Festivals & Events
Hay River Wine Festival
Hosted by the Rotary Club & the Hay River Hospital Foundation, this festival for wine lovers features a local art auction. Have a great evening out and try new wines while raising money for local charity. What could be better than sipping wine with others who love wine on a cold February evening?
The K’atl’odeeche First Nation hosts this weekend-long carnival on the Hay River Reserve. There’s something for everyone to enjoy; children and adult talent shows, Dene games, dog sled races, outdoor activities, raffles, and a dance. This annual event is the perfect event to help say goodbye to Winter and welcome the Spring.
Polar Pond Hockey
This annual tournament draws teams from all over the North to compete. Ten outdoor rinks are created on the river at the Fisherman’s Wharf site. There is no shortage of fun during the Polar Pond Hockey Tournament. The festivities include a live band, beer gardens and fireworks throughout the night.
Hay River Ice Fishing Derby
The 2 Seasons Campground on the edge of Great Slave Lake is the location of this annual event. Registration starts early on the day of the derby and runs through the afternoon. Lots of amazing prizes to be won! Tickets are available at the Buffalo Airways office, 25 Industrial Dr., contact Kathy McBryan via email at [email protected] or phone at 867 875 7112.
Figure Skating Ice Carnival
This carnival, at the Hay River Recreation Centre, is the perfect event for local figure skaters to showcase their skills in front of a live audience. Come out and watch the talented members of the Hay River figure skating club perform.
This annual cross-country ski race has been held since 1983 and also hosts snowcross and snow drag races. Sponsored by the Ptarmigan Inn and The Hay River Hub this is the last event of the Winter season, you won’t want to miss all of the fun!
All of the Territorial Parks in the South Slave Region are open on May 17th.
From Northern Alberta on the Waterfalls Route:
60th Parallel Territorial Park
Alexandra Falls Territorial Park (Day Use)
Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park – Louise Falls Campground
Twin Falls Gorge Territorial Park – Escarpment Creek
Paradise Gardens – 15 sites & 12 with power
Hay River Golf Course – 10 sites all with power
Hay River Territorial Park
McNallie Creek Territorial Park (Day Use)
Lady Evelyn Falls Territorial Park
Kakisa River Territorial Park (Day Use)
Sambaa Deh Falls Territorial Park
Dory Point Territorial Park (Day Use)
Ft. Providence Territorial Park
From Hay River to Fort Smith on the Wood Buffalo Route:
Little Buffalo River Falls Territorial Park
Queen Elizabeth Territorial Park
Fort Smith Mission Territorial Park (Day Use)
Once you are in the Wood Buffalo National Park there are also designated day use sites available to make the trip more comfortable. The road is completely chip sealed now making for a very smooth and quick drive. Keep a watch out for wildlife along the road, especially buffalo as they always have the right of way.
From Hay River to Fort Resolution on the Great Slave Route:
Little Buffalo River Crossing Territorial Park
Please check out the Northwest Territories Parks and Campground site for complete details and contact information at https://nwtparks.ca/.
Hay River Lobster Fest
This East Coast inspired cook-out and dance is one of the town’s biggest events every year and certainly the most delicious. A Lobster Fest ticket gets you a whole, mouth-watering, freshly boiled lobster and all the fixings, a live band and a dance. Bring your best friends out for fantastic eats and music, and get them up to jig away the night.
Hay River Chamber of Commerce Corporate Golf Challenge
The very popular, annual best ball tournament is a fantastic opportunity for local businesses to have a great day of golf with their staff, followed by a dinner and prizes. There are only 18 team slots for this 18 hole tournament so make sure you sign up early! Get ready for a day on the links at the Hay River Golf Course.
Fisherman’s Wharf Market
Every Saturday from mid-June to mid-September Vale Island becomes the place to be for locals and tourists alike. Drop by the wharf in Old Town and pick up locally grown produce, arts & crafts, and fresh caught fish. If you don’t want to cook, locally caught fish is fried up fresh with french fries while you wait, get there early to beat the rush!
