A major event is the mid-August Autumn Festival. Not quite as big as the Easter Festival, but it does feature something as dramatic as snow scooter racing on the river. Since snow scooters are rather heavy (built to run on snow, not on water), they must have good speed unless they wish to sink. And the river has many turns. This event has also found its way to the Guinness Book of World Records.
2005 event takes place August 26-27, and concerts will be outdoor at Buletjavre.
The Easter Festival is probably the cultural highlight of the year. Every Easter, the festival brings the town to life with reindeer-racing, ski-doo-racing and live music, including the Sámi Grand Prix, which is a Sámi version of the Eurovision Song Contest.
2006 event is set to April 10-17.
This is more than just a silvergallery. The house contains the first small collection of older Lap utensils. They display a fine selection of Nordic art in a variety of materials which are offered for sale. They also display their collection of arts and crafts from a global perspective.
The house is a architectonic jewel with a very special atmosphere. There is a small Cafe selling refreshments. I recommend to join their free guided tours around the house.
The 'mountain cabins' in the Kautokeino area are not what one might imagine thinking of high peaks and pointed rocks. These cabins are used by the reindeer herders as a 'base' for their herd watching trips and often become a 'party party' location for the whole family or for guests during the winter and especially Easter time, when the holiday brings the sons and daughters of the area back home from all over the country and world.
When we visite, we stayed in the cabin of a friend's counsin. His mother and grandmother cooked reindeer 'buljon' (maybe the wrong spelling, but I still remember the dish as a thick and very tasty soup of reindeer meat and vegetables, such as poatatoes and carrots). The wine came on the table much later, when the mother and the grandmother left the table and the house. Some old people are still very peculiar when it comes to alcohol consumption. It is the Lutheran or the Læstadian upbringing and the bad experience of alcoholism in many Northern families.
A beautiful museum of Sami traditional handicrafts and books about the Sami, combined with an exciting exibition of art and carpets from Afghanistan, a coffee shop, a chicken 'zoo' (inside the museum! not joking!), an arts and crafts shop, a silver workshop... So many things combined into one! And so cosy! And such a wonderful view over the neighbouring area!
This is Juhl's Gallery: a chest box of beautiful things, but also of history. At Juhl's they also have a comprehensive collection of old books about the Sami in many languages, as well as a collection of Sami traditional household objects.
The owners of the place are not Sami, and not even Norwegian, so their collections, and the art and jewlery workshop, and their interest in Sami culture have been at times accused of having only a profit-making purpose.
N.B. During Easter there is always a classical music concert with free entrance in Juhl's Gallery!
Approximately in the middle of june every year, the entire village "and then some" take their walking stick and/or bicycles to the annual hike/bicycle run. You register at the start (yes, this costs money), have your card stamped at the end station, and return the card back at the starting point. Hikers go a total of 8 km (4 km each way), bicyclers ride a total of 14 km (7 km each way). There is no time limit beyond everything taking place between 10am and 8pm.
10% of the ticket price goes to charity, while the remaining 90% goes to bicycles that are given out as the main prizes. All participants who complete the trip take part in the draw for the bicycles and other prizes donated by local companies. Consequently, some participants go 2 or even 3 times.
The end stations at 4 and 7 km from the starting point sell coffee, waffles, sodas and hot dogs.
With its stable and dry climate, and pretty much the correct latitude, Guovdageaidnu is probably THE prime spot for watching the northern lights. Imagine my surprise when I could see the sky covered by this beautiful phenomena when I came out of Alfreds Kro in the beginning of September!
This shot was taken on an ASA 200 film at 20 seconds. I hear that I get it much better with an ASA 1000 film at 1/8th of a second.
The following night, I discovered that all I had to do to see this was look out of my bedroom window.
Round the end of August, more specifically the weekend after the Fall festival, the Sikfestival - or White Fish Festival - includes fishing competition in the river, white fish dishes, yoik-and-roll concerts, and general socializing.
Easter is a time of the year when all Sami gather home and share with their families a cheerful time. At Easter time, in Kautokeino, everbody goes to the Reindeer Race and to the Music Festival.
Although "just a church", the church in Kautokeino has become known for its architecture. Truly, it is beautiful.