NEWS

Fort Providence, N.W.T., cancels 40-year-old summer festival

07/30/2013 03:58 EDT | Updated 09/29/2013 05:12 EDT
Mackenzie Days, a popular annual event in Fort Providence, N.W.T. that normally happens over the August long weekend, has been cancelled.

This would have been the 40th year for the festival. Events usually included handgames, jigging contests, canoe races, and bingos.

Leaders in the community say a lack of planning and closed recreation centre were part of the decision to cancel, but one of the biggest concerns was the alcohol that had become synonymous with the event.

Berna Landry helped make the decision to cancel Mackenzie Days this year.

“At the beginning it was good it was fun but as it got bigger and we attracted more people there were more social problems,” she said.

The RCMP says it responded to 43 calls over the three days of the festival last year.

That's a nearly 50 percent increase from 2010.

Almost all were alcohol-related.

“Over the three days in the years previous we had dealt with assaults, we have dealt with impaired drivers, people causing disturbances, mischief complaints and an increase in prisoner count,” said RCMP Cpl. Barry Ledoux.

Chief Joachim Bonnetrouge said he hopes the festival can be revived next year, but it may have to be a smaller cultural event with communities invited to attend and not the big party it has become in recent years.

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