Festivals & Events

January

Aurora Ford Classic Dog Sled Race

This two-day dog sled race had participants race from Hay River to Enterprise and return on the second day back to Hay River. Spectators line the race track start and finish point to witness some of the best mushers in the Territories compete for the Aurora Ford Classic title.

February

K’amba Carnival

The K’atl’odeeche First Nation hosts this weekend-long carnival on the Hay River and the Reserve, running from February 28th to March 3rd. There’s something for everyone to enjoy: youth & adult talent shows; Dene games; dog sled races; youth & adult outdoor activities; raffles; pancake breakfast; raffles; scavenger hunt; arts & crafts vendors; youth & adult dance; Carnival Queen & Princess competition; and much more! This annual event is the perfect event to help say goodbye to Winter and welcome the Spring. Please visit the K’amba Carnival Facebook page for updates and information at https://www.facebook.com/kambacarnival/

March

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 Wine Festival

Hosted by the Rotary Club this festival for wine lovers features a local art auction and scotch tasting. Have a great evening out and try new wines while raising money for local charity. What could be better than sipping wine or scotch with others who love wine on a cold evening in March? March 16th

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.

Ptub Races

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!

May

Territorial Parks

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/.

June

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 22 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. http://2seasons.ca/

July

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.
www.fiddlingnwt.com

Community Tea

Bring the entire Family for home-made sandwiches, scones, desserts and beverages. $5.00 per person, Children 3 and under are admitted free. A wonderful event to celebrate the community, all are welcome and tickets are available at the door.

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/

August

Gateway Jamboree

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!

Wally Schumann Memorial Show & Shine

Collectors and enthusiasts bring their vehicles to the edge of the Hay River  across from the Heritage Museum for an annual show and shine celebrating the memory of Wally Schumann Sr.  Come out and see the wide array of vehicles, talk with the owners and other enthusiasts. Just around the corner from the Fisherman’s Wharf walk on over and enjoy live music, there’s even ice cream.!

Wild Berry Festival

Hosted by the Hay River Heritage Museum this event is a celebration of the berry harvest. Pies, preserves, produce, crafts and music fill the museum to overflow.  Get there early to get a seat, bid on pies and other baked goods and enjoy the bounty of Hay River and surrounding area during this festival from 1 pm to 4 pm. http://hayrivermuseum.com/

September

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.

October

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/

November

Taste of Soup

Annual fundraiser for the Hay River Soup Kitchen. Hay River soup makers put their best soup forward to be selected by those attending as the best soup in town. Live and silent auction raise money for the Soup Kitchen, live entertainment, prizes and of course soup, sandwiches and refreshments. Great event for a great cause. Get your tickets early!

Craft Beer Fest

Rotary hosts its annual Craft Beer Fest at the beginning of November. Enjoy taste testing a variety of craft beers and ciders, have fun with friends, dance to a live band and enjoy great food. You are asked to fill out a taste form and the best beers and ciders will be carried at the local liquor store. This event is great fun and raises money for the community through the Hay River Sunrise Rotary Club.

Remembrance Day

Remembrance Day is a holiday day in the Northwest Territories out of respect for those who serve and protect us. Services are held at the Legion Branch Two-Fifty. Please join us in remembering those who have made the ultimate sacrifice and thanking those who put their lives on the line for our peace and safety.

Ladies Night at the Museum

A great fundraiser for the Hay River Heritage Museum with a changing theme each year. There is always beverages, mini appies and desserts to enjoy as you enjoy an evening meeting old friends and making new ones. There are door prizes as well! Tickets sold at the door: $ 10.00.

Annual Adult Health Fair

Brought to you by the Hay River Health and Social Services this Health Fair provides seasonal flu and other immunization shots, information on a variety of health topics and recreational activities, as well as equipment displays. Join us for this informative Health Fair, get your shots and talk with professionals and service providers in the health care industry.

Pumpkin Walk

Local residents and businesses donate their carved pumpkins to the Hay River Heritage Museum to create a wonderful Jack o Lantern filled walk through the Museum Park. All who come are invited to come inside for free popcorn and a beverage, what could be more fun than a spooky walk lit by a park filled with carved pumpkins!

If you are donating your Halloween pumpkins please drop off at the Museum or Tri R Recycling. If possible please include a candle or battery operated candle.

Festival of Trees

A celebration of decorated Christmas trees by locals, businesses and services fill the gymnasium of Princess Alexandrea School. Students perform music and plays for the audience. The audience votes on the best decorated tree and all money raised goes to Harry Camsell & Princess Alexandra School to fund school events.

Midnight Madness

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.

December

Annual Christmas Concert

Adults are invited to enjoy a night of holiday carols, musical performances and special treats! The evening starts at 7 pm at the NWT Centennial Library, dress to impress and spend an great night with your neighbours before the Christmas season hits full swing.

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!