Festival on Franklin is returning to Yellowknife next week.

The festival was launched in 2016, as a way to bring merchants and patrons together to celebrate the summer solstice.

New this year will be water balloon fights, which will also act as a fundraiser for the upcoming Ptarmicon.

“We’ve asked Ptarmicon to come on in and they’re going to be spearheading it for us, and it’s basically a villains versus heroes [themed]”, said Stacie Smith, president of Festival on Franklin and owner of Flowers North.

This year’s festival will have 26 vendors, a lot of whom are food vendors, so the festival will be a “foodie’s dream”, said Smith.

“This year we have twice as many vendors participating than we did in previous years,” she said.

There will also be live entertainment, with 5 different performers every hour on the main stage.

“A lot of them are brand new bands and musicians, all locals and people who don’t normally get platforms. We wanted them to be able to show their stuff,” said Smith.

The music will span a variety of genres, from east coaster, to heavy metal, to solo artists from the local high school.

Smith said she’s excited for the kids area and a bouncy castle, which will be organized by the Rainbow Coalition this year.

“I am actually fairly excited about the kids area that’s going to be happening, because I have kids of my own and they like going to events that are geared towards them,” said Smith.

The festival falls just after the summer solstice, and is a great way to kick off the summer season and all the events that will be happening, said Smith.

“During the winter months and even the fall months, you notice that there’s less and less people coming downtown, not only because it gets cold but because there’s so much other stuff in terms of street people and all that. It’s basically a way of us merchants taking back downtown area saying yes we are here, we have an abundance of things to offer” said Smith.

Smith said the festival is important to her because it’s a show of community.

“It gets people out of the house for sure, seeing as, again, once winter hits, people go into hibernation mode. I’m sure there’ll be plenty of people that I see out and about that day that I haven’t seen since fall time,” she said.