Organizers promise ‘a lot of new and exciting events’ for 2024 Beavertail Jamboree

The new board members of the Beavertail Jamboree are confident the 2024 edition of the popular Fort Simpson spring carnival will be one of the best to date.

“There is a lot of optimism about this upcoming jamboree,” said director Shawna McLeod. “There’s a lot of new and exciting events taking place, and there’s a lot of collaborations between community members and businesses and organizations who continue to come back year after year.”

This year’s Beavertail Jamboree will run from March 2-10.

The new board was elected in December, and saw McLeod, Ramona Hardisty-Gillis, Derek Squirrel, Ashley Menicoche, Marti Lys and Betty Hardisty join previous board member Mike Squirrel. The board met biweekly through January, and increased the frequency of meetings to once a week in February.

Their efforts have been fruitful, according to McLeod.

“We’re very engaged and having a lot of fun working together, and with that, there’s a lot of new ideas being brought forward to the jamboree,” she said.

The event’s full schedule, announced in mid-February, will feature dozens of new and returning activities throughout the week.

McLeod expects attendance to peak for the sporting events, which were organized in collaboration with Fort Simpson’s recreation department. Those include volleyball, hockey, curling, dodgeball and basketball competitions.

McLeod is also looking forward to the strong man and strong woman competitions, which will be hosted by the local rec centre.

“I’m excited to see who shows up for that, and who will be named the strongest person in Fort Simpson,” she said.

Outside of the sporting events on the schedule, the jamboree will include youth and adult talent shows, a food and craft market, a silent auction, a snowmobile fun run, and some cooking competitions that McLeod will judge with several other community members.

“We have a cake competition and a pizza cook-off,” she said. “I’m excited to taste test for that.”

The schedule also includes a number of traditional Indigenous events, including a joint performance from the Tulita and LKFN drummers, for which McLeod said “there’s a lot of excitement.”

“I think that jamborees in general really kick off the springtime renewal,” she remarked. “People come out of the colder months and the sun returns and people are wanting to gather as communities in a fun and exciting way, and not only within Fort Simpson, but as a whole in the Dehcho region.

“It’s exciting to go out to events and see old friends and to mingle with family members and to have fun doing that in a positive space,” McLeod added. “I think the Beavertail Jamboree just continues to bridge gaps and to get people out and having fun.”

Tom Taylor, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, NWT News/North