Can you believe we are up to the August long weekend already? Our summer is going really well, although we were all felled by a nasty cold this week which put a damper on the Awesome. Still, we’ve been to some great places with more to come. We’ll be in town for the long weekend and looking to check out some of the epic events that are happening. (As usual, these events are for two weeks out; for this weekend’s slice of epic, see here.)
The biggest party in town is the Rideau Canal Festival, which runs from the 3rd through the 6th. It’s an unusual event in that it offers a lot of different experiences for families. For example, you can register your child here for a class to learn to make stop motion animation using digital software; classes run all day Saturday and Sunday. There will also be Robotics Workshops, Hula Hoop Workshops, tons of arts and crafts, face painting, clowns, penny farthing bike rides, and Pirate Adventure tours – all taking place (or leaving from) Dow’s Lake on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday at Dow’s Lake, there’s bands all day, then fire dancers, a flotilla of lights, and fireworks in the evening. And that doesn’t even mention the events up at the canal near the Bytown Museum, which include musket demonstrations, plenty of bands and dance demonstrations, food trucks, canal tours (of course), rock carving, face painting, and on Monday, an auction of all the stone and wood carvings that were made over the weekend, and a celebration of Colonel By Day all day long at the Bytown Museum. Some things are free, some things cost money, so bring some cash with you – and also consider picking up a festival passport, which gives you access to a lot of festival events and places around downtown for just $20 per family.
Also happening all long weekend: The Busker Festival along Sparks Street. This is one of our favourite events of the year; we like to combine it with a trip to Parliament Hill. Bring lots of loonies and toonies and then just wander along Sparks Street anytime after 11 a.m. on August 2 through 6th. You’ll be dazzled by the wide range of entertainment and there’s always something new just up the block; in the past we’ve seen magicians, jugglers, a strong woman who ripped the telephone book in half, sword swallowers, clowns, and beatboxers.
If downtown sounds like too crazy a scene for you, consider Merrickville’s own Canal Festival, also running all weekend. It’s about an hour’s drive south of Ottawa, and will be a quieter event with bands, a craft show, The Bug Lady, face painting, and a petting zoo.
The Lumiere Festival kicks off its lantern making workshops on the August long weekend. There’s three weeks of lantern making leading up to the big parade of lights on August 18. The workshops are in various places at various times; see here for the schedule. Also, this isn’t really for kids but I include it here because these days, almost every parent is an amateur photographer. The Lumiere Festival is hosting a 24 Hour Photo Marathon, starting Saturday, August 4 at noon. You have to pick up a card, then try to get interesting and original photos of everything on the card within the next 24 hours. Cool!
And that’s it for the long weekend – wishing you great weather and a great civic holiday!