5 December 2019

Eleven things to do around Canberra this weekend (6–8 December)

| Zoe Pleasants
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Handmade Markets in Canberra - flower stall holder

Fresh flowers will be on offer at the Jonima Flowers market stall at The Handmade Markets this weekend. Photo: Handmade Markets Canberra.

If you want to get your Christmas shopping done without having to go to a shopping mall check out the AIATSIS Indigenous Art Market on Friday and Saturday, the Handmade Market at Exhibition Park all weekend, and the Old Bus Depot Markets in Kingston on Sunday which is starting its Christmas-themed markets this week. If you’re looking to get into the Christmas spirit, you could check out Canberra’s Kaleidoscope Christmas tree in the city on Friday night or sing carols at Lanyon Homestead on Saturday night. And for those of you wanting to escape Christmas, at least for this weekend, there is a new exhibition about spies at the National Archives, the National Film and Sound Archive is screening The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert on Saturday afternoon to celebrate 25 years since the film was released, and the Street Theatre is hosting an evening of improvised theatre on Saturday night. For something completely different, the National Gallery is running an after-hours art-in-real-life event on Friday night strictly for teenagers—no parents or teachers allowed!

All weekend

Handmade Market

Where: Budawang and Coorong Pavilions, Exhibition Park
When: Friday 5:00–9:00 pm, Saturday & Sunday 10:00 am–4:00 pm
The Handmade Markets is having its Christmas market this weekend. With stalls selling wares from 260 local and interstate designers and producers, it’s a great place to get your Christmas shopping done. There will be stalls selling art, books, fashion, kids’ stuff, Canberra-themed produce, furniture, homewares, food, stuff for the garden and more. Check out the stall directory here. And for some stress-free Christmas shopping why not try the Handmade Happy Hour from 9:00 am on Saturday morning? A limited number of shoppers will be able to grab a great parking spot and enjoy the market without the crowds. Entry to the Happy Hour is $5, book here.

Indigenous Art Market

Where: AIATSIS, Acton Peninsular (next to the National Museum of Australia)
When: Friday 10:00 am–8:00 pm & Saturday 10:00 am–4:00 pm
The Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS) is having its annual Indigenous Art Market this Friday and Saturday. There will be stalls selling paintings (traditional and contemporary), sculptures, pottery, jewellery, textiles and homewares. There will also be food stalls, cultural workshops and music and entertainment, including Isaiah Firebrace performing at 7:00 pm on Friday. Check out the artists who will have stalls at the markets and the line-up of performers here. Also, this weekend the AIATSIS exhibition Ngulla Wellamunagaa is opening at the National Museum of Australia. This exhibition presents stories that affirm the ongoing connection of First Nations peoples to country and celebrate the survival, continuity and diversity of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures.

Sunset Cinema

Where: Australian National Botanic Gardens
When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 6:30 pm
The Sunset Cinema continues at the Botanic Gardens. This weekend see Playing with Fire (Advanced Screening) on Friday, Love Actually on Saturday, and Judy on Sunday. There will be snacks and more substantial food on-site to purchase or bring your own picnic. There will also be bean lounges, beanbags and lawn chairs available to rent or bring your own picnic rug, pillows, beanbags or camping chairs. Tickets are $20 for adults, $17 for concession and $13 for kids aged 3–12 years.

Spy: Espionage in Australia

Where: National Archives of Australia
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 9:00 am–5:00 pm
The National Archives’ latest exhibition explores the curious history of espionage and counter-espionage in Australia from Federation through to present day. Developed with the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation (ASIO) this exhibition reveals some of the personal stories of secret agents. See real spy equipment, surveillance images and listen to candid interviews with ASIO officers. Play the part of a secret agent in an interactive family trail and test your skills at codebreaking and reading invisible ink. This exhibition will run until 27 April 2020.


Merry & Bright Christmas in Civic

Where: Garema Place
When: 4:00–9:00 pm
Canberra is getting a Kaleidoscope Christmas tree this year! Step inside the tree to be transported into a magical world of Christmas wonder and light. This tree will be equally impressive glistening in the sunshine during the day, or being illuminated by lights at night, adapting a festive tradition to our climate. The tree will go up this weekend and on Friday night there will be a mini-Christmas festival to celebrate. Decorate Christmas cookies, make a Christmas bauble for your own tree, enjoy free Santa slushes, enjoy music performed by the Oh Christmas Trio and The Faumuis, and take a selfie with Santa!


