Summer in Yellowknife feels like a giant stress reliever. All winter long visitors, residents, and animals scurry from one place to another trying to stay warm while only enjoying outdoor activities once in a while. Like on a weekend where the windchill isn’t minus forty degrees or at the Long John Jamboree.
When summer arrives and brings along with it mid-to-high 20 degrees weather and almost 24-hours of daylight (we get 20 hours of daylight and then 4 hours of twilight) it’s hard not to want to be outside enjoying it, as long as the smoke doesn’t roll into town.
The Midnight Sun Fly-in isn’t the only event to celebrate Yellowknife’s history though. The Beer Barge arrival is an annual event that has been happening since the beginning of Yellowknife. Residents use to flock to the shores of Great Slave Lake just after break-up, when there was no highway to Yellowknife, to greet the barge. The barge would normally be carrying the town’s supply of beer, which would run low over winter.
The event that now happens towards the end of June happens down on the Ward Air Dock in Back Bay. The event features food, drink, live music and, of course, the arrival of the barge. Dressing up is encouraged.
We wrote about the Beer Barge event here or you can visit the Yellowknife Heritage website for more event details.
National Indigenous Peoples Day
Always on June 21 of each year, and a territorial holiday in the Northwest Territories, National Indigenous Peoples Day or Aboriginal Day is celebrated in various location around Yellowknife. Right in the centre of Yellowknife, the North Slave Metis Alliance hosts a celebration that kicks off with a large fish fry, with plenty of bannock. Participants can then take in traditional demonstrations and presentation on the shores of Frame Lake.
Later in the day, up the Ingraham Trail at the Yellowknives Dene First Nation celebration ground just beside the Yellowknife River (Wıı̀lıı̀deh), more events take place. Each year events differ but are always rich in history, culture and tradition. They are also, of course, open to anyone.
Canada Day events happen all across the country, it is a national event after all, so Yellowknife is no different. A parade normally gets the day going around 11am starting from the Yellowknife Community Area and cruising up Franklin Ave all the way to City Hall on Memorial Drive.
As the parade finishes at City Hall (Civic Plaza), activities kick off on the shore of Frame Lake. The Yellowknife Farmers Market will be on site in their usual spot selling all sort of locally made and produce foods and good. Over in the amphitheater musical acts and general performances will entertain you as you stuff your face and celebrate your pride for Canada.
Folk on the Rocks
A musical festival older than most of its attendees is a Yellowknife staple you have to check out.
Bands and musical acts from all over Canada come to Yellowknife during the third weekend in July to party on the shores of Long Lake. With several stages, a beer garden – with a stage, kids area, and food vendors there is something for everyone.
Check out FolkontheRocks.ca for the musical line-ups, times, locations and to buy tickets.
Old Town Ramble and Ride
This celebration of everything that makes Old Town fun and quirky is a great August long weekend event. Normally starting on a Friday with a bicycle tour, the event lasts all weekend right along Franklin Ave in Old Town. In the past several, music stages have been set up with acts all day and into the evening, artists set up along the street showing off their latest creations and several other attractions and workshops have taken place. It is an event not worth missing and really shows the creativity of Yellowknife’s oldest neighbourhood.
Check out their website, OldTownYK.com, closer to the date for more information.
Even though we said these are 5 events we think you should attend as we looked into all the events happening throughout the summer we found some more that shouldn’t be missed. And even then I’m sure there are even more events that shouldn’t be missed.
Bonus Event: Midnight Sun Fly-in
For the aviation buffs out there, the Midnight Sun Fly-in is for you. Originally a float plane fly-in, this event happening in mid-July, attracts pilots and aviation enthusiast from all across North America. For one weekend, they all meet up in Yellowknife to show off their planes and celebrate aviation with various activities, including plane rides, meals, and entertainment.
Aviation was a big part of how Yellowknife came to be and still plays a large role in our economy. This event will give you a little glimpse of that. Find out more about this event at midnightsunflyin.com
Bonus Event: NWT Pride
NWT Pride has been going strong for a number of years and is the only event celebrating LGBTQ+ people in the Northwest Territories! The event normally consists of several performances, workshops, and talks. The events dates often move around in August so check their website at www.nwtpride.com for more information.
Did we miss an event you think should have been mentioned? Leave a comment below.