The upcoming Festivale holiday event in Animal Crossing: New Horizons (ACNH) can now be unlocked and played worldwide as of today for anyone in a hurry!
As most Animal Crossing players probably know by now, all recent holiday events introduced in updates have been time locked by Nintendo until the real world date of the respective holidays are reached.
Many players enjoy playing Animal Crossing and the events in real time with no interest in advancing early, but some fans definitely appreciate the option to play events ahead of time if they so desire and this lock can be a downer for them.
Typically, the real-time lock can be bypassed about a day early in western regions when the earliest time zones in the world reach the event date. However, the unlock date for this year’s Festivale event has actually been tied to Valentine’s Day on February 14th instead.
Presumably, Nintendo decided it would best to simply have one single unlock, rather than two separate version letters one day apart. Because of this change, it’s now possible to unlock and experience the Festivale event right now — two days in advance of the official event date!
In order to unlock the Festivale event in Animal Crossing: New Horizons, you need to get your game’s version number upgraded to Ver. 1.7.0a with the ‘a’ character being the important part. Pave and the Festivale activities won’t appear on February 15th unless you’re on this version or later.
Nintendo uses a behind the scenes system for unlocking the sub-versions with letters on the end that contain holiday events, based on network time, rather than actual downloadable updates. We’ll tell you exactly how you can unlock Festivale right now keeping this in mind.
How To Unlock Festivale Event In Animal Crossing
Follow the simple instructions below to unlock the Fesivale Event in Animal Crossing: New Horizons right now from all regions of the world.
UPDATE: This article was originally written on February 13th — now that it is February 15th in your region, Version 1.7.0a should be automatically unlocked! Still having trouble? Check out our event unlock conditions towards the bottom of this article.
Step 1: Change Time Zone to Tokyo
Go to System Settings at the bottom of the HOME Menu, scroll down to System, then scroll down to Date & Time and press A.
Then scroll down to Time Zone, select it, and change your Time Zone to Tokyo (UTC +09:00). Technically, you can pick any time zone where it’s past midnight on Saturday, February 14th when you do this, but we’ll just be using Tokyo for this example.
This is decisively different than simply changing your time and date ahead to February 15th, without adjusting the Time Zone, because your Nintendo Switch’s network time remains the same then. The network time is what Nintendo uses to unlock Ver. 1.7.0a.
Step 2: Change Date & Time To February 15th After 5AM
After adjusting the Time Zone, your local Date & Time must be within the Festivale Event hours of February 15th at 5AM to February 16th at 5AM as well in order for the activities to begin on your island!
It’s important that you keep the Time Zone set to Tokyo, or any other time zone where it is past February 14th, when you make this adjustment. Refer to the screenshot above for one possible working configuration of these settings.
Step 3: Load New Horizons & Look For 1.7.0a
Once you’ve got your Time & Date settings all sorted out, head back to the HOME Menu and start up Animal Crossing: New Horizons. Be sure to close and restart the game if you left it open while adjusting settings.
When Animal Crossing: New Horizons boots up to the title screen with the logo, check the top right corner of your screen for Ver 1.7.0a. If you spot the a, then you’re good to go and the event can be unlocked.
Assuming you’ve set your date and time to after 5AM on February 15th, it’s likely you can already see Pave and your villagers dancing around Resident Services!
If you only see Ver 1.7.0 without a letter on the end, then something has gone wrong. Go back through the steps and ensure that your Time Zone has been set correctly, and that you’re playing on February 15th for Festivale.
Festivale Event Unlock Conditions
If you’re certain that your Time Zone and Date & Time are set correctly as explained above, you may be missing a few of the other required conditions for unlocking seasonal events in Animal Crossing: New Horizons.
We assume that most players are likely to have their bases covered already here, but it’s worth going over the following unlock conditions if you continue to have issues getting events to work:
Active Internet Connection
Your Nintendo Switch requires an active and working internet connection when starting up Animal Crossing: New Horizons in order to properly unlock Version 1.7.0a with Festivale.
Once this has been completed once and the correct version is unlocked, an internet connection is no longer required.
User With Linked Nintendo Account
When launching Animal Crossing: New Horizons, ensure that you are selecting a User account that is properly linked to a Nintendo Account. This is required to properly unlock Version 1.7.0a with Festivale.
Just like an internet connection, this only has to be done once. Afterwards, you can enjoy the event with any other User, even without a linked Nintendo Account.
Resident Services Upgrade Complete
Most of Animal Crossing: New Horizons’ major seasonal events and holidays require the upgraded Resident Services building to be unlocked with Isabelle. If your island only features a large dirt plaza with a tent, this could be a reason why the event is not working.
We haven’t actually been able to confirm whether the Festivale event in partiuclar requires Resident Services to be upgraded or not, but it’s quite likely.
Complete Festivale Event Guide
Now that you can play the Festivale Event with Pave, be sure to check out our complete Festivale Event Guide: Feathers, Rewards, Activities. It covers absolutely everything you need to know for completing this event and getting all of the available rewards.
Stay tuned to Animal Crossing World for everything on Animal Crossing: New Horizons, including our extensive Guides section here. Our most popular pages include Festivale Furniture Set, Festivale Clothing, Sanrio Card Reprint, ColourPop Collection, Winter Snowflake Recipes, How To Build Perfect Snowboy, Redd Art, and Sea Creatures.