Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous marked by spring warmth

Temperatures reached as high as six Celsius on the closing day of the Sourdough Rendezvous in Yukon, but the warm weather didn't dampen the spirits of visitors to the festival.

Unseasonable temperatures characterize winter festival

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      The Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous wrapped up on Sunday in Whitehorse, and the hottest topic on the minds of festival-goers is the city's unseasonable warmth.

      Kim Harper, a long-time resident of the Yukon, says that a winter carnival with spring weather may be strange, but that doesn't mean it was necessarily bad. 

      "It makes it much nicer to stand here and take part in everything," she says. "I suppose it's a little harder on the ice sculptures, though."

      Originally titled Yukon Carnival Week, the winter festival began in 1945 as an effort backed by the International Trade Union. After a hiatus, it was resurrected in 1962 and given its current name, Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous. 

      The Rendezvous was described as "a gathering of Northern people to let off steam generated during the long, dark days of winter."

      Temperatures in 1962 reached lows of -37.5 degrees Celsius. This year, temperatures during the festival's closing day were as high as six degrees. 

      This year, the festivities included snow carving, a hockey tournament, performers from the North and South, fireworks and a parade down Whitehorse's Main Street.

      The festival also played host to some unique competitions, such as the flour pack contest, which was won by Karina Watson, who lives in Old Crow, Yukon.

      Watson carried 589 pounds, or 267 kilograms, almost 9 feet (2.7 metres) in a metal frame backpack.

      "You're strapped in, you just feel your whole spine compress," she says of the experience. "And you wonder: 'why am I doing this?'"

      The men's winner, Brent Eby, carried 711 pounds, or 322 kilograms, for 50 feet (15 metres).