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Quick Guide to Long John Jamboree

What thrills me the most about the Long John Jamboree is the enthusiasm the board and all the volunteers have for the events. Year over year the Jamboree gets strong and better. Winter festivals are a time to celebrate the coming of spring and they have been happening for as long as Yellowknife has been around, so grab your kids, grab your wife, grab your hats and mitts and let’s get this thing started.

Long John Jamboree details: It’s at the end of March. For full details about the event visit their website

To fully maximize your fun time at the Jamboree I have tried to compile a guide to the Jamboree. If of course you see something worth adding, you let me know below in the comments.


How to dress

Well I did write the “How to Survive Winter in Yellowknife Guide” and in that it does cover the essentials of dressing for winter. I will however note a couple specific to the Jamboree. From year to year the weather can range quick a lot. Some years it can be a bitter cold, while other years things can practically be melting. My advice is to always dress in layers. Layering is essential for winter dressing and allows you to quickly adjust to whatever temperature is at hand. I will however also mention that where the Jamboree site is located on Yellowknife Bay, if there is southern wind you best watch out. Sunglasses are also a good accessory. It does get bright down there on the ice.

Remember to check the weather conditions on Environment Canada.

Long John Jamboree Day 1

Food to eat

There is a food tent down at the Jamboree site that features some of Yellowknife’s more unique food vendors. If you are coming down to the Jamboree site for the afternoon remember to bring some cash for some grab. Oh, and the Sugar Shack, because everyone needs some maple syrup on a stick.

For the adults there is also the Brrr Garden.

Events to watch for

There is always something going on down at the Jamboree site but it is good to know the schedule ahead of time and know when the big events are taking place.

  • Roughneck Relay – Tea boiling? Log sawing?
  • Northern Music Showcase – An event packed with Northern talent.
  • Northern Sled – Who has crafted the best sled for the epic hill?
  • Minute To Win It – Do you have what it takes?
  • Dene and Inuit Games – Take in the culture of the north with these game demonstrations.
  • Skijoring Race – Which team will have the partnership to win?
  • Server Relay – A most epic battle of the most epic of customer service.

There will also be the Dog Derby starting every day at 1pm, Ice Fishing tours, Twin Otter Tours and an Iglu Building competition.

For the kids there is always a handful of events including storytelling, crafts and face painting and a magic show.

To find out about all of the events go to and look at the official schedule.

Long John Jamboree 2013

How best to view the Ice Carvings

Here is what I have learned over the years. Between today and Saturday the carving teams will be working on their carvings right down on the Jamboree site. While you’re on the grounds you can watch them work away to perfect this sculptures. On Sunday you can head down and view the finished work. The ultimate time to view the carvings though is at night (or in the evening) when they are backlit and beautiful. So plan on taking a walk through Saturday evening after Fire and Ice.

Long John Jamboree 2013

How to watch the Fire & Ice

Fire & Ice is one part music, one part burn and one part fireworks all on Saturday night. The music starts playing at 7pm at the Jamboree site, the Burn on the Bay, where a large wooden structure is burned, will be at 8:30pm and the fireworks show will be at 9pm.

Things to note about watching this event, specifically things we can learn from last year, walking is easier than trying to drive closer. This year the burn object is much closer but I suspect there will still be parking and vehicle issues out on the ice. If you plan to walk, dress warm, but you’ll be better off and avoid the traffic congestion after the show. And sometimes the best place to view both the burn and fireworks is from farther back, or up on a hill.

Long John Jamboree 2013

What else to watch for

There will be several other things happening throughout the weekend so make sure you plan to see it all

  • Snowking Festival – Still going strong there will be events and exhibits at the Snow Castle throughout the weekend. Check out
  • 150 Canadian Championship Dog Derby – Mass start each day (Friday-Sunday) at 1pm in between the Snow Castle and Dettah Ice Road.

Check out the full Jamboree schedule here. If all else fails, put your long johns on and just have a chillin good time.


Second Long John Jamboree done with Photos

The second annual Long John Jamboree started and finished this weekend with a gust of chilling wind. I want you to picture yourself standing on meter thick ice. Then I want you to imagine hundreds of other people on the ice with you, along with their vehicles, numerous tents and some world-famous ice carvers. What you are imagining is the Long John Jamboree for another year.

After some milder weather earlier in March, like true fashion the chilling temperatures and brisk wind was back but in true form, Yellowknifers weren’t letting this get in the way of their weekend. Now, in all honesty, it would have been nicer if it hadn’t been as cold and many did probably stay home this weekend but the grounds were still bustling with people.

Long John Jamboree 2013

This years jamboree once again tried to bring fresh ideas to a winter festival, infused with some historical treasures. This year the Caribou Carnival King and Queen were brought back in the form of Lord and Lady Long John, which went to the two people who sold the most raffle tickets.

Long John Jamboree 2013

Besides the ongoing activities that happened throughout the three days of the jamboree, it was Saturday night that really showed me the spirit of the community. The newest attraction to the shores of Great Slave Lake, the Big Burning Thing, brought out a large number of people. So many people, that Yellowknife Bay turned entirely into a parking lot – I’m also guessing it broke the record for most vehicle stuck at one time in one place. The structure that was made from pallets was slowly engulfed in flames as people enjoyed the show. Soon after the fire on ice, it was time for fire in the sky – fireworks.

Long John Jamboree 2013

The final moment of Saturday evening that really – I don’t know – made me feel all happy about the community was when people – after watching the fireworks – walked through the jamboree grounds and admired the finished ice carvings, that had been nicely lit up. It was like Christmas.

