Top 12 ways to have a winning long weekend

Here's how we'll be spending the Natal Day holiday.

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Busker Kate Mior (acting as Marie Antionette) will have her cake and eat it too at the Westin's Busker brunch (see five). - IMAGE COURTESY OF BUSKERS FESTIVAL
  • Image courtesy of Buskers Festival
  • Busker Kate Mior (acting as Marie Antionette) will have her cake and eat it too at the Westin's Busker brunch (see five).

12. Queering Islam: Starting Conversations. Thursday, July 28, 7-9pm. A panel discussion followed by a Q&A, this meeting at Saint Patrick's church aims to discuss queer identities in Islam. Organizers say the event is an open space "to encourage learning about the complexities of Muslim negotiations of sexuality."

11. Nitro Circus Live. Saturday, July 30, 6pm. This travelling show of adrenaline-fuelled performances is touching down in Dartmouth at the Scotia Speedway. Watch some of the world's best BMX and freestyle motocross athletes perform, and witness the Nitro Daredevils fly through the air on what they call "a host of ridiculous contraptions." The perfect Natal weekend event for the adrenaline junkies in your life, tickets range from $40-$100 and are available at ticketrocket.com.

10. Don Russell: A Metaphor for the Subconscious. To Sept 3. Newfoundland's Don Russell shares a mini exhibition of his black-and-white drawings and prints at Studio 21, tackling themes about the mind and subconscious. The artist adds his works are inspired by his rich Acadian and Mi'kmaq heritage.

9. Liberation Days. Saturday, July 30 at 6pm and Sunday, July 31, at 2pm. Two Planks and a Passion Theatre Company is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, with 10 of those years spent performing outdoor "theatre off the grid" at the Ross Creek Arts Centre. So you won't be surprised to hear the mainstage production of Liberation Days is fantastic, absolutely worth making a trip to the Valley for. The story is a wartime romance set in Europe, where a chipper Canadian soldier meets a sad Dutch woman who has lost the men in her life to the war. Coast critic Kate Watson writes that “the props are intentionally sparse—a war office is evoked by a typewriter and chair, the parson’s home by a desk, doorsteps by a simple flagstone—but the natural setting is so evocative and immersive that the mind paints the appropriate set. It is pure magic.”

8. Jimmy Swift Band Reunion Tour. Friday, July 29, 10pm. The semi-retired JSB gathers fellow jammers Scientists of Sound and Dub Kartel (and other guests) for a night of riffs, reggae and flailing limbs at the Marquee.

7. BioDrag Show. Friday, July 29, 9-11pm. What is a Bio Queen? How do you do it? If you've been looking for an introduction to drag (either as a participant or viewer), Menz says this show, the city's first ever BioDrag performance, is the place to start.

Sam Cash and The Romantic Dogs rock the Carleton this weekend with their new record (see three). - IMAGE COURTESY OF BAND
  • Image courtesy of band
  • Sam Cash and The Romantic Dogs rock the Carleton this weekend with their new record (see three).

6. Natal Day Comedy Night. Friday, July 29, 8-10pm. For its seventh annual comedy night, Casino Nova Scotia is upping the laughter ante. This year's bill boasts John Crist (who's shared the stage with Dave Chappelle!), DeAnne Smith (winner of Best Female Stand-up at the Canadian Comedy Awards) and Andrew Seamless (called one of Montreal's top 10 comedians for four years running). Bottom line? Get ready for belly laughs—and lots of 'em.

5. Brunch With Buskers. Sunday, July 31, 11am. Halifax's International Busker Festival is turning 30 this year, and the Westin is celebrating with this festive meal. Offering fans the chance for an intimate performance with several buskers over all your brunch favourites, this is an unforgettable experience for those left in awe by sword-juggling, fire-eating adventurers.

4. Nova Scotian Artists Studio Rally. Jul 30-31. Feeling like a road trip this weekend? Consider this: Now in its 24th year, the Nova Scotian Artists Studio Rally is opening the doors to private studio spaces across the province, allowing art lovers the chance to glimpse into various creative spaces. From weavers to painters and blacksmiths to potters, meet the many talented makers this province has to offer from the hills of Cape Breton to the coast of Yarmouth. With over 40 artist's workshops in total, there's a lot of opportunities to learn more about art and even discover some treasure.Get complete studio listings and directions on their website.

3. Sam Cash and The Romantic Dogs. Saturday, April 23, 10pm. One of Toronto's buzziest rock bands hits the Carleton stage, touring their new record Tongue in Cheek Vows. Plus, from the Carleton stage they'll be giving their spin on some Joel Plaskett favourites from his album Truthfully, Truthfully.

2. 3rd Annual Jamaican Independence Day Celebration. Monday, August 1, 1-9pm. The Jamaican Cultural Association of Nova Scotia invites you to join this celebration of Jamaica's Independence Day. The third year they've thrown this party, they'll be on the Halifax Common with lots of Jamaican food and music to help you celebrate and learn about their dynamic culture. Plus, North Preston up-and-comer Keonté Beals will be playing a show there, too!

1. Natal Day Fireworks. Saturday, July 30, 10-10:15pm. The perfect nightcap to a day full of adventures, head to Alderney Landing in time for 10pm for the best view of this fireworks show. The city says the fireworks are being set off of a barge, promising a beautiful display of light. Looking for more info or want to check on weather? Call the 311 hotline or check out natalday.org. The rain date for the fireworks is July 31.

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