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Whitehorse Canada Day events cancelled, Adäka festival postponed due to COVID-19 outbreak

Yukon's ongoing COVID-19 outbreak means some big summer events are being cancelled or postponed again this year — including the Adäka Cultural Festival, and Canada Day festivities.

Outbreak in Yukon means some big summer events won't happen as planned

Celebrating Canada Day in Whitehorse in 2017. The local Legion branch has decided to cancel this year's parade and other events because of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. (Philippe Morin/CBC)

Yukon's ongoing COVID-19 outbreak means some big summer events are being cancelled or postponed again this year — including the Adäka Cultural Festival, and Canada Day festivities.

The Royal Canadian Legion Branch 254 in Whitehorse won't be hosting its annual Canada Day parade and celebrations at Shipyards Park on July 1, while the Adäka festival has been put off until later in the summer.

"We were planning on having a parade like we normally would, [and] having a live concert down at Shipyards Park," said Joseph Mewett of the Whitehorse Legion.

"But unfortunately due to the rise in [COVID-19] numbers and things like that, we can't really control the crowds."

This week, the number of COVID-19 cases in Yukon rose to the highest active case count since the start of the pandemic. Many groups and organizations are taking precautions as a result.

Mewett said the local Legion branch has put on Canada celebrations for the last 17 years. They always include a parade and concert with Yukon performers.

Last year's event was virtual and seen on social media. That's not possible this time, Mewett said.

"Unfortunately this year we were planning on a live event and due to the lateness ... there is just not enough time," he said.

Mewett said several local bands were set to perform as part of the celebrations at Shipyards Park.

Adäka rescheduled for August

Meanwhile, Adäka festival organizers also decided that now is not the time to host a big event.

The one-week cultural festival, which showcases First Nations arts and culture and Indigenous performers, was to take place from June 25 to 30. It is now re-scheduled for the end of August. 

Hand games at the Adäka Cultural Festival in 2016. The festival was scheduled to happen later this month after forgoing 2020, but now it's been postponed until August. (Karen McColl/CBC)

"The decision was not made lightly. We have been consulting with our board of directors as well as artists who were confirmed to come," said festival producer Katie Johnson.

"We just came to the conclusion that it's the most responsible thing to do right now."

Johnson said her team will align the program for the new dates of Aug. 27 to Sep. 1. 

This will be the tenth anniversary of the Adäka festival. Last year it was cancelled because of the pandemic.

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