The Northern Manitoba Trappers' Festival, held annually in The Pas during the third weekend of February, retains the flavour and celebrations of a diverse cultural heritage of the northern pioneer. The skills and activities exemplified by the pioneers are brought to life in a week of events designed to generate sincere and genuine hospitality and friendship found throughout the north.
The Trappers' Festival had its start in 1916 and has continued since, with breaks in the war years and during the Depression. The festival was formally constituted in 1948 and has operated annually since that time.
The major events of the Trapper's Festival continue to be the World Championship Dog Race and the King, Queen and youth Trapper events. The dog races offer over $35,000 in prize money, and opportunities for all categories of mushers. After a mass start in the mornings, the World Championship Dog Race is run in 35 mile heats over three days on farmland adjacent to a public highway which provides excellent access for spectators. The King Trapper events consist of contests based on lifestyle, livelihood and survival of the trapper, including tree falling, wood cutting, wood splitting, canoe packing, flour packing, trap setting, muskrat skinning, tea boiling, bannock baking, moose calling, goose calling and axe throwing. The contests for Queen Trapper and youth are based on the same theme.
Other notable activities are the arts & crafts show, amateur talent show, children's shows, the Fur Queen Competition, senior's events, mini-festivals, parade, pancake breakfasts, tea houses, evening rendezvous and beerfest. Information and souvenirs are available daily at the Trappers' Headquarters. This annual celebration has retained popularity throughout the years due to the warmth of the welcome in the community and the enjoyment of the events and activities.
For more information please contact the Trappers' Festival Headquarters at (204) 623-2912, or visit their website at www.trappersfestival.com
Opaskwayak Indian Days
Like clockwork for the past 30 years, every August, the Opaskwayak Cree Nation hosts northern Manitoba's biggest Indian Days festival. Opaskwayak Indian Days is an elaborate celebration of Cree traditions and cultures that is fast becoming one of the region's more popular summer tourist attractions.
Events are designed with the family in mind and include everything from traditional events such as moose and goose calling to canoe races. Canoe racing is one of the more competitive events.
Anyone with penchant for traditional foods such as Bannock and moose stew won't go hungry during the weeklong celebration. And if it's entertainment you're after, there is no need to look further than Opaskwayak Indian Days. And what could be more entertaining than good fiddle music to bring out the jigger in you. The festival is also home of the Western Canadian Square Dance Championships in which some of the best square dance teams from across the prairies compete for thousands of dollars of prizes.
The flagship event is the Miss Opaskwayak Indian Days Pageant where a young woman is proudly crowned to represent the community of 3,000 at various events throughout the year.
For more information, call the Opaskwayak Indian Days at (204) 627-7070