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Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for June 24 to 26

The International Chicken and Rib Cook-Off on Sparks Street.

Friday, June 24
Meat lovers, prepare yourselves: The International Chicken and Rib Cook-Off is back for another year at Sparks Street Mall. Running June 22 to 26, this all out meat festival serves up chicken, pulled pork sandwiches, and ribs, all slathered in an array of tasty, tangy sauces. Crowds descend on the mall at lunch time (beckoned by the smell), so head on over (with napkins in hand) for lunch, dinner, or just a snack. Teams from Canada and the United States compete for the top rank of best rib choice, best rib sauce, best chicken choice, and best chicken sauce.

Saturday, June 25
Just when you thought Ottawa couldn’t get any more festivals, FeverFest was born. This brand new independent music festival in Old Ottawa South will showcase a diverse crop of immensely talented Ottawa musicians. Headlining the event is the Goodluck Assembly, and you can also expect the “2009 Online World Beatboxing Champion” Julia Dales (who’s performed for Ellen Degeneres), The Murder Plans, the White Wires, ACRES, Monobrow, Brendan Flynn and the Terrible Liars, and Winchester Warm.

JF Robitaille plays the Raw Sugar Café.

In advance of JF Robitaille‘s debut LP Calendar (which comes out July 5), the Montreal singer/songwriter’s making the rounds at stages in Toronto, Montreal, and Ottawa. He performs tonight at Raw Sugar Café. His style is perfect coffee house music — straddling the line between sweet and melancholy, folk and pop — which has earned him supporting sets for names such as Julie Doiron, The Dears, and Sean Lennon.

The Once Upon a Slam Finals are tonight, with the top eight story slammers from the year competing for the crown and to be named the first-ever Ottawa story slam Grand Champion. For those unfamiliar with “slams,” they are open sign-up competitions where the performers tell a narrative within a certain time limit (no reading from a paper!), and are scored by members of the audience. Ottawa’s monthly story slam series is held the fourth Friday of every month at the Mercury Lounge, and it all comes down to tonight when the top story slammers go head to head.

Loonette and Molly from "The Big Comfy Couch."

Today and Sunday, when you bring your kids to the St. Laurent Centre, they can catch the TV show Big Comfy Couch live at 11am and 2pm. For those unfamiliar with the long-running (and award-winning) Canadian series, the show follows the adventures of Loonette the clown and Molly, her doll and best friend, on the biggest, comfiest couch in the whole wide world.

Sunday, June 26
Cross your fingers that the sun will be shining for the Community Cup, a day-long multicultural event taking place at Brewer Park. Centred around a 24-team recreational co-ed soccer tournament that promotes connection and integration for newcomers to Canada, the tourney includes a diverse mix of ages, abilities, and cultural backgrounds. More of a cheerleader than an athlete? Come out to cheer on the teams and make some new friends. Throughout the day there will also be an international food bazaar, live entertainment, sports demonstrations, a citizenship ceremony, a broadcast of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, and plenty more to highlight Ottawa’s sense of community.

One of the most beloved events is back for its fourth year: Oysterfest! Put on by the Whalesbone Oyster House, this party runs from noon to 11pm and offers a chefs’ shuckoff, an Ottawa Valley oyster shucking competition, tasty treats like walleye burgers and, of course, mollusks, and music by a DJ and the Souljazz Orchestra.

Nothing says summertime like fresh strawberries. Give these delicious berries their due at Manotick’s Strawberry Social. For $10 (or $5 for children 12 and under) you’ll get a big ol’ slice of shortcake (and a glass of lemonade to wash it down). Live music and dancing is also on the bill, or you can take a stroll around this charming, rural part of town.

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