7 March 2019

Nine things to do around Canberra this Canberra Day long weekend (8–11 March)

| Zoe Pleasants
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Keen for a foodie night? Don’t miss the Night Noodle Market this weekend. File photo.

It’s Canberra Day long weekend and as is the tradition the Balloon Spectacular will be taking flight from 6:15 am for the next week. Enlighten continues with the Night Noodle Markets, stunning architectural projections, music and entertainment. As part of the Enlighten Festival the short film festival Lights, Camera, Action will be screening in the Rose Gardens of Old Parliament House this Friday night, and the Canberra Symphony Orchestra is collaborating with a Bee Gees tribute band for Symphony in the Park this Sunday night. It’s International Women’s Day on Friday and to celebrate Tuggeranong Arts Centre is hosting a night of female comedians, Muse Bookshop is opening its Festival Muse with an event featuring five intriguing Australian Women, and on Sunday, the Canberra Theatre is hosting a satellite event of the All About Women Festival happening at the Sydney Opera House. Then on Monday celebrate Canberra Day in Commonwealth Park or at the Dickson Pool.

All weekend

Canberra Balloon Spectacular

Where: Parliamentary Triangle
When: Saturday, Sunday & Monday 6:15 –10 am
The Balloon Spectacular takes off this weekend and flies until 17 March. It will feature an amazing collection of hot air balloons—more than 30 from around the world—including Beagle Maximus. Balloon take-offs are weather dependent so check Facebook, the internet, and local radio stations from 6:15 am each morning for an update. As well as (or instead of) the balloons you can enjoy a hot breakfast, coffee and live music on weekends.


Where: Parliamentary Triangle
When: Friday, Saturday, Sunday & Monday 8–11 pm
Enlighten continues this weekend. See stunning architectural projections on Parliament House, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Portrait Gallery, Old Parliament House, the National Library and Questacon. Eat at the Night Noodle Markets until Sunday night and enjoy live music and roving performers. The projections are switched on at 8 pm each night but will be turned off for the last time at 11 pm on Monday night. The Night Noodle Markets start at 4 pm on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Other activities this weekend include glowing hot air balloons, and the short film festival Lights! Canberra! Action! on Friday night and a Junior Coin Minties Coin Trade, 5 – 6:30 pm on Saturday. There is also live music each night, check out the program here.

Festival Muse

Where: Muse Bookshop, East Hotel, Kingston
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
For a third year, Muse Bookshop in Kingston is bringing together writers, thinkers, activists and artists for a festival that celebrates curiosity, conversation, creativity, coffee and canapés. This year’s Festival Muse comprises seven events including an opening event on Friday with five intriguing Australian women—Sarah Avery, Aunty Matilda House, Kate Legge, Alice Pung and Annika Smethurst—talking about their moments of wonder; and sessions featuring Kate Legge, Alice Pung and Sulari Gentill. Check out the program of events and book tickets here.


Tell it Sisters—International Women’s Day Comedy Showcase

Where: Tuggeranong Arts Centre
When: 8 pm
Celebrate International Women’s Day this Friday with a bunch of funny women. Tuggeranong Arts Centre is hosting a line-up of all female comedians headlined by Steph Tisdell from Brisbane and featuring local comedians Chris Ryan, Lauren Duong, Tanya Losanno and Laura Campbell. Tickets are $25, book here.


Death Cab for Cutie

Where: Canberra Theatre
When: 7:30 pm
American indie rock band, Death Cab for Cutie is playing at the Canberra Theatre this Saturday night. The band has recently released its ninth album, Thank You For Today, and are returning to Australia for the first time in four years. They will be supported by Charlie Collins, tickets from $79, book here.


All About Women

Where: Courtyard Studio
When: 1 – 5:30 pm

All About Women is a festival of ideas, discussions and events all about women held at the Sydney Opera House each year to celebrate International Women’s Day. This year, Canberra Theatre is running a satellite event in its Courtyard Studio hosted by local theatre artist Cathy Petocz and featuring a panel of Canberran authors, artists, and academics including Myra Mentari Abubakar, Ginger Gorman, Zev Aviv and Shoeb (Sia) Ahmad. There will be a live feed from the Sydney event for three panels:

  • Me Too, Year Two—a discussion about the next steps for this movement;
  • Feminism in the Arab World—a panel curated by poet and activist Sara Saleh to explode myths and assumptions about Arab women and LGBTIQ people; and
  • Leading while Female—a frank conversation between Julie Bishop, Linda Burney, Sarah Hanson-Young, and Julia Banks to answer the question: why is it so hard to be a woman politician?

With live music, great conversation and a bar, this is the perfect International Women’s Day after party! Tickets are $15, book here.

Symphony in the Park

Where: Stage 88, Commonwealth Park
When: 7 – 10 pm
As part of the Enlighten Festival, the Canberra Symphony Orchestra is collaborating with the Bee Gees tribute band, Best of the Bee Gees for a night of nostalgic hits under the stars and amongst the trees at Stage 88. Bring a picnic blanket and a picnic or enjoy food from the on-site food vans.


Canberra Day

Where: Stage 88, Commonwealth Park
When: 2 – 7 pm
Celebrate Canberra’s 106th birthday at Commonwealth Park. There will be amusement park rides, tasty food from local traders, face painting and other activities for the kids, and live music.

Canberra Day Pool Party

Where: Dickson Aquatic Centre
When: 12 – 7 pm
The Dickson Pool is hosting a pool party to celebrate Canberra Day with live music, food and pool games. The music line up features talented local musicians: Maxo, Sophie Rainbow, Cathy Diver, Anna McCormack and Evan Packhard. Entry is standard pool entry—$7 for adults, $5 for concession, $4 for pensioners and free for kids under three. Bring a picnic or buy food at the event, note there will be no alcohol at this event.

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My recommendation for the night noodle markets is to eat your dinner before you go, the food is outrageously expensive and kids size serves.

Canberra day: On Monday 11 March, Cockington Green is supporting Raw Potential Canberra and Canberra City Care with a charity fundraiser.
Entry to the Green will be by gold coin donation, with proceeds of the day distributed to Raw Potential Canberra (formerly Youth Care Canberra) and Canberra City Care. They are also requesting non-perishable food items to go into a collection bin to Canberra City Care’s HandUp Food Care service which helps needy families.

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