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What to do on New Year's Eve across the NWT

Lillian Elias enjoys the fireworks at the festival. Samantha McKay/NNSL photo

No one does New Year's Eve quite like the North.

So, whether it's live entertainment, watching a spectacular fireworks show in a spectacular setting or enjoying traditional games 'til the sun comes up, let this be your guide to an unforgettable 2019-2020 New Year's Eve in the NWT.

Lillian Elias enjoys the fireworks during the 2019 Sun Rise Festival celebrations in Inuvik. NNSL file photo

Fort Smith

Once again, the annual New Year's Eve fireworks show will light up the sky on Dec. 31 at 7 p.m. at the Snowboard Park. Parking is available at Riverside Park.

Hay River

Head down to the ice road crossing and the bridge along Riverview Drive for Festival at the Forks, for the biggest New Year's Eve party in Hay River.

A community bonfire, complete with hot chocolate and snacks, will set the stage for a spectacular fireworks show to ring in 2020. The fireworks start at 8 p.m.

Residents are welcome to drop off their Christmas trees at the site after the holiday.


The Town of Inuvik does not host any New Year's Eve events. However, the non-profit Inuvik Community Events Society is putting on an old time dance and community feast on Dec. 31 from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m. at the Midnight Sun Recreation Complex.

The event will include a raffle, jigging contest, community feast, family fun and games, door prizes and swag bags. Entry is free.

For those looking to welcome 2020 with explosions in the sky, the Town of Inuvik is reminding residents that they must submit a fireworks permit application form and have it signed by the fire chief before they purchase their pyrotechnics.


There will be a fireworks show near the Sittichinli Recreational Complex at the stroke of midnight followed by a truck parade and a bonfire.

At 1 a.m., folks are invited to the community hall for snacks including coffee, tea and hot chocolate to ring in the New Year.

On Jan. 1 there will be a community feast starting at 5 p.m. and an old time dance at 9 p.m.

The feast will include a jigging contest and live music courtesy of the Good Time Band.


A hand games tournament is on from Dec. 23 to Jan. 1 at Helen Kalvak Elihakvik School.
On Dec. 31, the tournament starts at 7 p.m. and continues until all the prizes run out, which usually happens around 2 a.m.

On New Year's Day, there will be a community feast at the school.


According to Caroline Loreen, recreation co-ordinator with the Hamlet of Tuktoyaktuk, shooting in the New Year has been a tradition in the community for many years. The annual tradition will see residents discharge their guns at the stroke of midnight.

"This has been a tradition in Tuktoyaktuk for years," she stated in an email "For as long as I can remember there has been shooting (at New Year's) in the community."

There will also be a fireworks show at midnight.

Fort Simpson

The annual New Year's fireworks show down at the Papal Flats will not be happening this year. However, the community is planning a truly spectacular fireworks show for the Beavertail Jamboree in early March, according to a Village of Fort Simpson spokesperson.


A New Year's Eve dance at the sports centre has been scheduled for around 6 p.m. There will also be a New Year's Day drum dance and feast.

Fort Liard

A New Year's Eve event for the youth at the community gym has been scheduled for 6 p.m. Physical activities have been planned and snacks will be served.

Fort Providence

The Hamlet of Fort Providence is planning a family friendly, alcohol free event at the community hall.

Admission is free and the evening will include games and music. Doors open at 8 p.m.