Vacation Bulletins, Summer 1998
The Summer Calendar
By Stephanie Gregory
Winnipeg International Children's Festival
Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Even parents are held spellbound by the Winnipeg International Children's Festival. Set on the banks of the Red River in The Forks, a national historic park in downtown Winnipeg, the festival hosts dancers, singers, storytellers, and children's performers from the far corners of the world, including China and Zimbabwe. For hands-on types, there are dozens of
interactive workshops such as hat making, paper making, puppet making, kite making, and plain old merrymaking. Admission is $10 for adults and children. Call 204-958-4730 for information.
National Tom Sawyer Days
To get a leg up on your competition at the National Tom Sawyer Days, reread the Mark Twain classic and pay close attention to the wonders that Tom holds in his pockets — it may win you first place at the National Fence Painting Competition. Dressed in their best Tom Sawyer garb (some even carry a live fish on the end of a fishing pole), 11- to 13-year-old boys
race to the end of a Hannibal street, where they grab a brush and paint a miniature picket fence. The winner is judged on costume accuracy, speed, and fence-painting thoroughness. Though the contest is for boys only, girls can outdo them in watermelon seed spitting and bubble blowing at the Tomboy Sawyer Contest. The event is free for everyone. Call 573-221-2477 for more
Oatman Route 66 Egg Fry
Every Fourth of July in the 115-degree heat of high noon you can find plenty of fried eggs in Oatman — but unless you don't mind a particularly asphalty tang, don't count on eating one. Using every solar method known to science, teams of three crack an egg onto Route 66 and try to cook it within a 15-minute time limit. But no matter how you fry it, the egg must
be prepared sunnyside up. The entry fee is $10. Call 520-768-6222.
Mississippi River Log Boom
July 31-August 2
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Proud of having the reputation for the "loneliest beer tent at any Wisconsin festival," the American Lumberjack Championships at Log Boom focuses on history and athleticism rather than hops. Set on an island in the middle of the Mississippi River, the festival features world-class competitions in all aspects of lumberjacking, as well as markets where potters,
spinners, weavers, and furniture makers display their craft. There's a special log-rolling tank along with a Paul Bunyan Playground where kids can practice tree climbing, sawing, and braying like Babe the Blue Ox. Adults pay $7 per day; kids under 12 are free. Call 608-782-1003.
Crop Over Festival
Founded during the eighteenth century, this celebration began as stoic thanksgiving for the sugarcane harvest. However, in typical island fashion, the festival has turned into an impressive display of Calypso dancing, costumed extravagance, and fireworks. Crowds 50,000 strong watch adult dancers in the Pic-O-De-Crop Calypso competition, but kids can show their stuff
during the Kiddie Kadooment (Bajan for "big fuss"), a carnival-like parade of over-the-top glittery costumes. For information on the five-week festival, which runs from June 28 to August 4, contact the Barbados Board of Tourism (800-221-9831).
All-American Soap Box Derby
If your son or daughter has visions of becoming the next Mario Andretti, the All-American Soap Box Derby is the launchpad. Each August, racers ages nine to 16 who have qualified in regional races meet on the hilly terrain of Akron to race their gravity-powered kit cars on a 954-foot track. Kids also get to be kids at Derbytown — a quasi Olympic Village where the
racers swim, ride horses, and commiserate with fellow contestants until the games begin. Spectator admission is $5. Call 330-733-8723 for information.
Great Klondike Outhouse Race
Dawson City, Yukon, Canada
Outhouses disguised as airplanes, Crayola crayons,
the Gilligan's Island crew, slices of pizza, and colorful bathroom-humor themes storm the streets of Dawson City during the town's fiercely competitive Great Klondike Outhouse Race. Teams of five, with four racers pushing via specially welded handles on the back and front of the outhouse and one racer sitting on the throne, wheel it along a 1.86-mile course while hundreds of
spectators cheer wildly from the sidelines. Competitors who take the race seriously, like Dawson City's own "White Lightning" (the winningest team of all time), shun elaborate costumes and race their unadorned plywood structure through town devoid of frivolous distractions — they're only interested in speed. This year's entry fee is $75 per team. Outhouse rental is $50.
For additional information on viewing or entering the race, call 403-993-5575.
Illustrations by Laura Scandrett
Copyright 1998, Outside magazine