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Events ACT is your guide to what's on in Canberra. Browse and filter upcoming Canberra events in the calendar to find information about free and ticketed events that interest you. If you're an event organiser you can also add events, plan events and apply for funding and grants.

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What's on in Canberra!

Your essential guide to what’s on in Canberra this week. Here are 10 things you shouldn’t miss!

Canberra Nara Candle Festival

Be mesmerised by the sounds of Japanese music. Be enchanted by 2,000 candles shimmering as the sun sets. Be absorbed by the ancient art of ikebana. Be at the Canberra Nara Candle Festival.

Celebrating the ever-growing friendship between sister-cities Canberra and Nara this festival has become a milestone event, showcasing traditional Australian and Japanese culture. Food stalls offering delicious Japanese-inspired cuisine such as yaki udon, donburi, gyoza, okonomiyaki and sushi will tantalise your tastebuds.

There’s also a jam-packed programme which features everything from sumo to TaikOz drumming through to the sacred sake barrel ceremony. Children’s activities and workshops will keep little minds learning and playing, with kite flying, traditional Japanese games, as well as calligraphy and origami classes.

The Canberra Nara Candle Festival is held at Nara Peace Park in Lennox Gardens on Saturday 29 October 4:30pm – 9:00pm. 

Contour 556

Contour 556 runs over four weekends between Friday 21 October and Sunday 13 November 2016 on the Lake Burley Griffin foreshore. Starting from the National Library of Australia art from 50 talented artists is dotted around the shoreline all the way round to the Kingston Arts Precinct.

Our pick for this weekend’s line up is Jacqueline Bradley’s Boat Race on Saturday 29 October 6pm along the lake edge of the Central Basin.


Design Canberra

Design is weaved throughout Canberra’s history from the Griffin’s city design over a century ago to our emergence as Australia’s cool little capital today. Now in its third year, Design Canberra will present over 100 exhibitions, events activations and workshops.

Inspiration for the ludicrous number of exhibitions run during this festival is drawn from landscape design, architecture, industrial design, technology, fashion, and jewellery. There’s something for all interests and ages. Most events are free to the public

Design Canberra runs between the Thursday 27 October and Friday 25 November.

Canberra International Film Festival

This year the exceptional program has been curated to reflect stories and voices that matter. The ranges of films present important perspectives from around the world and celebrate the diversity we live with in our communities.

Our pick for this week is Canadian film Play Your Gender, which will be making its world premiere in Canberra as part of the festival. With women so vastly underrepresented in roles outside of being ‘the attractive pop star’, this documentary explore what it take for them to make it in the music industry.

Based at the National Film and Sound Archive the Canberra International Film Festival will be lighting up Canberra from Thursday 27 October to Sunday 6 November.

Canberra SpringOUT Pride Festival

It’s that time of year again! SpringOUT Pride Festival, Canberra’s annual queer culture festival, will feature three action packed weeks of events that will charge, stimulate and electrify your senses. Whether you want to celebrate with a dance party or a private tour of the national gallery SpringOUT has you covered.

Our pick for this week line up of truly fabulous events is Fair Day at the Gorman Arts Centre 11:00am-4:00pm on Saturday 29 October. A fun filled day of markets, scrumptious food and entertainment celebrating the diversity of our community.

This pride festival will run from Saturday 29 October to Sunday 20 November at various locations across Canberra #SpringOUT2016

Melbourne Cup Day

It’s the race that stops the nation...but it doesn’t stop the nation’s capital from making the most of Melbourne Cup Day. Whilst it’s not quite a public holiday here it might as well be as Canberra will be buzzing.

Whether you head to Thoroughbred Park or join in the festivities at your local there’s sure to be a Melbourne Cup Day event which tickles your fancy. Even the National Gallery of Australia is jumping on board the cup day band wagon hosting a three course lunch with champagne. Wherever you go just make sure you are dressed to impress!

Festival of Flavour

Showcasing the finest and freshest cuisine from the Canberra region foodies from all over will be flocking to the Festival of Flavour. Savour something tasty as talented musicians take the stage to entertain you. Producers, restaurants and eateries from the South Coast, the Snowy Mountains, Young and everywhere in between will be there.

Grab a glass and discover why the Canberra region is one of the most popular wine, beer and cider making regions this weekend.

The Festival of Flavour will be held on Saturday 29 October to Sunday 30th October at Murrumbateman Recreation Grounds.


Whether you have kids or you’re a kid at heart there’s plenty to keep you entertained this Halloween. Take the whole family to Boogong to brave the haunted graveyard and blood pond. Roaming performers and fireworks will also feature during the evening.

Check out Bentspoke’s transformation into Bentspook or visit the Knightsbridge Penthouse’s Knightmare on Mort Street. If themed cocktails are not for you head to the Canberra International Film Festival for a double feature of The Frankenstein Complex and Rob Zombie’s 31. 


Oktoberfest is overtaking Exhibition Park this weekend. Dress in your best dirndl or lederhosen, grab a pretzel and enjoy a craft beer or two...or three.

Friday night will see the official tapping of the keg to the sound of the appropriately named Oompa Band. The Bearmeister competition will be in full swing and you can look forward to a special guest performance form the Nelson Twins, who never fail to make us laugh.

The Oktoberfest Strongman and Miss Oktoberfest competitions will kick off Saturday or bring the family down on Sunday to explore the Oktoberfest markets, enjoy an amusement ride, challenge yourself in the inflatable obstacle course and learn traditional German games.

Oktoberfest will be running at Exhibition Park Friday 28 November 5pm-12am, Saturday 29 October 11am-12am, and Sunday 30 October 11am-6pm.

Sundaze at the Museum Bar

The National Museum of Australia may not be the first place you think of to spend a lazy Sunday afternoon but in Spring it is the place to be. The museum comes alive with live music, delicious food and, of course, drinks.

Local duo, Room, will be performing their signature sound throughout the afternoon. Free entry at the Lakeside Deck Sunday 30 October 3pm – 7pm at the National Museum of Australia. 


What else is on?

10 Oct 16
29 Jan 17
Head of Augustus, 27–25 BCE, Sudan (Detail)

A History of the World in 100 Objects from the British Museum

National Museum of Australia

Discover 2 million years of human history in the one room with A History of the World in 100 Objects from the British Museum. This major international exhibition from the British Museum explores...

3 Sep 16
5 Nov 16
A fun family night out

afterDARK: Spring Scavenger Hunts

Australian National Botanic Gardens

Take an afterDARK Spring Scavenger Hunt on selected Saturday nights and see what you can find in the Australian National Botanic Gardens. Gather your family for a night-time botanical scavenger...

29 Oct 16
Antique chair, table and lamp

Antiques and Collectables Appraisal Day

Burringiri ATSI Cultural Centre

A day to find out the Real value of all that GREAT old STUFF you have. Is grandma's brooch fabulous or a fake? Is grandad's army coat a collectable or canvas? Should you keep or should you...

29 Oct 16
6 Nov 16
Men's Finalist, Luke Saville at the 2015 Canberra International

Apis Canberra International

Canberra Tennis Centre

Watch world class tennis, right here in Canberra. Part of the Australian Pro Tour, the Apis Canberra International, a $50,000 ATP Challenger and $50,000 ITF Women’s Futures event is the perfect...

20 Sep 16
15 Nov 16
People at the gallery

Art and dementia

National Portrait Gallery

Visit the National Portrait Gallery for an interactive tour of their collection. This tour is aimed at people living with dementia and their carer. Tour runs on the third Tuesday of every month.

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