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Top 15 Festivals and Events in Canberra, 2017

Home > Canberra > Community Events | Family | Festivals | Fun for Children | Lists
by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun!
Published December 13th 2016
Food festivals, fireworks, floral displays & more
When visitors from other states come to Canberra, they are often surprised by the range of events held in the Capital each weekend. As a festival-loving city, we are fortunate that even more major events, festivals, expo's, markets and concerts are popping up around the city every year. The following are just 15 of the most popular events and festivals around the city in 2017, however they only scratch the surface of what's on each weekend. So get out there and enjoy what this city has to offer. It will be just you - and thousands of other festival-loving Canberrans all ready for a good time!

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Australia Day in the Capital - Commonwealth Park


1/ Summernats 30 (5th - 8th January) is an annual street machine festival, held over 3 huge days at the EPIC (Exhibition Park in Canberra). Thousands of people attend this event to look under the hoods of Australia's best street machines, watch burnout competitions and enjoy live entertainment and fireworks by night. In 2017, the concert lineup includes Thirsty Merc, Dapht, Airbourne and Spit Syndicate. See website here.

2/ Australia Day in the Capital (26th January) is held at Commonwealth Park with an Aussie BBQ Breakfast, children's rides, concerts on Stage 88 and good ol' Aussie fun for the whole family. At night, grab a spot by Lake Burley Griffin for the 9pm fireworks. See website here.

3/ The National Multicultural Festival (17th - 19th February) is a 3 day event held in the centre of Canberra's CBD. Enjoy food from over 300 international food stalls and watch cultural performances and displays. Over 250,000 people visit the festival over 3 days. In 2017, the opening night concert will feature Kate Ceberano. See website here .

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Traditional costumes and performances. Source: National Multicultural Festival website


4/ The ActewAGL Canberra Show (24th - 26th February) is an opportunity for city kids to experience rural life at the EPIC. There will be animal judging, horse shows, petting zoos, rides, sideshow alley fireworks and more. See website here.

5/ Enlighten Festival (3th -12th March) is a highlight of the event calendar where our national landmarks are lit up in architectural projections. See Parliament House, the National Library and other iconic buildings lit up with projections by night. There are daily events, tours, entertainment and the popular Night Noodle Markets to enjoy throughout the festival. See website here.

6/ Canberra Balloon Spectacular (11th - 19th March) will be held on the lawns outside Old Parliament House. Over 40 colourful balloons from around the world inflate and then take off over Canberra together in a spectacular sight. The most popular balloons are the cartoon characters and the novelty shapes - what will be up in the skies this year? See website here.

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The colour and imagination of Enlighten. Source: Individual images from Enlighten Facebook


7/ Skyfire (18th March) is an annual fireworks spectacular set to music over Lake Burley Griffin. The event is organised by radio station 104.7 and each year the fireworks get bigger and better. As well as the fireworks there is a host of live entertainment to enjoy, with some of the country's biggest names hitting the stage beforehand. See the 104.7 Facebook here, or their website for details.

8/ National Folk Festival (13th - 17th April) is an award winning event held over the Easter Long Weekend with a range of folk music concerts, market stalls, circus performers and roving musicians. Over the course of the festival there are over 450 individual concerts. See website here.

9/ Winter Festival in the City (June - July) is a month long event in the Civic with an outdoor ice skating rink set up to create a winter wonderland. The theme is designed around a European Winter, with food stalls selling German sausages and belly-warming winter fare. See website here.

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Hire a penguin for the kids at the Winter Festival. Source: Winter Festival Facebook


10/ Canberra Truffle Festival (June - August) is a celebration of the local Black Perigord Truffle harvest. The Canberra region and surrounds is famous for its Black Truffles (with a similar climate to the truffle growing areas of France) and this festival allows visitors to visit truffle farms, enjoy degustation dinners and learn more about this "black gold". See website here.

11/ World Curry Festival in the City (July) will be held in the Civic with a variety of food stalls selling curries from every corner of the world. Thousands of people rug up and enjoy this event - where the outside temperatures may be chilly, but the curries are super hot! See website here.

12/ Floriade (16th September - 15th October) is a month long celebration of Spring at Commonwealth Park. This free event has spectacular floral displays, markets, food, cooking demonstrations and more. Also see the floral displays by night at NightFest, before watching a comedy act or attending a show. See website here.

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Warm up at the World Curry Festival in the City. Source: In the City Facebook


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The colour and crowds of Floriade


13/ Tulip Top Festival (16th September - 15th October) is another floral spectacular held over the border in NSW at the same time as Floriade. This sea of tulips underneath blossoming trees is located on a private property in Sutton, lovingly cared for by a family who spend all year preparing for the opening. See website here.

14/ Christmas in the City (December) changed its format in 2016 to include themed food night markets, fairy lights over Christmas markets and a variety of family friendly acts and entertainment. What will they do in 2017? See website here closer to the date.

15/ New Years Eve in the City (31st December) is a huge event held in two locations across the city. Civic Square has a family concert with national acts before the 9pm and midnight fireworks. Garema Place also has Bass in the Place dance party until 1am with nationally recognised DJ's and party atmosphere. See website here closer to the date.

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Finish off the year at Bass in the Place, before getting ready to do it all again in 2018! Source: Events ACT Facebook

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Why? A great way to get out into the community & have fun!
When: All year along
Where: All around Canberra - see each individual website for details
Cost: Many are free - see each website for details
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