Ollie the Omingmak gets ready to frolic in Cambridge Bay

Western Nunavut hub’s spring festival welcomes back warmer, sunny days

Welcome! Tungasugitsi! Ollie the Omingmak is back as the official muskox mascot of the Omingmak Frolics spring festival in Cambridge Bay. (Photo by Denise LeBleu/Omingmak Frolics Facebook)

By Jane George

With the sun shining well into the night and temperatures hovering around the freezing mark, people in the western Nunavut town of Cambridge Bay are ready to get outside and kick off their annual spring festival.

And, yes, Ollie the Omingmak, the festival’s genial muskox mascot, will be on hand.

When you see a truck like this one from a parade a few years ago, you know you are in Cambridge Bay. (File photo)

The festival’s events got slowly underway on May 3,with a $10,000 bingo, a bazaar on May 4 and, this past weekend, with a teen dance and a kids’ carnival.

But this week, the activities ramp up: every day, there will be outdoor corporate challenges pitting teams from businesses and government offices against each other in competitions such as the tug-of-war. There will also be daily snowmobile races out on the frozen bay and river.

Wednesday brings cultural workshops from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., with Attima and Elizabeth Hadlari, while Thursday features the start of the Ambrose Aknavigak memorial fishing derby on any lake within 50 kilometres of the community. That’s along with more snowmobile racing, cultural workshops and performances, and games.

The not-to-be-missed parade, which usually sees a float decorated like a muskox, takes place on Friday.

On Saturday, there are more snowmobile races scheduled, including some for elders and children, while the day wraps up with a gala featuring Igloolik’s Northern Haze, who are the inspiration for this year festival theme: Omingmak Puyulaqijuk-Omingmak Haze.

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