Yellowknife launching new aurora festival in March

Last modified: February 12, 2019 at 11:14am

Peak Yellowknife just got even busier.

March, already home to Snowking’s Winter Festival and the Long John Jamboree – and longtime holder of the title, “month Yellowknifers always tell family members to come visit” – will now also play host to a new aurora festival.

The festival is named Naka and will be organized by the City of Yellowknife, the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, and the territorial government.


Naka is pronounced Na-ke, a City news release stated, adding Naka is Wılıı̀deh for “northern lights.”

The festival, which will run from March 3-8, “will showcase the aurora borealis and Dene culture in Yellowknife, Chief Drygeese Territory,” said the City.

More information: Naka on the City of Yellowknife’s website

Events will include storytelling, drum prayers, art demonstrations, photography workshops, aurora science events, and a film screening set to music.

Aurora Triptych, a timelapse of the northern lights over Yellowknife set to a live recording of a 10-piece orchestra, will be screened in the Snowcastle.


Mayor Rebecca Alty said the festival would be “a valuable addition to Yellowknife’s festival scene [and] an incredible opportunity” for visitors to the city.

The festival will end in the Yellowknives Dene First Nation’s cultural gala on Friday, which also celebrates the opening of a new Dene artisan shop in Dettah.

A fashion show – supported by Indigenous makeup artists, photographers, stylists, and musicians – will feature handmade pieces by northern artists, including some available for sale in the new store.

Naka full schedule

Sunday, March 3


2-3:30pm – Opening Ceremony
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, free

Monday, March 4

4-6pm Concepts of Aurora Photography
Indoor workshop at Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, free

Tuesday, March 5

7:30-10pm Aurora Triptych
Film with outdoor photography session, Snowcastle, free

Wednesday, March 6

1-3pm In Awe of the Northern Lights
Aurora science presentation, Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, free

Thursday, March 7

3-6pm Aurora Art Workshop
Prince of Wales Northern Heritage Centre, free

Friday, March 8

7-10pm Yellowknives Dene First Nation Cultural Gala
Chief Drygeese Centre, Dettah, $20