There is an eclectic mix of events to enjoy this weekend. Gamma.con – Canberra’s biggest pop culture festival – returns to Exhibition Park, the Stronger Than Fiction Film Festival is on at the Dendy cinemas, and Canberra Glassworks is having its annual winter open day. Expect to see some weird and wonderful cosplayers if you catch the light rail this weekend, be informed and entertained by the program of fascinating documentary films at Stronger Than Fiction, and pick up some new marbles at the Glassworks this Saturday in case you’ve lost any of your own. Also this Saturday, the Canberra Blues Society is celebrating International Blues Day at the Harmonie German Club. And on Sunday, Trash Mob Canberra are cleaning up Haig Park and Pialligo Estate is opening the doors to its Smokehouse.
Where: Exhibition Park
When: Saturday 10 am–midnight & Sunday 10 am–5 pm
GAMMA.CON is a two-day pop culture festival which celebrates TV, anime, movies, books, comics, gaming, collectables and cosplay. The festival will feature exhibitors, workshops, stage shows, talks and panel discussions, many featuring special guests including:
- Youtuber, podcaster, comedian, and founding gamer from the Scary Game Squad, Jesse Cox
- anime voice actor Paul St. Peter
- comic book artists and illustrators Jon Sommariva, Matthew Lin and Marcelo Baez
- cosplay artists NerdCoreCreation (Dave Barnes), WhereisDanielle (Danielle Debs), Henchwench (Clare Beaton) and Scrap Shop Props (Oarin Tremont)
Check out the program here. During the day, GAMMA.CON is a family-friendly event but after the kids have gone to bed on Saturday night the over-18, Gamma@night takes over (7 pm–midnight). Weekend passes to the festival are $55 for adults, $45 for kids aged 8–16 and $170 for a family of four. Day passes are $35 for adults, $30 for kids aged 8–16 and $105 for a family of four. Kids under 8 are free. Entry to Gamma@night is an extra $25. All tickets are slightly cheaper if you pre-book online.
Where: Dendy Cinemas
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Stronger Than Fiction is Canberra’s documentary film festival. It started as part of the Centenary of Canberra and is now in its sixth year. The festival aims to bring Canberra audiences some of the most exciting and moving documentaries of the year. Highlights from this year’s program include:
- In my blood it runs—Friday 6:15 pm—this film tells the story of ten-year-old indigenous boy Dujuan who is ‘failing’ school and facing scrutiny from the police despite being able to speak three languages. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Maya Newell and producer Larissa Behrendt.
- Midnight Family—Saturday 4 pm—this film is about the Ochoas family who operates a private ambulance service in Mexico City, a city of 9 million people for whom the government provides only 45 ambulances. Seventeen-year-old Juan races the Ochoas’ ambulance through the sprawling city racing other private ambulances to collect potential customers, who can’t or won’t always pay. This screening will be followed by a Q&A with director Luke Lorentzen.
- One Child Nation—Sunday 4 pm—director Nanfu Wang is a member of China’s one-child generation. After she became a mother herself, she started considering how generations of families have been shaped by the one-child policy. In this film Wang uncovers traumatic recollections from her own family’s recent past and revelations from journalists, officials, parents and activists about this traumatic social experiment.
- The Magic Life of V—Sunday 6 pm—wizards, magic spells, and heroic sword battles may not be real, but for Veera they are a real way for her to conquer her inner trauma. When Veera transforms into her LARP (live-action role-play) persona V, fantasy battlefields give her space to combat her psychological turmoil and become the hero of her own story.
Where: Watson Arts Centre
When: Saturday & Sunday 10 am–4 pm
Canberra is hosting its first ceramics market this weekend. Organised by Canberra Potters, this market will provide an outlet for young and emerging ceramic artists to sell their wares. The market will feature handmade ceramics including planter pots, tableware, sculptures, jewellery, vases and more and is a great opportunity to meet and buy directly from the maker.
Where: Canberra Glass Works
When: 10 am–4 pm
Canberra Glassworks is having its annual winter open day this Saturday. There will be hands-on glass activities, live demonstrations by glass artists, behind the scenes tours of the Glassworks, a two-storey high marble run and more. Visit the hot shop to see how marbles are made, watch the creation of the winning entry of the Kids Design Competition and explore the Glasswork’s shop for marble-like pieces. Book workshops, sessions in the hot shop and other sessions here.
Where: Harmonie German Club
When: 12–9:30 pm
The Canberra Blues Society is celebrating the 7th annual International Blues Music Day at the Harmonie German Club this Saturday with a concert featuring local and interstate Blues musicians. The line-up includes Flynn Gurry, Electric Tommy Johnston, Queen Juanita & the Zydeco Cowboys, Kate Lush Band, Blue Tone Specials, Rambal and The Bellhops. There will also be hot rods and speciality market stalls. Tickets are $35 for adults, $30 for students, and $25 for Canberra Blues Society members. Book here or buy on the door. Kids under 12 are free.
Where: Haig Park
When: From 11 am
So far this year Trash Mob Canberra has cleaned up Gungahlin, Tuggeranong, Belconnen and the Cotter. This Sunday it will be cleaning up Haig Park in the city. Help clean the park for an hour or so and then enjoy a free lunch and a feeling of moral superiority!
Where: Pialligo Estate
When: 12–3 pm
Pialligo Estate is opening the doors to its Smokehouse this Sunday. Listen to the Estate’s Smokehouse Manager, Alex Petryk, talk about how the Smokehouse started, the fire that changed it, and what he has learned over his career. Sample Smokehouse fish, chicken and duck while Alex talks and then enjoy a three-course meal featuring more Smokehouse meats. Tickets for adults are $90 without drinks and $120 with drinks, and $30 for kids aged 2–12 years old. Book here.