Inuvik celebrates return of the sun with household-centred events

·2 min read
The sun rose in Inuvik, N.W.T., 2 weeks ago, about a month after the last sunset. The town will hold its annual Sunrise Festival this weekend, after delays due to rising COVID-19 cases in the community.  (David Thurton/CBC - image credit)
The sun rose in Inuvik, N.W.T., 2 weeks ago, about a month after the last sunset. The town will hold its annual Sunrise Festival this weekend, after delays due to rising COVID-19 cases in the community. (David Thurton/CBC - image credit)

The sun came back to Inuvik two weeks ago, and now the community's annual Sunrise Festival is catching up, after changes to the schedule to accommodate precautionary measures for COVID-19.

A modified schedule of events is going ahead this weekend.

"We're going to make sure that the physical health is maintained by not having gatherings or events that bring people together," said the town's tourism director, Jackie Challis.

"But we've tried to put in a few events that could still support the mental health of people staying in their bubble and staying home and still celebrate the return of the sun."

For example, on Friday, Challis's team delivered 200 lantern kits to households that registered for a lantern event.

Families will assemble the lamps over the weekend, and on Sunday night volunteers will hold what Challis called a "reverse parade."

Photographers and videographers will follow a set route and schedule around town capturing images of families with their lanterns. Festival organisers will put the images together and share them on social media.

Challis is encouraging people to wear traditional clothing.

"What they will see is just what's in their own yard," said Challis. "But what we hope is that when we put them together, people can see that … they're actually part of a much bigger showcase of celebrating light and celebrating families.

Phillippe Morin/CBC
Phillippe Morin/CBC

Every year the fireworks are a huge draw, with people often coming in from surrounding communities.

This year, with travel in and out of Inuvik restricted under orders from the Office of the Chief Public Health Officer, Challis says they're planning to share the fireworks live on Facebook.

For folks in Inuvik, Challis says they can stay in their vehicles.

"No one gets out of their truck. You stay in your family," she said. "But again, it's just 30 minutes of light and just celebration and something fun to look forward to."

Details of all the events for the festival can be found on the the Inuvik Sunrise Festival Facebook page.

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