Winter Festivals & Events

Fun in the freezin' season

Inuvik celebrates the return of the sun in January of each year. After 30 days of twilight, it is time to celebrate. By March, where days are longer, every hamlet and town in the Northwest Territories feels the need for a spring break. Dogteam races, snowshoe races and snowmobile races are featured along with plenty of bannock, stew, and hot tea. Visitors are welcome to bundle up and join in. Yellowknife celebrates in late March, with the Long John Jamboree. In Hay River, the Kamba Carnival draws champion dog teams from across the north. Traditional hand games tournaments and jigging contests are popular. 


JANUARY 2017

SUNRISE FESTIVAL
Inuvik, January 8 - 10
(867) 777-8618
http://www.trulyarctic.ca/
An annual celebration of the return of the sun to the community. Bonfire and fireworks on the Saturday closest to the sunrise.

KOLE CROOK FIDDLE ASSOCIATION JANUARY JAMBOREE
Fort Simpson, January
Eighth Annual mid-winter traditional fiddling Jamboree!

CRAFTS AND FINE ART WORKSHOPS
Fort Smith, year-round
(867) 872-2859
Traditional and contemporary crafts and fine art workshops run throughout the year at the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre. Please call for more details and dates.


FEBRUARY 2017

ARCTIC IMAGE FESTIVAL
Inuvik, late February
arcticimageFest@gmail.com
arcticimagefestival.com
Celebrate images from the Arctic (north of the Arctic Circle and Nunavut). Images captured in photos and short videos will be featured during the festival. Competition is open to everyone and has professional, amateur, and youth categories.

CABIN FEVER MUSIC FESTIVAL
Yellowknife, February
musicnwt.ca
This event brings Yellowknife musicians together for a great mid-winter music festival.


MARCH 2017

SNOWKING WINTER FESTIVAL
Yellowknife, month of March
(867) 669-1571
snowking.ca
Celebrating its 22nd year, come visit the snow castle on Yellowknife’s Back Bay and stay for art exhibits, live music, a film festival, family events, a hockey tournament and great hot chocolate throughout the month. Open 12 pm to 5 pm daily, with weekend evening events. Check the website for schedule details.

END OF THE ROAD MUSIC FESTIVAL
Inuvik, mid-March
(867) 678-5426
Come down to the Midnight Sun Complex and to Jim Koe Park to enjoy two fantastic days of music, dancing, and festivities.

FITZ-SMITH THEBACHA LOPPET
Fort Smith, First Saturday in March, annually
thebacha.loppet@gmail.com
zone4.ca
The Thebacha Loppet is a spring classic ski tour for skiers of all ages and abilities. Its a great family event with everyone from Jackrabbits and grannies to four time Olympians and national team members participating. The full loppet is approx. 30 km with shorter loops from several check points along the route.

FROZEN DOG FILM FESTIVAL
Yellowknife, March
(867) 669-1571
Part of the SnowKing Winter Festival. Come down to the castle for the 13th annual Frozen Dog Film Festival. Brought to us by Western Arctic Moving Pictures.

K’AMBA WINTER CARNIVAL
Hay River, early March
(867) 874-6701
A family weekend full of activities with something for everyone — children and adult talent shows, dogsled races, outdoor activities, raffles, hand games and lots of prizes.

BEAVERTAIL JAMBOREE
Fort Simpson, March
(867) 695-3300
Beavertail Jamboree is held in Fort Simpson annually in early March. Participating in the regional winter carnival featuring snowmobile races, traditional games, youth activities, talent shows, dances, sports and entertainment.

WOOD BUFFALO FROLICS/MUFFALOOSE DAYS
Fort Smith, early March
(867) 872-3065
fortsmith.ca
The Frolics is a weekend event with a community feast, dances, games, hockey tournament and dogsled races. Most popular is the cabane à sucre - the sugar shack where maple syrup is poured over snow for a scrumptious winter treat!

POLAR POND HOCKEY TOURNAMENT
Hay River, 3rd weekend in March, annually
(867) 874-6522
polarpondhockey.com
Join us on the ice with 10 rinks, a live band, fireworks, beer gardens and other festivities throughout the night. Held at Fisherman’s wharf site.

HAY RIVER ICE FISHING DERBY
Hay River, mid March
(867) 875-7112
kilometrescbryan@hotmail.com, reliablegroupltd@gmail.com
The ice fishing derby in Hay River is held in March at 2 Seasons Campground. There are lots of amazing prizes!

