North

Yellowknife jamboree cancelled due to COVID-19 for second year in a row

The Long John jamboree, once a fixture of the spring events calendar in Yellowknife, has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to COVID-19, organizers announced Sunday.

Long John Jamboree normally brings 3 days of festivities to city in March

Children enjoying the Sugar Shack, a popular attraction at Yellowknife's annual Long John Jamboree, in 2016. The event has been cancelled for the second year in a row due to COVID-19. (Long John Jamboree)

Yellowknife's Long John Jamboree, once a fixture of the spring calendar, has been cancelled for the second year in a row, organizers announced in a Facebook post Sunday.

"This decision was a difficult one," the post reads. "However, due to the measures still in place due to COVID-19, we are unable to safely provide the type of event that the public would like to see and that we would like to bring forward."

The festival normally attracts visitors from across Canada and around the world for live music, local food and ice carving competitions, held on the frozen waters of Great Slave Lake.

But organizers said some of those events rely "heavily on … international travel" and confined spaces such as tents where guests can stay warm in frigid March temperatures.

"We want to ensure all of Yellowknife, we are not going anywhere!" the notice reads. "We plan to be back out on the ice in 2022."

It's the second time in a row the jamboree has been cancelled, with the 2020 edition among the first events to be cancelled in the North due to the pandemic.

At the time, organizers were hopeful the event could be revived in 2021, which marks a decade since it first started.

"Next year is our 10th anniversary and we are going to ramp things up!" the event's 2020 cancellation notice read. "We are going to work together throughout the next year to be able to hold the best jamboree you have seen yet!"

The festival has had a rough few years. In 2019, the festival was forced to relocate because of unseasonably warm temperatures that made the lake ice wet and dangerous.

The previous year, the festival lost an estimated $10,000 in revenue after high winds on Great Slave Lake forced it to close down for an afternoon.

Even 2017 was not without an incident. That year, an out-of-control snowmobile crashed into a tent and started a small fire, which was quickly extinguished.

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