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Weekend Roundup: Best Bets for Sept. 30 to Oct. 2

Orpheus House, a musical theatre society, is one of the stops you can make during Culture Days. Photo credit: Alan Dean Photography.

Friday, Sept. 30
Circus workshops, Victorian photo collage mash-ups, and cabaret performances are just a few of the local activities being served up as part of Culture Days, a cross-Canada initiative that aims to put the spotlight on the country’s cultural institutions. More than 50 free events in Ottawa alone offer a range of opportunities to fuel your inner artist, from getting down and dirty in pottery class to going behind the scenes at theatre workshops. From Friday to Sunday (see website for full schedule).

Beau’s Oktoberfest, the party that beer lovers look forward to all year, is back for another rip roaring weekend. This annual event, put on by a local brewery, serves up Bavarian inspired food and seven different Beau’s beers to wash it down, as well as music by Cuff the Duke and Jim Bryson. Activities taking place include Bavarian dancing, world class beer speakers, brewery tours, a kids’ zone with 1,000 lbs. of Playdough, a sauerkraut cook-off, a keg toss, and a variety of other kooky competitions (spouse carrying race, anyone?) — no lederhosen required. The event runs Friday to Sunday, but don’t wait long to get tickets: Saturday’s already sold out.

It’s got a stronghold on the Internet and has also become a verb, now Google is the star in Mexican artist Emilio Chapela‘s first major solo exhibition in Canada. Ask Google, on at SAW Gallery from Sept. 30 to Nov. 12, presents image and text-based works generated from search engines and transformed into poetic statements about race, language, and translation. The show kicks off tonight with a reception and party at 8pm with food and tequila donated by the Embassy of Mexico.

Saturday, Oct. 1
Love the look of handmade goods, but lack the artistic talent? Then Urban Craft is just the ticket. This monthly craft sale, which debuted in September, offers up new and returning artisans, so there will be an ever-changing selection of goods to choose from, including screen-printed tees, local and organic body products, trendy fascinators, and even toys for modern tots.

Not just home to cottages, Doors Open Gananoque highlights historic buildings like the 19th-century Beaver Hall Bed & Breakfast, which earned its owners a Heritage Award for Outstanding Renovation. Take a drive over to the town on Saturday or Sunday (or make a weekend of it) and discover the charm and history of this gateway to the 1000 Islands.

Things get über sexy on Saturday night at Rainbow Bistro for the final weekend of the O-Town Hoedown. Tonight, this annual alt-country affair offers up three performances by commanding females. First up is Ginger St. James from Hamilton who combines blues and burlesque, followed by Marie-Josée Houle and her accordion, capped off with a performance by The Sin Sisters Burlesque, Go-Go, and Variety show with live backing by The Mysterious Chinese Folding Screen Band of Mystery. Yowza!

Sunday, Oct. 2
Trendsetters, trendspotters, boutique darlings, media, and all other fashionable peeps head to the Convention Centre for Ottawa Fashion Week, which kicks off on Thursday night and runs until Sunday. Don your tuxedo-inspired wear, your ’70s styles, your pleats, your fur, and any other highlights that were deemed “on trend” for fall/winter 2011. The schedule has a great mix of local, national, and international talent and the event closes out with David McCaffrey and EDIT by Jeanne Beker (in support of Dress for Success).

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