As stated in our Toonik Tyme preview, Iqaluit's spring festival is an exciting time in town. Like any county fair or festival, there are the usual community events: concerts and opening ceremonies and a craft sale. But we're not in just any town; this is Iqaluit, and we do things differently! Here are nine things you won't see at any other spring festival (activity in brackets).
1. Kids Trapped in Nets (Outdoor Inuit Games)
The purpose of this game is to be the first one who gets through the net. Note the little sealskin-mitted hand reaching up through the holes. Photo by Ornab Momin.
2. Kids with Replica Guns On Stage (Opening Ceremony)
Too cute. Can't deal. Photo by Ornab Momin.
3. Food Served with an Axe (Closing Feast)
Little girl in photo says, "Polar bear, don't care" (the big hunk of meat is, in fact, frozen polar bear).
4. People Soaked in Seal Blood (Toonik Tyme Fear Factor)
He was only runner-up. Photo courtesy of Toonik Tyme.
5. More Seal Blood (Seal-Skinning Contest)
And you thought Iqaluit had no people.
6. Cute Girls Cutting Char (Closing Feast)
Boasting some fine Arctic fashion as well.
7. Zumba On Ice (Zumba On Ice)
It's Iqaluit - everything is on ice. Photo courtesy of Saimavik Studio.
8. A Snowmobile That Looks Like This (Snowmobile Drag Races)
And sounds like a symphony of BB guns going off inside of an airplane hangar (but it won!). Photo by Taha Tabish (featured holding the bloody seal guts in #4).
9. This True Act of Heroism (Iqaluit to Kimmirut Snowmobile Race)
A moment of seriousness. This year, the big Iqaluit to Kimmirut skidoo race was reinstated at Toonik Tyme. It involves a 120 km ride from the starting point in Iqaluit to the nearest community, Kimmirut, then a 120 km dash back to Iqaluit. It's a dangerous race: competitors are not only driving at over 100 km/h at times, but they have to be wary of things like holes in the ice, bumps in the tundra, and machine problems. The contestants have invested a lot, and they all really, really want to win (the prize is $7000). But none of that prevented 18-year-old Sean Noble-Nowdluk from forfeiting his chance at the win when he stopped to check on an injured racer, eventually turning around and bringing him to the hospital. Fitting that Sean's last name includes the word "noble", eh?