The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Where: National Film and Sound Archive
When: 2:00 pm
Two of Australia’s most iconic films were released in 1994 and are now 25 years old: Muriel’s Wedding and The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. The NFSA is celebrating by screening both films over the next two weekends. This Saturday it is screening Priscilla. At the screening, NFSA curator Jenny Gall will present iconic costumes from the movie held in the NFSA’s collection. Tickets are $12 for adults and $10 for concession, book here.

Art IRL: Teen Takeover

Where: National Gallery of Australia
When: 6:00–9:00 pm
The National Gallery is launching its Art IRL (‘in real life’) program this Saturday with a teen takeover of the Gallery! There will be real-life encounters with art through workshops, dance, circus, performance art, live music and social activities. But most importantly there will be no teachers or parents! This is strictly an event for teens aged 13 to 18 years, co-produced by teens for teens and designed to connect younger audiences with art, artists and each other. Book here.

Lanyon Christmas Carols and Picnic

Where: Lanyon Homestead
When: 5:00–9:00 pm
Experience a 19th-century Christmas this Saturday at the Lanyon Homestead. The homestead will be lit by candles and decorated for Christmas. Bring a picnic to enjoy in the beautiful Lanyon gardens and join in the carol singing with the Sing Australia Choir and Tuggeranong Valley Band, hosted by Lish Fejer from ABC 666 radio. There will also be Christmas ornament-making for the kids, Victorian-era games such as hoopla and skittles and a sausage sizzle. The carols start at 7:00 pm. Tickets are $15 per car if you book online, or $20 at the gate.

Yarralumla Does Christmas

Where: Weston Park
When: 5:00–7:30 pm
Yarralumla is celebrating Christmas this weekend in Weston Park. There will be live music; bubble-blowing; free face painting, ice cream and fruit; a BBQ, Petanque and lots of craft activities. The Yarralumla Residents Association is encouraging everyone to wear a name tag by giving a prize to the best decorated or most ingenious name tag! Bring a blanket and picnic. Head to the Yarralumla Primary School if it’s raining.

Improv ACT 2019 Showcase

Where: The Street Theatre
When: 7:30 pm
On Saturday night, Improv ACT is showcasing three improvised works directed by Nick Byrne:

  • In the Syle of —a short improvised play which constantly changes genres from Western to Horror to Romance to Noir and then mixes all the genres together.
  • Just Play—a short improvised play devoted to the art of playfulness.
  • Prepare to be Unprepared—an old-fashioned theatre-games based improv show.

Tickets are $28.50 for adults and $24 for concession. Book here.


Pop Goes the Muso

Where: Yerrabi Pond District Park, Gungahlin
When: 4:30–7:30 pm
Pop! Goes the Muso is a series of free family-friendly summer concerts by the Yerrabi Pond. The series comprises three concerts with the first one happening this Sunday. Discover local musicians and artists, join in craft activities, including local artist Jo Hollier’s pop up printing station, and catch up with friends and neighbours. There will be food and drink available to purchase including the Cool Penguin ice cream van and a sausage sizzle run by the Gungahlin Rotary Club. The Pop! Goes the Muso stage will also be sustainably powered by Communi-fi Sound’s Solar Sound Bike.

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Yarralumla Does Christmas appreciates the support of local organisations and businesses in being able to bring this Free event to everyone (not just Yarralumla Residents). Sponsors and participants include the Southern Cross Club, the Embassy of Finland, the Embassy of Japan, the Yarralumla Surgery, Cork & Glass, Yarralumla Pharmacy, Yarralumla IGA, Heritage Nursery, Farmers Daughter, Beess & Co., GG’s Flowers, Yarralumla Uniting Church, Capital Petanque, Yarralumla Primary School, Kent Street Vet, Swingin Tonics and Buzz Bump and Jump.

Please also enjoy the red bows on trees throughout Yarralumla that the YRA has initiated this year.

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