12 February 2018

Nine things to do around Canberra this long weekend (22–25 September)

| Zoe Pleasants
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It is the first of two long-weekends and the start of school holidays this weekend, and if you’re staying in town there is much to enjoy. Floriade is in full bloom, Nightfest starts and has a stellar line-up of comedians and musicians, and Finnland is celebrating 100 years of independence with a weekend of crazy antics including ‘sporting’ competitions of n-oar-dic walking, hobbyhorse racing, and wife-carrying! Dance Fest is on at the Canberra Theatre, Colorfest is on at Thoroughbred Park this Sunday and Dendy is putting on an interactive screening of the Rocky Horror Picture Show on Monday night.

All weekend


Where: Commonwealth Park
When: 10 am – 7 pm
What’s on at Floriade this weekend? You can paint a gnome, join the circus, pat a reptile, adopt-a-worm, get the kids to cook you gnocchi or crepes, bang a drum, listen to lots of school bands, debate what to do with waste, make a lantern, and pot up a plant. Or you could slow down and stop to smell the tulips. Looking at the weather forecast, Saturday is the pick of the days to go.

Floriade Nightfest

Where: Commonwealth Park
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 8 – 11 pm
Nightfest starts this weekend. Comedians Dilruk Jayasinha, The Stevenson Experience, Tripod, Rebecca De Unamuno and Dane Simpson will provide the laughs; and musicians Kav Temperley—from Eskimo Joe fame—the Australian Defence Force Army Jazz Band and local bands Mondecreen and The Gypsy Scholars will provide the tunes. There will also be many roaming performers, a great selection of food and drinks to sample and a relaxed, long-weekend vibe to enjoy.

Finnish Crazy Games

Where: Embassy of Finland
When: Saturday 10 am – 4 pm & 7 – 9 pm and Sunday 10 am – 4 pm
It’s been 100 years since Finland ended its autonomy within Russia and became an independent country. To celebrate the Embassy of Finland is going crazy! There will be N-oar-dic walking — nordic walking with oars — hobbyhorse racing; and wife-carrying competitions on Saturday, and come-and-try sessions for these ‘sports’ on Sunday. In a welcome relief, it seems like the Finns aren’t concerned with legalities of marriage or indeed the sex of participants for the sport of wife carrying. The Embassy’s website states “…you don’t actually need to be legally married to the ‘wife’ that you carry. It could be your friend, your husband, or your neighbour’s wife, or even the wife of someone you just met (but keep it consensual, everyone.)” In addition to these games, the Embassy is hosting an air-guitar competition on Saturday night (7 – 9 pm), will have Santa’s mailbox and letter writing station set up, will be running Finnish dance workshops, and will be offering a smorgasbord of Finnish food.

Tjanpi Desert Weavers demonstrations and workshops

Where: National Museum of Australia
When: Friday 10 am & 1:30 pm, Saturday 10:30 am & 1:30 pm
As part of the National Museum’s latest exhibition, Songlines: Tracking the Seven Sisters the Museum has invited Tjanpi Desert Weavers Roma Butler, Yvonne Lewis and Rene Nelson to be artists-in-residence. These talented artists weave natural fibres into works of art. Roma belongs to the Pitjantjatjara cultural group, while sisters Yvonne and Rene are Ngaanyatjarra women who specialise in weaving small, neat baskets. The artists will be demonstrating their weaving in the Songlines art centre hub on Friday 10 am – 12 pm and 1:30 – 3:30 pm, and running workshops to teach participants how to create their own basket with grasses sourced from the Central Desert on Saturday 10:30 am – 12:30 pm and 1:30 – 3:30 pm. The demonstrations are free with a Songlines ticket, the workshops are $65 for adults, $55 for concession and $50 for friends, all materials, and a billy tea are included. Book your exhibition ticket here, and workshop ticket here (participants need to be over 15).


Dance Fest

Where: Canberra Theatre
When: 7:30 pm
In its 33rd year, Dance Fest is an annual three-day festival which celebrates dance in Canberra’s schools. The festival started on Wednesday and each night features a different line-up of schools performing dance works they created for the festival. The theme for this year is RIGHT HERE. RIGHT NOW. Dance Fest isn’t a competition but a celebration of what can be achieved through creativity and collaboration. The line-up of schools appearing each night can be found here, tickets from $34 for adults and $29 for concession.

Friday Night Drinks

Where: Old Parliament House
When: 4 pm until late
Friday night drinks at Old Parliament House are back for another year. With warmer weather on the way, enjoy a relaxing drink after work while listening to live music in a beautiful setting. There will be a different theme each week, this week will feature cocktails and a BBQ.


Art Cart

Where: National Portrait Gallery
When: 11 am – 4 pm
The Portrait Gallery is setting up an Art Cart this Saturday for the whole family to enjoy. Try drawing blind or make a peg doll. And while you’re there check out the Gallery’s exhibition Dempsey’s people: a portrait of British Street Portraits 1824–1844 which runs until 22 October. It features 52 rarely-seen portraits of street people such as town-criers, match-sellers, chimney-sweeps and street-food vendors from Regency-era and early Victorian Britain. These portraits are remarkable for their realism and for being rare visual documents of these people. Tickets are $10 for adults, $8 for concession and $5 for members, book here.


Canberra Colorfest

Where: Thoroughbred Park, Lyneham
When: From 11 am – 5 pm
Colorfest is a family-friendly festival which combines electronic dance music, dancing and colour. DJs will provide the music, you’ll do the dancing and every half an hour there will be a countdown to signal the release of coloured powder. The powder will be available for purchase on the day—you’re not allowed to take your own but you’ll get one free bag with your ticket. Wear white and leave colourful! Tickets are $25 for adults, $15 for kids aged 5–12 and pensioners and $70 for a family. book here.


Rocky Horror Interactive Screening

Where: Dendy
When: 6:30 pm
Finish your long weekend at Dendy’s interactive screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Starring Barry Bostwick, Susan Sarandon, Tim Curry, Richard O’Brien and Meat Loaf, sing along to all your favourite songs. A bag of props and song sheet will be provided on arrival along with a Rocky Horror inspired beverage to loosen the social inhibitions. Tickets are $18 and $15 for Club Dendy members, book here.

Live Music around Canberra

If you’re looking for live music around Canberra check out The RiotACT Gig Guide (20 – 25 Sep).

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