Yellowknife’s Long John Jamboree is just over a month away but one event in particular promises to be bigger than ever.
Organizers of the De Beers Inspired Ice Carving Competition say 13 teams will take part in this year’s event and for the first time ever, it will involve teams from outside of North America.
“We’ve been building towards inviting international competition since we started the competition,” said Keith MacNeill, coordinator of the winter festival’s ice carving event.
“We knew it’d just be a matter of time before we started getting more international interest and now it’s really happening. It’s very exciting.
“We have world champions, we have Olympic champions and we have people who have been carving competitively since the early 1990’s so it’s a very strong field.”
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Altogether, the competition will include six teams from the United States, five teams from Canada (including two from the NWT), a team from Mongolia and a team from Malaysia.
MacNeill says they’ll be competing for bragging rights, a substantial cash prize, medals and recognition from the National Ice Carving Association.
But for a lot of competitors, MacNeill says they’re attracted to Yellowknife’s event because it offers something most competitions don’t.
“One thing that we have going for us is that we’re one of the few ice carving events in the world that uses big blocks of naturally frozen ice while most competitions use manufactured ice.
“Every competition is a little bit different but ours has something special going for it that we’re hopeful and confident will continue to attract the best ice carvers in the world.”
MacNeill says ice will be hand cut and harvested from Yellowknife Bay in early March.
Teams representing the United States have won the last three De Beers Inspired Ice Carving Competitions.
For a full list of competitors, click here.