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Home Story Shining a light on the Inuvik Sunrise Festival

Shining a Light on the Inuvik Sunrise Festival

When the sun goes down in the first week of December, it won’t rise above the horizon again until the first week of January.  And while Inuvik will have a few hours of civil twilight a day for the next month, 33 days is an awfully long time to go without seeing the face of the sun. When the sun does return, the community throws a huge party: The Inuvik Sunrise Festival. Here’s what you can expect from a visit to the town at the top of the world during their best winter fest:

Giving the Sun a warm welcome

No festival in Inuvik would be complete without the Inuvik Drummers and Dancers.  Enjoy the fluid dance motions accompanied by songs sung in the Inuvialuktun language. The songs and dancing recount legends, stories and traditions – often re-enactments of great feats performed by previous generations.

Explore the Ice Village

Photo Credit: Weronica Murray

Start your day off with a pancake breakfast and then make your way over to Twin Lakes to watch some expert carvers take part in the snow carving competition. Then wander around the Ice Village, taking in the igloos, sculptures, and a children’s slide. You can warm up inside an igloo or ice tipi. They’re cozier than they look!

Saturday Night is Lit

Photo Credit: Weronica Murray 

Stick around the Ice Village for Saturday evening’s festivities. This will be the last day that not even a sliver of sunshine peeks over the horizon, so the people of Inuvik make their own light: a giant bonfire followed by an incredible fireworks display. What a way to usher in the sun! 

Chase the sun

On the first day of the return of the sun, the sun rises above the horizon from 1:49 pm to 2:12 pm – a total of just over 23 minutes. Join the locals making their way to the bypass road, one of the highest points in town, for a wonderful view of the sunrise. Add to the fun by booking a snowmobile tour that will take you to see the reindeer herd. That small window when the sun is up means there’s still a very long night ahead of you—an excellent opportunity to watch for Aurora. 


Check out more exciting packages across the Western Arctic.