There is a whole year’s worth of entertaining and enlightening celebrations and festivals in Fort Smith. Here is a collection of events that happen annually – but check the Community Calendar for other great events happening now.
Aurora College Week - An annual event with contests, live music, tours of Aurora College, Thebacha campus, and an outdoor barbecue. Snow or shine! The whole community is welcome.
Ice & Snow Races - Snowmobile, ATVs, motorbikes and side-by-sides races! They host ice racing, drag racing and cross country that include kids and ladies classes!
Wood Buffalo Frolics - A four-day carnival celebrating spring’s impending arrival. Events include dog-team racing, snowmobile racing, a talent show, northern games and competitions, the Mad Trapper’s old time dance, and activities for children. Keep an eye out for the Muffaloose mascot, who just might make an appearance.
Thebacha Loppet - A cross-country skiing event sponsored by the Fort Smith Ski Club. It’s held on the first Saturday in March and is the longest running classic ski tour in Western Canada. Find more information on the Loppet here.
The Annual Ice Fishing Derby - Held annualy in mid- to late-March and is an excellent time to experience winter camping in Canada’s North. The derby is held at a location two hours outside of town by snowmobile. Learn more about the Derby here.
The Aurora Open Golf Tournament - This event kicks off the golfing season with a 36-hole event at Pelican Rapids Golf and Country Club, sponsored by Aurora College.
National Aboriginal Day - June 21 is National Aboriginal Day and a territorial holiday. It celebrates the Aboriginal culture and history of the area with a variety of events organized by the Salt River and Smith’s Landing First Nations, the Town of Fort Smith, and the Metis Association. It’s also the longest day of the year so get ready to experience the midnight sun!
Treaty Land Entitlement Days - Held near the end of June each year in a grand celebration with live entertainment, locally inspired food and one of the Territories' largest Hand Games Tournament. Hand Games are a traditional Dene team sport where participants show off their skills and wit all combined with singing and drumming. Feel the pulse of the drums, and the energy of the participants during the non-stop action. This event is not to be missed! Organized by the Salt River First Nation.
Canada Day - July 1st is a big celebration and a grand event in Fort Smith. Join the community in cheering on the annual parade to Conibear Park, where activities such as live music, family-friendly games, and concessions continue throughout the afternoon. Save your appetite – local officials serve up dinner at an evening fish fry.
Pine Lake Picnic - It’s all about old fashioned fun in Wood Buffalo National Park at the Pine Lake Picnic. Take part in or cheer on your fellow picnickers at the corn-husking competition, tug-of-war, potato-sack race, canoe races, and Dene hand games; while you enjoy a meal of roasted corn, hot dogs and watermelon! For more information go to: Wood Buffalo National Park
Merchant Classic Golf Tournament - this two-day event is held at the Pelican Rapids Golf and Country Club. Business people and guests from Fort Smith and nearby communities take part each year.
Slave River Paddlefest - World-class big water paddling, 24-hour daylight, warm water and good friends – what’s not to love! Paddlefest includes instructional clinics, river trips, and fun, friendly competitions. There are events for kayaks, canoes, voyageur canoes, kids and adults. The Slave River offers every type of paddling imaginable: from flatwater canoeing around beautiful islands to wild whitewater. For more information: Slave River Paddlefest
Music Festivals - Throughout the summer musicians perform at Riverside Park and venues around town during events organized by the Fort Smith Music Society and the South Slave Friendship Festival.
Thebacha & Wood Buffalo Dark Sky Festival - This event takes place in the world's largest Dark Sky Preserve, Wood Buffalo National Park. Invite family and friends to join us for an exciting 4-day journey of exploring the wonders of our universe and the sciences that makes it all work. Exciting science based workshops such as aurora photography, rocket making for the kids and an evening star party are highlights of the weekend! For more information: www.tawbas.ca
Glow Ball Golf Tournament - The stars and aurora borealis make for a spectacular backdrop as you enjoy hot drinks and campfire food while you play. Hosted by The Pelican Rapids Golf and Country Club
The Terry Fox Run - This is held in mid-September at locations across Canada, including Fort Smith. The run raises money for the Canadian Cancer Society. Run, walk, bike or blade the 5- to 10-kilometre route to support the cause.
Harvest Festival - Held at the end of September to celebrate food that is locally grown, harvested and produced. Check out the accoustic music, food presevation workshops and even some live animals! Organized by the Desnede Farmers Market.
Rememberance Day service - This is held on November 11 at the Community Recreation Centre. The service includes hymns and readings, followed by a march to the cenotaph site where wreaths are laid. Later, the local Royal Canadian Legion hall hosts a hot lunch and refreshments.
MAX Arts and Crafts Christmas Sale - With a focus on locally made, handcrafted arts and crafts you can find gems for all your loved ones among them outstanding works of photography, jewellery, quilting, weaving, and other fine arts and crafts.
Lighting Ceremony - Fort Smith lights up for Christmas with a lighting ceremony that includes colourful displays on local homes and businesses.
Breakfast with Santa - Meet Santa at the Northern Life Museum and Cultural Centre’s pancake breakfast.
New Year’s Eve Fireworks Celebration - Join the town in ringing in a new year with a spectacular fireworks display.