14 March 2019

Ten things to do around Canberra this weekend (15–17 March)

| Zoe Pleasants
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It’s your last chance to catch Beagle Maximus – the largest Beagle balloon in the world – this Sunday! Photo: Jack Mohr.

It is a busy weekend coming up, with two codes of footy, contemporary art festivals, beer and fireworks, there should be something for everyone! On Friday night, AFLW is coming to Manuka Oval with the GWS Giants playing Geelong, and the Brumbies have a home game against the Waratahs. On Saturday, Canberra’s annual contemporary arts festival—Art, Not Apart—will be taking over New Acton, and its afterparty, Sound and Fury will continue the fun into the night. Skyfire is also on this Saturday night, head lakeside or to Parliament House for a different perspective. And the Canberra Craft Beer and Cider Festival is also on this Saturday at the Mercure Hotel in Braddon. Then on Sunday, it will be your last chance to see the Balloon Spectacular for this year. No chance for a sleep in!

All weekend

Canberra Balloon Spectacular

Where: Parliamentary Triangle
When: From 6:15 am
The Balloon Spectacular continues this weekend but it finishes on Sunday. It features a beautiful collection of hot air balloons—more than 30 from around the world—including a massive Beagle called Max! 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 and coffee.

Inked: Australian Cartoons

Where: National Library of Australia
When: Friday, Saturday & Sunday 10 am–5 pm
The National Library’s latest exhibition presents a selection of the best cartoons from the Library’s extensive collection of over 14,000 cartoons from present day back to 1788. The exhibition features the work of Australian cartoonists Will Dyson, Judy Horacek, Michael Leunig, David Low, Phil May, Alan Moir, Bruce Petty, Martin Sharp, Cathy Wilcox and many more. There is also a dedicated children’s area—Inked: Play. The exhibition opened last weekend and runs until 21 July. Entry is free.


AFLW: Giants vs Geelong

Where: Manuka Oval
When: Gates open at 6:05 pm
Women’s AFL returns to Manuka Oval this Friday night with the GWS Giants playing Geelong Cats in the last round of the regular season. Gates open just after 6 pm, kick-off at 7:15 pm and best of all, it’s free!

Brumbies vs Waratahs

Where: GIO Stadium
When: Gates open at 4:50 pm
The Brumbies are playing their old foes the Waratahs on Friday night at GIO Stadium. Adding to the rivalry is the contest for the Dan Vickerman Trophy. The Brumbies currently hold the Trophy, which is given to the overall victor of the games between the two teams, but the Waratahs are keen to win it for the first time. Dan Vickerman was a former Wallabies player who played for both teams. He died in 2017, aged 37.


Canberra Craft Beer and Cider Festival

Where: Mercure Hotel
When: 11 am–6 pm
In its 12th year, the Canberra Craft Beer & Cider Festival is on this Saturday in the gardens of the Mercure Hotel in Braddon. Choose from over 200 craft beers and ciders to sample from breweries across Australia. Exhibitors will include locals BentSpoke Brewing Co, Captial Brewing Co and Jono’s Jerky; from interstate the Sydney Brewery, Pirate Life, Stone Dog Meadery, Young Henrys, Mountain Goat Beer, Goose Island Brewery and James Squire; and cideries Nightingale Bros Alpine Cider and Willie Smith’s Cider. Tickets are $19 pre-purchase or $25 at the door, book here. All money raised will go to supporting Rise Above—a charity that provides financial assistance and support to cancer patients and their families living in Canberra, Queanbeyan and surrounds.

BOLD Festival: One Giant Step

Where: Parliament House
When: 2–3:20 pm
One Giant Step is a program of contemporary dance works that will be performed at Parliament House this Saturday afternoon. It is part of the BOLD Festival which celebrates the work of older and still practising dance artists, and the exchange of ideas across generations that these artists facilitate. One Giant Step will feature a number of short dance works and will include performances by Eileen Kramer who is 104, and Indigenous violinist Eric Avery. The works on the program are:

  • Space Jump performed by Fresh Funk
  • Space Odyssey performed by The ACT Company (Australian Talented Youth Project)
  • Space Walk performed by Hilal Dance Australia
  • Moon Magic performed by The Stellar Arts Company
  • Reflections on the Moon performed by QL2 Dance
  • Connection to Country performed by The Stellar Arts Company with Eric Avery and Graham Davis King
  • Moon Shadow performed by 4G elders dance company
  • Moon Memories performed by Eileen Kramer and musicians.

Art, Not Apart

Where: New Acton, The Shine Dome and National Film and Sound Archives
When: 1–7 pm, after party from 7 pm
Art, Not Apart is a contemporary arts festival, held in and around New Acton, that celebrates Canberra’s local arts scene. There will be exhibitions, performance art, live music, interactive installations, films, spontaneous interventions, delicious food and drink, and an after-party. Highlights include:

  • Canberra Opera performing an updated version of Mozart’s one-act opera, The Impresario, which they have transformed into a political satire featuring a cast of divisive Australian political identities;
  • dance performances by The Australian Dance Party, Liz Lea and the Canberra Dance Theatre, James Batchelor, Zandler Porter, Miriam Pickard and others; and
  • music performances by Pheno, Gypsy Jazz Project, Melting Pot and others.

Check out the program here. And if one afternoon of performance art is not enough, enjoy much more late into the night at the Sound and Fury after party at QT Hotel! Tickets from $35, book here.


Where: Central Basin, Lake Burley Griffin
When: 6–9 pm
Skyfire, Canberra’s annual fireworks display set to a soundtrack broadcast on Hit 104.7 is on this Saturday night. There will be entertainment from 6 pm at Regatta Point hosted by Hit 104.7’s Ned & Josh and featuring DJ Lenny Pearce from Justice Crew and Samantha Jade. There will be activities for the kids on the Patrick White Lawns including a Nerf Arena, and military displays including artillery firing by Australia’s Federation Guard at Gallipoli Reach and flyovers of the Navy’s Tapin helicopter and the RAAF’s C17 aircraft. And, of course, there will be fireworks—20 minutes of them, choreographed to music. Find a good spot by the lake and settle in for a great night with family and friends.

Skyfire at Parliament House

Where: Parliament House Lawn, Senate side
When: 6–9 pm
Watch some actual, rather than metaphoric fireworks at Parliament House! Bypass the hustle and bustle at the lake and watch Skyfire from the lawns of Parliament House. Local musicians, the Brass Knuckle Brass Band will be playing in the lead-up to the main event, and the Parliament House catering team will be providing the food. For an even smoother experience, pre-order your food for express pick-up on the night! Pre-order food here, before 12 noon, Friday.

Government House Open Day

Where: Government House, Yarralumla
When: 10 am–2 pm
Explore Government House and its grounds this Sunday as the Governor-General, Sir Peter Cosgrove and his wife, Lady Lynne Cosgrove open the doors to the public. The G-G, Lady Cosgrove, Government House staff and volunteers from the Australiana Fund will be on hand to answer questions and share perspectives of life in Government House.

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