Sunday, June 20, 2010

The beer barge cometh

Who cares about the summer solstice? In Yellowknife, beginning of summer is marked by the arrival of the beer barge!

What is the beer barge, you ask? Well, back in the olden days (before the highway reached all the way to Yellowknife), most goods were barged across Great Slave Lake. The lake, of course, freezes during the winter. Prospecting and mining being thirsty work, liquor supplies usually ran out by late winter or early spring. So Yellowknifers waited for spring break up . . . and that first barge across the lake carried a much-anticipated shipment of beer.

Last year, the NWT Mining Heritage Society resurrected the tradition by re-enacting the arrival of the barge and holding a fab barbecue with live music . . . and beer! Members of the society - and others - wear costumes, and a good time is had by all.

Yesterday marked the 2010 arrival of the beer barge (photo above). Below is a shot of some "authentic Yellowknifers" stepping off the boat, with the contestants for best costume in the bottom photo.

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