Inuvik’s Annual Sunrise Festival marked the return of sunlight to the region following 30 days of darkness! This primordial annual celebration is an amazing time for hope in the souls of the inhabitants of this northern region. What a celebration of light in more ways than one!
What a cool moon shot over Inuvik, N.W.T. in the early afternoon. The light in the Arctic is like nowhere else on the planet and plays with the eye…especially in the winter. Every scene takes on an ethereal feel and presence that transcends time. Simplicity becomes an enigma as you travel north and above. Beautiful shot!
Festivities at the Inuvik Sunrise Festival in 2012. Inuvik Phil photo.
The sun will rise today in Inuvik, NWT for the first time since December 5th. The celebration will be rejoiced by the 3,300 townsfolk and hundreds of travelers during the weekend’s 31st Annual Inuvik Sunrise Festival to honor the return of light to the region.
An ice village in the Twin Lakes area has been constructed as the main attraction and will feature igloos,sculptures, a teepee and an expanded sliding hill for kids to enjoy. Three days of fun and celebration will occur mainly in the Midnight Sun and Twin Lakes districts.
“Hibernation time” is how Kylik Kisoun-Taylor, Owner of Tundra North Tours, describes the sun -lees period leading up to the reemergence. The continuous 24 – hour darkness is in stark contrast to the non-stop daylight in the summer.
“I feel like this town really shuts down. The restaurants aren’t as busy, everyone is really recuperating, and then once the sun comes out, everyone comes back alive.”, states Kisoun – Taylor.
Relatives of resident families and loved ones also return for visits at this uplifting time of year. It’s a celebration of life itself.
Sunrise in Inuvik. Town of Inuvik photo.
“It’s really nice to see because you want to show off where you live and what better time to show it off than when there is all of this great stuff to look, at a festival, bonfire and fireworks.” says Mackenzie Chauvin who took advantage of an airline discount to visit his cousin.
“They started talking to us about the sunrise festival and the darkness and that it’s really just a good time to get an authentic visit to see what Inuvik’s about.”, states Chauvin.
Canadian North and Air North are both offering discounted tickets for travelers jorneying to Inuvik for the festival.
Drum dancing at the Inuvik Sunrise Festival. Lu North photo.
Chris Sharpe, Inuvik’s marketing and communications coordinator, is enjoying his first northern winter. He is proud to announce some new activities this year, such as a concert by well-known Canadian musician and songwriter, Norman Foote, .as well as a dance party and DJ workshop. Drum dancing and vendors from local eateries will kick off the festival.
“I recommend it to everybody. If you live on this earth, you should try everything at least once. I’m really glad I experienced it, and I’m super excited the sun is coming back,” he laughed.
With only a couple of weeks left in the operation of the ice road on the McKenzie River, there’s still some action happening. Randy Henderson narrates this phenomenal reindeer crossing. This is the final year of the Inuvik to Tuktoyaktuk roadway over ice. Normally the road closes down for the season right around April 28th though this year it will close for good.
Starting at the beginning of 2017-18 the seasonal ice road, one of many in the north, will be replaced by an overland highway suitable for all seasons. The project has been in the planning stages for decades but with the rapid growth and opening up of the Arctic the time is here for construction. Let’s hope the new road will not carry tolls.