Yukoners to celebrate local fur industry this weekend

'We need to get back to celebrating the fact that we have a really important connection to fur in our Yukon culture.'

'UnFURled' involves a marketplace and 'fur ball' on Saturday in Whitehorse

Christine Prescott and Kelly Milner are the organizers of 'unFURled', a new initiative to promote the Yukon fur industry. A fur marketplace and fur ball will happen at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre on Saturday. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

Yukoners from all over the territory will be celebrating the local fur industry in Whitehorse this weekend.

"We need to get back to celebrating the fact that we have a really important connection to fur in our Yukon culture," said Kelly Milner, organizer of the new initiative, unFURled.

UnFURled will hold a fur market at the Kwanlin Dün Cultural Centre on Saturday, with more than 50 local vendors selling over 500 fur crafts and pelts. Items such as wolf fur gloves, moccasins, fur jewelry and other goods will be on sale at prices ranging from $10 to $1,500.

All of the proceeds will to go directly to the artisans and trappers selling the products.

The Saturday event will have an educational component for those who want to learn about the trapping industry. There will be opportunities to speak to local trappers about the trade. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

"The fur industry is, in the Yukon, a highly regulated industry," said Christine Prescott, the organizer of the unFURled marketplace. "It's sustainable and humane, and we are hoping to teach people about that as well."

There will be booths at the event where people can speak to the trappers and hear their stories and learn more about the Yukon fur industry. 

There will also be crafting tables where visitors can sew part of a fur quilt that will be later sent to Nunavik, Nunavut, and N.W.T., where more fur will be added. The quilt will ultimately be sent back to Yukon where it will be put on display.

"It's not a big economy in our territory but it's a very important one," said Milner.

Trappers and artisans from as far away as Old Crow and Mayo will be at the marketplace from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

More than 500 items will be on sale. Profits will go directly to the local vendors. (Jackie McKay/CBC)

After the market there will be a "Fur Ball" from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., where people are encouraged to wear their best fur items. The ticketed event will include a fur fashion show, dancers, and live music.

"It's been really exciting to see how enthusiastic people are about reconnecting and celebrating our Yukon fur history and the current industry," said Milner.

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