Rankin Inlet celebrates Pakallak Tyme

Snowmobile races, photo competitions draw big interest

McKenna and McKenzie Niviatsiak-Nilaulak of Rankin Inlet sit by the snow castle they made for this past weekend’s Pakallak Tyme in Rankin Inlet. Their creation won the girls $300. (Photo by Terentia Amauyak/Facebook)

By Jane George

Rankin Inlet celebrated the arrival of spring over the weekend with its annual festival, Pakallak Tyme.

The festival was a residents-only celebration this year, to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

Rankin Inlet restricted attendance at Pakallak Tyme to its own residents only, following the COVID-19 outbreak in Iqaluit, which brought two new cases to the community last month.

Pakallak events were scheduled to take place outside or online to prevent any potential spread of the virus as well.

A total of 60 racers were involved in five different categories of snowmobile racing in the festival’s Kivalliq Snow Challenge, with champion Tristen Dias taking home a cheque for $10,000.

For the most part, social distancing was maintained during the races, said Rankin Inlet Mayor Harry Towtongie.

Towtongie and senior administrative officer Darren Flynn both said they hoped the festival fun won’t bring any more cases of COVID-19 to the community.

“We’re trying to tell people to do the right thing because all it takes it to let your guard down,” Flynn said.

Festival organizers encouraged residents to post photos with #2021Pakallak hashtag to the hamlet’s Facebook page. Festival-goers responded with images from the festival’s range of events, including jigging, dressing up traditional-style clothing made from newspaper or garbage bags, Pakallak Tyme-themed cakes, crossdressing and snow sculptures.

“Lock up your husbands because I’m single and ready to mingle! The winner of the races will definitely have my heart,” joked Kris Okpatauyak in a post of himself wearing a dress.

Okpatauyak, one of many who entered in the crossdressing category, picked up $300 for his new look.

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