Rankin Inlet’s spring festival scales back to a residents-only event

With COVID-19 risks, ‘council wanted to hold the event as safely as possible,’ SAO says

Contestants in last night’s “Fear Factor Rankin Inlet,” the kick-off to the community’s Pakallak Tyme spring festival, take a break from the dizzying competitions held in the Terence Tootoo arena. (Screen shot/Facebook)

By Jane George

This weekend Rankin Inlet residents will be able to take part in their annual springtime festival.

That’s after a decision by the hamlet council to restrict participation in Pakallak Tyme solely to the community’s roughly 3,500 residents.

“There was a fair amount of discussion,” said senior administrative officer Darren Flynn.

“It’s a tough call to exclude friends and relatives from the region, but council wanted to hold the event as safely as possible. The decision was unanimously made.”

The hamlet council also proclaimed a civic holiday on Friday to coincide with Pakallak Tyme, which is already underway.

When hamlet officials were organizing this year’s festival, they sent their plans to Nunavut’s chief public health officer, Dr. Michael Patterson.

He recommended cancelling or postponing it because it could promote travel by land or air.

Iqaluit’s springtime festival, Toonik Tyme, was cancelled on April 15 due to the COVID-19 outbreak in Iqaluit, which also brought two new cases to Rankin Inlet this month.

Those two residents are in isolation, and masks are now mandatory in Rankin Inlet.

In normal year, Rankin Inlet would welcome people from outside the community to join in Pakallak Tyme events, “but with COVID-19, this is not a normal year,” states a public notice from the council.

“While this is a disappointment to many of us, and council shares in that disappointment, it was the only way Pakallak Tyme could proceed this year,” the council said.

The festivities kicked off Wednesday with “Fear Factor Rankin,” a 40-minute-long ordeal in which contestants had to endure a variety of challenges, including guzzling a rush of pop, twirling around and then dashing up and down an inflatable slide.

Five finalists received prizes ranging from $100 to $500.

Thursday was to bring scavenger hunts, a mini-snowmobile race and target shooting, with snowmobile races scheduled through the weekend, along with a bingo boasting a $15,000 jackpot.

The festival has also asked residents to submit photos marked with the #2021Pakallak hashtag to the hamlet’s Facebook page. The hamlet is seeking, among other things, images of traditional clothing made from newspaper or garbage bags, Pakallak Tyme-themed cakes and snow sculptures.

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(3) Comments:

  1. Posted by Hand Mask on

    “masks are now mandatory in Rankin Inlet.”

    Except for the people in the photo ?

  2. Posted by Confused on

    Why are they allowed to gather when there are cases of covid-19 in the community. Other communities in Nunavut were not allowed to gather even when they had no cases of covid-19.

  3. Posted by Resident on

    As per the first comments: exactly!

    Where are the masks? Where is the social distancing? The people in the photo without masks on- are they members of the same household?
    You couldn’t just stick to radio games, photo contests and possibly some races outdoors?
    It’s a “disappointment” to have had to scale back the festival & not have family and friends from Nunavut come to the community –lots of things are disappointing in life: but we’re in a pandemic right now.
    The hamlet sent Dr. Patterson their plans for the festival and the doctor recommended cancelling or postponing the festival . . . and the hamlet (and community) just went ahead and ignored the chief public health officer’s recommendations. Are you kidding me! We’re in the middle of a pandemic: but hamlet council knows best. Reckless decisions & behaviour.

    It is not just a case of not allowing participants from other communities as a means of keeping the community covid free: there already could be/or still is covid in Rankin right now.

    It’s all about games/contests and the need to win money or some other prize that takes precedent in Nunavut (as usual), despite there being a pandemic.
    Get your priorities straight Rankin Inlet!


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