Canberra Day is a public holiday just for the lucky people of the ACT, to celebrate the birthday of Canberra each year. This year it is a special celebration, as it has now been 105 years since Canberra got its name on the 12th March, 1913. The Canberra Day long weekend is a time of celebration and relaxation, with the community coming together at the end of the weekend for a festival at Commonwealth Park. Although many Canberrans will pack up the car and hit the road this long weekend, it really is a good opportunity to stay home and enjoy all the activities that Canberra has to offer. Here are 40 ideas of what to do, where to go and what to see, this Canberra Day long weekend - you definitely won't be bored!
Enjoy all the fun of the Enlighten Festival! Image: Original photos from Enlighten Facebook
Lights! Canberra! Action! is a film festival that will be held in the Senate Rose Gardens at Old Parliament House, for one night only. This event is for all movie buffs and those who prefer their viewings outdoors! See here for details.
The National Carillon will have a concert between 6pm - 7pm, with international and Canberra carillonists playing the bells over Lake Burley Griffin. See here for details.
Strassman's iTedE will be on at the Canberra Theatre Centre, with the show starting at 7pm. Their last show at the Canberra Theatre Centre will be tomorrow night, with two show times to choose from. See here for details.
RED is a one-woman performance at the QL2 at Gorman, starting at 8pm. See here for details, with another show also on Saturday night.
Saturday is the start of the Canberra Balloon Spectacular! Image: Enlighten Festival Facebook (photo credit: instagram simplycheeky)
The Canberra Balloon Spectacular starts early this morning, with approximately 40 hot air balloons taking off at once at dawn from the lawns in front of Old Parliament House. Watch as they glide over the Canberra skyline and then stay to warm up with a hot breakfast. See here for more details.
The National Arboretum is a popular place to view the Canberra Balloon Spectacular and their Sprout café will be open from 7:30am, so you can enjoy a hot drink or something to eat afterward viewing the spectacular. Dairy Farmers Hill Lookout is a popular spot to view the event, just after the balloons take off. See here for details.
The Capital Region Farmers Market will be on at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC), between 7:30am - 11:30am, for all your fresh produce needs. See here for details. See here for a full article.
The City Walk Markets will be held behind the merry-go-round in City Walk, between 10am - 4pm. See here for details.
Read To Dashi the Story Dog will be held at Kippax Library, for children aged 7 - 12. See here for details.
The Disney Classics Film Festival at Event Cinema Manuka will be showing Dumbo all weekend. See here for details.
The Queanbeyan Rodeo will be held at Queanbeyan Showgrounds, with a sideshow alley, rides, food and the action in the ring - such as steer wrestling, ladies barrel race, roping, breakaway roping, bull riding and more. See here for details.
See all the action at the Queanbeyan Rodeo. Image: Queanbeyan Rodeo Facebook
The Charny Carny will be held in Charnwood, with amusement rides, food and a whole lot of family fun! This event is to support the people and community groups of West Belconnen. See here for details.
Vegan Day Out will be held in Braddon this weekend. See here for details.
The Enlighten Festival is on again tonight and it is often the busiest night of the event - as locals realise they only have 2 more nights left of the delicious markets! Tonight the Night Noodle Markets start at 4pm, the Illuminations are getting turned on at 8pm and there will be a host of live music, roving performers and much more. See here for the nightly guide.
The National Carillon will have a concert between 12:30pm - 1:30pm and also between 6pm - 7pm in the evening. Relax with a picnic by the lake and enjoy the sound of the bells. See here for details.
Nitro Circus - Next Level is on tonight at GIO Stadium, with dare-devil stunts on BMX, scooters and Inline, as well as huge tricks on the 60-foot Giganta ramp! See here for details.
Saturday night fun with Nitro Circus! Image: Nitro Circus website
The John McGrath Auto Group Black Opal Stakes is Canberra's premier horse racing event, with Fashions on the Field, food, local racing, live music, face painting, a jumping castle and of course, the Black Opal Stakes. See here for details.
The Canberra Balloon Spectacular continues this morning, see here for more details. The National Arboretum will also be open for viewing and the café will open early.
The Old Bus Depot Markets will be having a themed market called Retro Depot, for all lovers of yesteryear! See here for details. See here for a full article.
Lions Woden Market is held every Sunday in the carpark of Westfield Shopping Centre at Woden, between 7am - 12pm. See here for details. See here for a full article.
The Southside Farmers Market is held every Sunday at the Canberra College, between 8am and 11:30am. See here for details. See here for a full article.
The Jamison Trash and Treasure Markets is held every Sunday in the carpark of the Jamison Centre in Macquarie, between 7am and 12:30pm. See here for details. See here for a full article.
The Tuggeranong Lions Community Market will be held at Calwell High School, between 9am - 2pm. See here for details.
Canberra Miniature Railway will be opening for the first time, at their new property in Symonston. Kids will love riding the small trains, with rides costing $3. See here for details.
Disney Sing-A-Long Festival be on at Limelight Cinema's in Tuggeranong, with children's favourite Moana up on the big screen. See here for details.
Sing along to Moana at Limelight Cinema, Tuggeranong. Image: Limelight Cinema website
PS Enterprise: Public inspection will be open for viewing at the National Museum of Australia, so history-enthusiasts can walk through The Paddle Steamer Enterprise. See here for details.
Upcycle Origami Easter Workshop will be held at the Trove shop in Canberra, to learn Easter-themed origami. See here for details.
Andrew Strong performs The Commitments at the Canberra Theatre Centre, at 7pm. See here for details.
The Enlighten Festival is on again - so get to the Parliamentary Triangle for your last chance to enjoy the Night Noodle Markets and Illuminations. See here for the nightly guide. Strassman's iTedE show has moved to the Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, with two shows in the evening at 6pm and 8:15pm. See here for details. An Evening with Marco Pierre White will be held at the National Portrait Gallery, for all chefs in the making. See here for details. Please note: This event has now SOLD OUT, however see here to get onto the waitlist.
Symphony in the Park is a concert at Stage 88 at Commonwealth Park, with the Canberra Symphony Orchestra and Queen tribute band Killer Queen Experience combining for a concert to remember! This is a free performance for the Enlighten Festival. See here for details.
Monday, 12th March - Canberra Day
Canberra Day will be celebrated at Commonwealth Park, between 2pm - 7pm. Kids will enjoy a live show on Stage 88 from children's performers Lah Lah's Big Live Band at 2pm, as well as amusement park rides, jumping castles, face painting and delicious food from the food vendors. Also enjoy live music from Lucy Sugerman (3pm), Ali Barter (4pm), Nicole Millar (5pm) and Sheppard (6pm). See here for details.
The Canberra Balloon Spectacular continues this morning, see here for details.
SUP'ing with the Balloons is an opportunity for anyone with a Stand Up Paddleboard or watercraft to gather and get out onto Lake Burley Griffin, with the hot air balloons overhead. See here for details..
Wow - what a weekend! I hope you enjoy your Canberra Day long weekend...
...just as much as the kids! (Canberra Day events, Commonwealth Park). Image: Enlighten Facebook