UpHere Logo

Yellowknife Launches New Aurora Festival

Yellowknife Launches New Aurora Festival

Naka will celebrate the Northern Lights and local Dene culture.
By Jacob Boon
Feb 14

There's yet another reason to visit Yellowknife next month.

Naka, a new celebration of the aurora borealis and Dene culture, will take place this March 3 to 8. 

Pronounced na-ke—the Willideh term for the Northern Lights—the festival will showcase storytelling, drum prayers, art demonstrations and feature a talk on the science behind the famed polar lights. Visitors can also learn how to photograph auroras for that perfect Instagram shot. 

“Having a new destination event that celebrates the aurora and Dene culture in Yellowknife is a valuable addition to Yellowknife’s festival scene and gives our visitors an incredible opportunity to learn more about where they are visiting,” Mayor Rebecca Alty said in a press release.

Organized by the City of Yellowknife, the Government of the Northwest Territories and the Yellowknives Dene First Nation, the new festival will also celebrate the Dene First Nation with a cultural gala on Friday, March 8 in honour of the grand opening of the new Dene Artisan Shop. The cultural gala will include a fashion show of items handmade by Northern artists, supported by Indigenous makeup artists, photographers, stylists, and musicians.

The new festival arrives during a busy tourism season, with Yellowknife already playing host in March to the Snowking Winter Festival and Long John Jamboree. 

Aurora tourism remains a rich economic driver NWT tourism, with some $55 million spent by visitors on aurora viewing in 2017/18. 

A full schedule of Naka events can be found on the city's website.