Covid and “because things can change so quickly.”

We sympathize and understand. 

A similar predicament has befallen the Far North Photo Festival, which will be held for its second year, this time from Sept. 11 to 21. An exhibit of images will be set up at Somba K’e Civic Plaza but the various photography workshops will be available via the internet instead of in-person. 

“It’s going to have a different look, different feel, different vibe, but it’ll be cool,” said Pat Kane, creative director and co-founder of the festival.

That’s our reality in 2020. 

It would be too easy for us to grouse about some summer events having a little less lustre or various inconveniences and limitations due to Covid-19. 

Try to see beyond that. 

We can still get out on the water or go camping or hiking on our own time, but we should be doing all we can to support the initiative and spirit that our fellow city dwellers are showing during these trying and uncertain days, even if it means occasionally waiting in line for our turn or tuning in online. 

Many pleasant experiences still await, even if they’re not in the same mould. 


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