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Top 5 Summer Events in Canberra for 2016-2017

Home > Canberra > Australia Day | Christmas | Cinema | Community Events | New Years Eve
by Sue W (subscribe)
Lover of exploring, family, food and fun!
Published December 12th 2016
Where beers taste colder and cocktails taste even sweeter
Here in Canberra you will find that locals are either Winter people who love the cold, or Summer people who can't wait to dust off the thongs and slap on the zinc. I must admit to being the latter, as there is nothing better than long days and light evenings, BBQ's down the park, grass between the toes and early morning walks around Lake Burley Griffin - before it gets too hot. Another attractive feature of a Canberra Summer are the festivals which take advantage of the balmy weather and the Summertime, carefree mood. For adults, beers taste colder and cocktails taste even sweeter as the sun goes down at festivals around the city. Below is a list of 5 events which capture this carefree essence of a Summer in Canberra. Where will you be celebrating Summer this weekend?

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Source: In the City Facebook


Christmas in the City (16th - 24th December) is a series of nightly events held in the middle of the CBD, with the Handmade Markets one of the main attractions. The markets, lit up by thousands of twinkling fairy lights overhead, are an ideal way to finish the Christmas shopping and also support the Red Nose appeal with a small donation to get in. On the first night there will be the Christmas in the City Concert with Shannon Noll kicking off the festival, as well as Lah Lah and her Big Live Band, The Brindabella Chorus and Santa himself. There will also be a host of themed foodie markets each night, with a delicious range of dinner and dessert items to choose from. There will be the Burgers, BBQ and Beer Market (16th/17th December), Street Food Markets (18th/19th December), Sweet Tooth Dessert Markets (20th - 22nd December) and Cocktails and Canapés Markets (23rd/24th December) - all with live music, twinkling fairy lights and Summer festival atmosphere. See here for the Christmas in the City website and here for Facebook.

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Source: In the City Facebook


New Yea'rs Eve in the City (31st December) is an event held in the city with two major concerts happening within walking distance from each other. In Civic Square there will be a family friendly New Years Eve Concert with bands The Potbelleez, Heuristic, Nostalgia and the Brass Knuckle Brass Band entertaining the crowds. This popular outdoor concert pauses for the 9pm and midnight fireworks, with the pyrotechnic spectacular seen right above the concert. See here for details. For those who prefer to dance, then take a walk over to Garema Place after the 9pm fireworks for the Bass in the Place dance party. Up on stage will be top DJ's Tyson, Exposure, Odd Mob and BNDR, with their range of beats reverberating through the city until 1am. This is where the party-goers will all be congregating, on the biggest night of the year. See here for details.

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Feel the love this Summer at Bass in the Place. Source: Events ACT Facebook


Summernats 30 (5th - 8th January) is a street machine car festival held at the EPIC (Exhibition Park in Canberra). It is EPIC by location and EPIC by nature, attracting thousands of people from across the country to this 3 day event. Look under the hood of hundreds of street machines, watch burnout competitions, shop for car related products and get involved in all the car action. If that's not enough, there will also be Thirsty Merc, Dapht, Spit Syndicate and Airbourne playing on the stage, before the spectacular fireworks at night. The 3 days of this event often fall on Canberra's hottest Summer days, so keep an eye out for the Fire Brigade who have been known to cool down the crowds with their high pressure hoses. See here for the website and here for Facebook.

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Summer hots up at Summernats. Source: Summernats Facebook

summernats, canberra, ACT, january 2017, events, summer, festivals
Thank you ACT Fire Brigade! Source: Summernats Facebook


Ben & Jerry's Openair Cinema (12th January - 19th February ) is set up on the Patrick White Lawns, between the National Library and Lake Burley Griffin. It is an opportunity to lie on soft beanbags, hold a pizza slice in one hand and a cold cider in the other and enjoy the latest release movies up on the big screen. Choose between a variety of new releases and old school classics, with Tuesday nights hosting a few retro flashbacks. The best day to go is on Sunday for the Sundae Sessions, with live music, free ice creams and lawn games for all ages to enjoy. If you want to upgrade, there are food and drink packages as well as deals which include a comfy lounger, bucket of Ben & Jerry's ice cream and a bottle of wine to share. See here for all the details.

ben and jerrys openair cinema, canberra, ACT, patrick white lawns, summer, events, festivals, january 2017, february 2017, 2017,
Summer nights by Lake Burley Griffin. Source: Canberra Ben & Jerry's Openair Cinema Facebook


Australia Day in the Capital (26th Australia) is a fun-filled day out at Commonwealth Park for all ages to enjoy. Nothing says "Summer" more than Australia Day, as people slap on the sunscreen and spend the day in the great outdoors. The day kicks off early with the Aussie BBQ Breakfast, before a whole program of events including children's concerts on Stage 88, jumping castles, inflatable obstacle courses, free kids activities, food trucks and more. There will also be a National Flag Raising and Citizenship Ceremony, 21 Gun Salute and a Fly Over down on Rond Terrace by Lake Burley Griffin. This patriotic day isn't finished yet - make sure you stay for the fireworks over Lake Burley Griffin at 9pm. See here for all the details closer to the date.

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Fun in the sun at Australia Day in the Capital - Commonwealth Park

Although Summer is jam-packed full of fun, there are events held all throughout the year that also attract huge crowds and make the most of each season. It is an exciting time to be living in Canberra, with more festivals and events added every year. So although the people who love Summer mourn the end of the season, the Winter-lovers have all the cold weather events to look forward to in the months ahead. A good compromise however, is the next season of Autumn - the sweet spot in the middle that can be enjoyed by everyone. With events such as this (below) to look forward to - it is clear that all seasons in Canberra, have something good to offer, after all.

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An Autumn event to look forward to - The Night Noodle Markets at Enlighten (March). Source: Enlighten Facebook

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Why? Make the most of the light evenings and festival atmosphere
When: See each individual website for details
Where: All around Canberra
Cost: See individual websites for costs
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