The week closest to the longest day of the year (June 21) is the Sumer Solstice Festival (www.solsticefestival.ca ), featuring street entertainment, celebrations of native culture, and the Canadian North Midnight Classic (this event is popular with visitors, so make reservations in advance (867/873-4326, www.yellowknifegolf.com ).
Folk on the Rocks (867/920-7806, www.folkontherocks.com ), held during the middle weekend of July, takes place on the shore of Long Lake and attracts Northern and Southern performers of folk, reggae, and Inuit music. A weekend ticket is $100.
On the other side of the calendar, the Caribou Carnival (www.cariboucarnival.net ) began more than 50 years ago among locals as a test of outdoor skills. It still tests the locals, who compete in a variety of themed events, but there’s also a children’s tent, native displays, live music, pancake breakfasts, and delicacies such as caribou cake for visitors to try. The action takes place throughout the city on the last weekend in March.
Entertainment at the Gold Range Hotel (5010 50th St., 867/873-4441), best known as the “Strange Range,” is like no other in the country. Don’t be put off by the unusual characters, hundreds of empty beer glasses, and bouncers with legs like tree trunks; it isn’t as rowdy as it seems. If you like to mix with the locals, this is the place to do it, and you may help them claim the title for highest beer sales per capita in Canada; so far they run only second.
For something a little more subdued, plan on relaxing at the Trapline Lounge in the Explorer Hotel (4825 49th Ave., 867/873-3531).