SPRING CARNIVAL AND NWT DOGSLED CHAMPIONSHIPS
Fort Resolution, March
(867) 394-4556
A weekend to celebrate spring! Includes an Adult Talent Show, the Northwest Territories Dogsled Championships and an annual cribbage tournament.

ICEOLATION ART SHOW
Yellowknife, March
(867) 920-0711
Annual artist show on the theme of ice. Opening at the Snow Castle. Exhibition at Down to Earth Gallery the following week.

FROSTBITE 50
Yellowknife, March 18
ykmultisport.com
The race starts and finishes at the Yellowknife Ski Club. If follows a 45 km loop onto Back Bay, Walsh Lake, Prosperous Lake and return via Hay Lake. Registration opens in February online. Join us for an exciting one-day, 45 km ski or run winter race!

TOP OF THE WORLD SKI LOPPET
Inuvik, March
(867) 777-8618
inuvik.ca
This annual event organized by the Inuvik Ski Club invites racers to compete in six different races ranging from 150 m to 150 km.

MOCCASIN SPRING CARNIVAL
Wrigley, end of March
(867) 581-3321
This Wrigley cultural event is the place to find traditional games, tea boiling, bannock making, log splitting, foot races and a talent show.

DIAVIK 150 CANADIAN CHAMPIONSHIP DOG DERBY
Yellowknife, end of March
(867) 445-7223
The Annual Diavik 150 Canadian Championship Dog Derby will be held in March in Yellowknife.

DEHCHO BISON JAMBOREE
Fort Providence, end of March
(867) 669-3441
The celebration takes place in late March and early April in Ft. Providence. Visitors have lots to enjoy, like hand games, talent shows, snowmobile races, family dances and traditional competitions like tea boiling and log splitting.

LONG JOHN JAMBOREE
Yellowknife, March 24-26
longjohnjamboree.ca
Formerly held as Caribou Carnival, the Long John Jamboree is held on Great Slave Lake in Yellowknife and features the De Beers Canada Inspired Ice Carving Championships as well as a variety of family friendly events.

 

APRIL 2016

NORTHWESTEL YELLOWKNIFE SKI LOPPET
Yellowknife, April
(867) 669-9754
http://skiyellowknife.com 
Families and beginners welcome at this Vee Lake event.

ANNUAL MUSKRAT JAMBOREE
Inuvik, April 7-10
(867) 777-3642
http://www.trulyarctic.ca/
This Friday to Monday festival has several skills contests including snowshoe races, dogsledding, tea boiling and log sawing. Also, the third Annual Muskrat Cup Pond Hockey Tournament will take place.

ANNUAL REINDEER CROSSING
Inuvik, Muskrat Jamboree weekend, April 9
http://www.trulyarctic.ca/
Each spring, a managed herd of 3,000 reindeer make their way from the foothills across the Mackenzie River to calving grounds on a small island. Join the crowds to witness this inspiring event.

SPRING FLING
Norman Wells, early April
(867) 587-3700
Enjoy the first days of spring in Norman Wells with a parade, dance, snowmobile races, and a “rat-race” featuring wooden muskrats floating down the creek.

FISHING DERBY
Paulatuk, month of April
(867) 580-3709
Come fish for Lake Trout. Stay for the bragging rights in contests for biggest, longest, and smallest fish. Then enjoy the community feast.

ANNUAL MACKENZIE RIVER JAMBOREE
Tsiigehtchic, late April
(867) 953-3201
Dogsled races, traditional games and snowmobile races.

BELUGA JAMBOREE
Tuktoyaktuk mid April
(867) 977-2286
Celebrate springtime on the Arctic coast. Exciting events and contests: snowmobile races, log sawing, harpoon throwing, drum dancing, igloo building and square dancing under the midnight sun.

MAD TRAPPER JAMBOREE
Aklavik, Easter weekend
(867) 978-2351
A fun weekend ofold time dancing, dogsled races and cultural events.


MAY 2017

WHITE FOX JAMBOREE
Sachs Harbour, early May
(867) 690-4351
First week in May traditional events and celebration of spring.

FREEZIN' FOR A REASON POLAR PLUNGE
Yellowknife, mid May
A fund raiser that draws people from across Canada to take the icy plunge to raise funds for the Special Olympics.


NOVEMBER 2017

HANNA STEWART MEMORIAL LOCHE DERBY
Aklavik, November
(867) 978-2351
The annual ice fishing derby is fun for the whole family. The dates depend on the river ice. Prizes for the heaviest, longest, lightest, and shortest loche (burbot or mariah, a cod-like fish).

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