Story Ideas

10 things you need to know about… spring festivals in the Northwest Territories.

Welcome the warmer days with dog-sled races, harpoon-throwing contests, traditional games, dancing, feasting and more.

21 January 2015

Suggested tweet: Traditional games, feasting, dancing + more: 10 spring fests in NWT @ #explorecanada @SpectacularNWT

Northern Canadians can feel like hibernating bears after a long, dark winter. No wonder they’re keen to celebrate spring. Community festivals like these 10 in the Northwest Territories are a fun way to welcome the longer, warmer days.

1) Beaver Tail Jamboree: Rev up your snowmobile for Fort Simpson’s annual spring fling. Traditional games like the finger pull are part of the fun, too, as well as talent shows, dancing, and eating sugar-coated beaver tails, of course.

2) Beluga Jamboree: The whole town of Tuktoyaktuk turns out for games, races (ever see three people on one pair of skis?), competitions (harpoon throwing and log sawing are favourites) and lots of music and dancing. Put on your beaded mukluks and strut your stuff.

3) K’amba Carnival: Dog-sled races, rabbit-skinning and hand games are all part of the line-up at Hay River’s annual carnival, organized by the K’atl’odeeche First Nation.

4) Kingalik Jamboree: When the King Eider duck—also known as Kingalik—returns, people in Ulukhaktok know that winter’s over. Naturally, a duck-plucking contest is part of the festivities.

5) Long John Jamboree: Great Slave Lake is still one big, solid sheet of ice in March, which means there’s room for everyone at Yellowknife’s annual festival on the lake. The roughneck relay and ice carving championship always draw spectators.

6) Mad Trappers Rendezvous: Easter weekend is extra special in Aklavik when people come together to celebrate spring with snowmobile and dog-team races, traditional games, dancing and feasting. Who can resist a $10,000 bingo?

7) Moccasin Spring Carnival: Think you know how to boil tea and make bannock? Then step right up at the annual spring festival in Wrigley. A log-splitting contest, foot races and talent show are also part of the fun.

8) Muskrat Jamboree: Bring your own knife for the muskrat-skinning contest at Inuvik’s spring festival. If you think you’ve got what it takes to be a trapper, be prepared to make a fire and chisel ice.

9) White Fox Jamboree: A white fox pelt is awarded to the fastest sprinter at the spring festival in Sachs Harbour, the most northerly community in NWT. You’ll also see demonstrations on skinning and stretching those beautiful furs.

10) Wood Buffalo Frolics: Does a moose sound a lot different than a goose? Find out at the moose and goose calling competition during Fort Smith’s annual festival in March.

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