Snowking, in 'no crisis' this year, launches reverse raffle

 -  - 


Yellowknife's Snowking took the unusual step of declaring "no crisis" as festival organizers launched their latest fundraiser.

The build-up to last year's festival featured a scramble to cover the costs of meeting conditions imposed by the territory's fire marshal.

This year, organizers say a raffle will raise funds to cover the festival's ever-increasing operational costs instead of addressing a specific issue.

Advertisement.

"To help flog fundraising tickets, we usually identify some sort of financial shortfall that needs just the right, raffle-sized plug to stop the leak," said the festival's Mike Mitchell in a news release.

"This year, we’ve been wracking our brains trying our damnedest to concoct just such a crisis, but to no avail."

Winners on opening night

The Snowking Winter Festival, founded and hosted by the Snowking – Anthony Foliot – on Yellowknife Bay each March since 1996, sees a giant castle erected on the ice for visitors to enjoy.

This year's reverse raffle will see organizers sell 200 tickets, at $100 each, which also include an adult season pass for the 2019 festival.

Advertisement.

Tickets, available from organizers or the Down to Earth Gallery, will be drawn in February until only a handful remain – and those remaining participants pick up the prizes. The last remaining ticket will win a grand prize of $2,000.

Those prizes will be awarded on the castle's opening night, March 2.

Mitchell said the proceeds will help to cover the festival's expanding costs, such as a newly created executive director post; wages for the construction crew; and housing visiting acts.

Costs like providing stamped architects' drawings of the new castle design, which can run to thousands of dollars, must also be paid.

"But, as a funding application reviewer disappointingly told us, those are just regular O&M costs," added Mitchell. "So we can’t, in good conscience, call them crises."

The festival's lack of a crisis to beat stands in contrast to the fortunes of the Long John Jamboree, which runs alongside the Snowking Winter Festival for a weekend at a neighbouring site on the bay.

The Jamboree is struggling for cash and volunteers, and will decide in January whether to go ahead with a 2019 event, after high winds wiped out a day of revenues in March this year.

Advertisement.