NWT Track & Field Championships
This annual track & field meet draws athletes, coaches and volunteers from across the NWT. This event has been held on the track outside Diamond Jenness Secondary School since 1991. Come and watch athletes vie to be the best in the Territories.
National Indigenous Peoples Day
Take part in a community celebration recognizing Aboriginal culture in Canada on June 21. Experience the culture and history of the South Slave Dene and learn about the important part they have played, and continue to play in Hay River’s history. There will be a fish-fry, live music, cultural events and much more.
Pig Roast Beach Party
Saturday, June 30 at 5 PM – 2 AM get ready to eat like royalty and dance in the sand! Hosted by 2 Season Adventures this annual pig roast and beach dance party is a popular hit with locals and tourists alike. Tickets can be purchased at the Buffalo Express office, 25 Industrial Drive from Monday to Friday during office hours (8:00am – 5:00pm).
Dinner & Dance – $50.00
Dance Only – $20.00 (can be purchased only on the day of the event)
VIP tables are available at a first come first serve basis. Limited quantity! Call 875 7112 for more info. Gates open at 5:00 pm & dinner is served at 6:00 pm.
Free shuttle back to town.
Canada Day July 1
Join in the celebration of Canada right here in Hay River! Complete with a parade through the heart of downtown followed by family themed activities on the sandy beaches at the edge of Great Slave Lake there is plenty to do and celebrate.
Kole Crook Fiddling Camp
Held in honour of a young fiddler who died in a plane crash in Norman Wells, this camp features evening performances Wednesday to Friday. Admission is by donation.
Hay Days Festival
This music, art, and cultural festival has quickly become on of the must-do events of the summer attracting many visitors to the town. Musicians and artists from Hay River and beyond come together to entertain at various venues across town. Live music, corporate art attack, workshops, children’s activities and the ever-popular Saturday Shaker at the beach, what more could you ask for in a festival? https://haydaysfestival.com/
Head down the highway about 36km to the hamlet of Enterprise for this annual music festival showcasing Northern artists, food, local crafts and much more. Plan to attend this family fun event and be ready for a down-home time!
Business, Home & Leisure Show
Hosted by the Hay River Chamber of Commerce this show brings in exhibitors from across the NWT and Northern Alberta. Exhibitors showcase their products and services at this two day event held at the Hay River Recreation Centre.
Fiddling and Jigging Talent Show
The biggest fiddling and jigging championship North of 60! Held on the K’atl’odeeche First Nation Reserve this annual talent show is a huge hit with locals and tourists. Proceeds from the event go to music programs and preservation of northern culture. Be prepared to jig the days away watching these fiddlers and jiggers compete for cash prizes and awards.
Star Gazing Night
Held at the Hay River Heritage Society out on Vale Island this event includes an old-fashioned bean supper, local entertainment, and an evening of stargazing. Bring your hunger for food and the cosmos and join many other enthusiasts searching the night sky for stars and planets. http://hayrivermuseum.com/
Hay River merchants stay open until midnight for a night of shopping. Meet friends, neighbours and visitors as you go from store to store checking out the Christmas sale prices and wares. Many retailers will have warm drinks on hand to make your Winter shopping experience an hot and happy one. Don’t start too late as sale prices will expire at midnight.
Santa Claus Parade
The annual Santa Claus Parade is hosted by the Town of Hay River and is a must attend event for all in the community. This special event has locals, businesses and service groups showcasing their floats with the tail-end of the parade being brought up by the jolly old fellow himself.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks Festival – Festival at the Forks
Held on December 31st this great annual get-together to celebrate the New Year is a very popular evening. A community bonfire sets the stage for a spectacular fireworks show to ring in the New Year at midnight. Bundle up warm and join the whole community right on the Hay River!