Rendezvous returns to Main Street

If you've ever wanted to hurl a frozen turkey down Main Street, this February you will get your chance. The Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous is reviving its Main Street party as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations this winter.

If you’ve ever wanted to hurl a frozen turkey down Main Street, this February you will get your chance.

The Yukon Sourdough Rendezvous is reviving its Main Street party as part of its 50th anniversary celebrations this winter.

In years past, the festival celebrations were held on the downtown strip, but for most of the past decade the festival’s family attractions and games have been held at Shipyards Park because it got too big for its old home.

“The festival itself has grown substantially in terms of the number of events we host and the number of people who come into Whitehorse for the festival,” said Rendezvous assistant manager Claire Beach. “There are events that we couldn’t throw on Main Street anymore.

“We looked at bringing it back to Main Street, and a perfect compromise is having the street party to celebrate the 50th. If it’s a success maybe it’s something we’ll continue doing in the future,” she said.

The street party will be held on Saturday, Feb. 15 from noon till 4 or 5 p.m. and will include everything from frozen turkey bowling to ping pong ball dropping to a paint war.

Later in the evening, the Frostbite Music Society is co-hosting a concert featuring Vancouver band The Matinee and the yet-to-be-decided winners of this year’s BYTE Battle of the Bands, which will be held in January.

Shipyards Park will still be busy the following weekend with flying chainsaws and flour packing as usual, but Beach said this year the organizers have a lot more going on as well.

“One of the biggest events that we’re excited about is that we have (Saskatoon-based rock band) The Sheep Dogs playing two different shows. The first one is already sold out, but we’re looking at ways we can expand our capacity and maybe sell some tickets at the door. The youth concert is free on the 21st, and Saturday night after the fireworks they’ll be playing the main stage with a few other bands on the 22nd,” she said.

“We also have a 50th birthday party that we’re throwing at the Kwanlin Dun centre on the 21st and that’s going to be huge. (Toronto-based roots rockers) Elliott Brood, who headlined at the Dawson City Music Festival a couple of years ago, is going to be playing at that show, and we’re going to have all sorts of prizes and a mock casino,” Beach said.

The birthday bash is themed as an homage to the culture of 1964, the year the Rendezvous crew became an official society. And what was bigger in the 60s than James Bond?

“We’re calling it Licensed to Thrill. We’re asking people to dress as your favourite Bond or Bond girl or secret agent,” Beach said.

Other major staples of the festival, the Sourdough Queens and Sams contests, will also be in full swing this year, and the Sams even have a new home.

“The Sams events this year, instead of being up at Mount Mac, we are retrofitting the old Trappers Lounge at the Ramada Hotel. We’re going to be taking that over as the Sourdough Sam Saloon and all the Sam events will be hosted there every night from the 14th onwards. It’s going to be pretty amazing,” Beach said.

Last year some of the Sams contestants got themselves into some controversy over erotic shenanigans at the Jarvis Street Saloon and the Roadhouse Bar and Grill. Both bars had their liquor licences suspended for the violations.

Officials from the Yukon Liquor Board wouldn’t go into details about exactly what happened, but the broken rules ban things like table dances, lap dances, touching, the use of animals, props or devices with a sexual connotation, real or simulated acts of violence or the sharing of food between the audience and dancers.

Beach said that this year the organizers will be keeping a tighter leash on things.

“Lets just say there will be a few more hands on deck to throw a blanket on the situation if it pops up,” she said, laughing.

“It’s also good that it will be in our own event space instead of in one of the bars, so we should be able to keep better control over what’s happening,” she said.

The entire festival runs from Friday, Feb. 14 to Sunday Feb. 23. For a full list of events or to purchase tickets, check out

Contact Jesse Winter at

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