Long John Jamboree 2013

I have seen first hand how much time and effort goes into making an event like this happen. Without the willingness of the board and all the volunteers it just wouldn’t happen. So I thank them, but I also thank the people of Yellowknife who came out to the event. This event represents the end of a long winter as if we are all coming out of hibernation.

So tell me! What was your favourite moment of the second annual Long John Jamboree?


Long John Jamboree 2013 Schedule

The day is upon us where the great people of Yellowknife – and those visiting – take a moment and put on their long johns (read: you don’t have to wear long johns to attend) for the second annual Long John Jamboree.

The jamboree kicks off today – well at least the Ice Carvers start today – with the big festivities to come starting at noon on Friday, March 15, 2013. All the action will be down on the ice of Yellowknife Bay, right beside the Snowking’s Castle.

Long John Jamboree ScheduleYou can download the PDF version of the 2013 schedule here – – or you can view the three day schedule below. If you click on any of the day it will enlarge.

           ljj_schedule_friday          Friday            Saturday

Watch out for daily updates, photos and good stuff from me here on or Twitter or Facebook.


Wave Walkers Inspired Ice Competition Time Lapse

If you noticed while at the Long John Jamboree, the father/son team from Indiana had a camera and tripod setup the entire time they were carving their winning piece. That camera was taking photos every couple minutes and continued to do so the entire weekend.

By the end of the weekend Stephan and Mike Koch had a time lapse of themselves carving the ice block. This is the video they made.


Long John Jamboree 2012 Poll

Long John Jamboree Snow Race

Over a 1000 vehicles were parked on Yellowknife Bay at one point during the Long John Jamboree. I think we may have broken a record with that one,thankfully we didn’t break the ice.

Regardless, like I have said several times already, the Jamboree was amazing and a lot of fun. I want to know though, which part of the Jamboree was your favourite part. Below you can check your top 5 favourite things. If I missed something, add it into the comments below.

[poll id=”8″]



Long John Jamboree 2012 Day 3 Photos

Well it is done for 2012. The Long John Jamboree was a huge success and a whole lot of fun, for a whole lot of people.

I know I enjoyed myself and ran into many people who were thrilled to have a winter festival to attended again.

It was a great and emotional closing by Cory Vanthuyne today and in the coming days I can’t wait to share my full thoughts on the jamboree. Enjoy photos from day 3.

Long John Jamboree 2012 Day 3

Long John Jamboree 2012 Day 3

Long John Jamboree 2012 Day 3

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Long John Jamboree 2012 Day 2 Photos

More vehicle could be found on Yellowknife Bay than anywhere else in Yellowknife yesterday afternoon, it was crazy. I don’t think Yellowknife Bay has ever seen that much action at one time.

Despite the wicked wind and overcast weather a very large turn out came out for Saturday’s Long John Jamboree festivities. There was so much was going on it was hard to get bored. Dene Hand Games, Terriers and Tiaras, the Klondike Girls, Photo Exhibit, all the food, Ugly Dog & Truck Contest, Snowboarding and more and more and more. Of course the Ice Carvers continued working away and really helped center – figuratively and literally – the Jamboree around one big event.

Long John Jamboree Day 2

Long John Jamboree Day 2

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Day 3 has lots going on too. Media vs. MLA Trivia, Servers Relay and more. I’ll see you down there.


Long John Jamboree 2012 Day 1 Photos

Day 1 of the Long John Jamboree was in my eyes a wild success. There was so much going on and the crowd just seemed to keep growing. From the Ice Carvers to the corporate challenge and the flaunt your skivvies fashion shop, it was all a blast.

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Now on to Day 2!


Long John Jamboree 2012 Schedule

It is the eve of the 1st annual Long John Jamboree and the schedule is still being worked on. There will be so many cool things happening this weekend that the organizers are having a hard time fitting them all in.

Nonetheless those they have a working schedule that will guide you through the week. There will be a Teddy Bear Hospital, Handgame Tournament, Snowmobile Rides, Music, Food and oh so much more.

Slip into those long john (not necessary for visiting the jamboree) and come down to Yellowknife Bay, between the Snow Castle and the Government Boat Launch.

Long John Jamboree Schedule

Click to download the PDF Version

The schedule maybe updated as they go, so before you go down to the grounds check back and download the latest version.

I’ll see you down there!


City of Yellowknife’s Live Right Now Challenge

Here is the thing, I dropped the ball on helping promote the first round of the Live Right Now challenge the City of Yellowknife (yes that means us residents too) was participating in.

City of Yellowknife Live Right Now

The good news however, is that Yellowknife has made it to the finals, but the competition is not over yet. CBC’s Live Right Now challenge blog has more details here:

Moving forward, there is one more step to take before we name the Live Right Now Capital of Canada. Each of the semifinalists will be asked to organize a community event that showcases their spirit and dedication to living healthier, active lives.

This timing could not be more perfect! This coming weekend is the first annual Long John Jamboree down on Yellowknife Bay, so in partnership with them, we are going to show Canada how active we are.

All you have to do is when you go down to the jamboree grounds, Yellowknife Bay beside the Snow Castle, on Saturday, March 24, 2012 is pick up a pedometer from the City of Yellowknife tent and record all your walking around at the jamboree, maybe walk out to the ice road and back if you can ;). You can also take part in other festivities there as well, which they can tell you more out then.

So Yellowknife, let’s get active and make this happen. You can start showing your support by “Liking” the City of Yellowknife Live Right Now Facebook Page.