Don’t Miss Out on These Winter Events!

Winterlude, Winter Jazz Fest, Crackup Comedy Festival and more..

As January comes to a close after a record-breaking amount of snowfall, there is a lot to be excited about as we look ahead to February. Family fun activities, date night ideas and food endeavors with friends can all still be found even on the chilliest days in Canada’s Capital Region.

Speaking of chilly, one of the first festivals this February starts this weekend. Winterlude runs on weekends from February 1 until February 18.  This year will mark its 41st year of winter activities, amazing food and loads of fun. Winterlude has many new and old events this year, some of which will take place in the Byward Market this includes the famous International Ice Carving Competition where sculptors compete to create the best-iced creations (but c’mon aren’t they all pretty spectacular?). If gazing at the marvelous sculptures gets a little too cold just head over to the market’s food tour with C’est Bon Cooking stocked with hot drinks and comfort food! Of course, no Winterlude outing is over until you skate on the Rideau Canal, with over 7 km of ice, there is plenty of room for everyone. If you’re looking for some family bonding, visit the Snowflake Kingdom at Jacques Cartier Parc where snow tubing is a must.

Ice Dragon Boat Festival will be returning for its third year at Winterlude (making its debut in 2017) from February 8-9.  If you don’t know what this crazy winter sport is, basically teams will use ice-sticks to race dragon boats with skates attached to the bottom across the Rideau Canal. Registration for up to 100 teams opened this past October and sold out in under ten minutes! This year will be the biggest yet with Ottawa hosting the first ever IIDBF World Club Crew Ice Dragon Boat Championships. There will also be concerts showcasing local talent and special attractions such as a Chinese Lion Dance. This is an event you will want to bring the whole family to!

If you’re a film lover, there is the 10th Annual Wakefield Doc Fest starting February 2 and will run all the way until February 24. This film festival will have filmmakers visit, panel discussion, Q&A’s with experts and snacks and music will be provided as well. Many of these films have been recognized and awarded at Canadian and international film festivals. Films that are on the schedule include “METAMOPHOSIS” and without giving anything away, it’s a film about the loss of one world and the birth of another. For all you ballet lovers, there is a movie called “A DELICATE BALANCE” which follows 10-14-year-olds striving to attain the highest performance of standards in ballet.

Another arts festival taking place is Undercurrent: theatre below the mainstream which runs from February 6-16. Produced by Ottawa Fringe, this festival showcases original contemporary theatre by local, national and international artists. If you are looking for a great date night (Valentine’s Day is quickly approaching!) check some of these shows out! “Coach of the Year” is on the schedule which tells the story of Coach Daryl Connors who wins Coach of the Year from the Junior A league where he coaches a team of unbeatable boys. One night a young man shows up to Daryl’s motel and the coach must answer for his past. Another cool one is “Light(less)” which takes places in a world where everyone can control electricity, except for one boy who is determined to capture the moon.

The city has a new event for coffee lovers to look forward to this year and that is Ottawa Coffee Fest. The launch party for the new event will take place on February 7 at the Happy Goat Café. The launch will include a movie “Connected By Coffee” and will offer you one free beer and possible discounts for the actual festival taking place March 23.

So, what about music in the city? MEGAPHONO begins on February 7 and lasts until February 9. MEGAPHONO introduces music industry professionals from North American and abroad for a festival celebrating emerging artists, there is a focus on artists from the National Capital Region with 70 local and regional artists performing in over 20 venues across Ottawa-Gatineau. What’s super sensational is that there will be about 50 invited music industry delegates that can share their knowledge and connect with artists.

Spice up a long and dreary winter, make sure to catch the TD Winter Jazz Festival which returns this year from February 7- 9 . Showcasing a series of unique concerts and collaborations with a consummate gathering of remarkable jazz artistry, these shows will leave you longing for this summer’s TD Ottawa Jazz Festival. Some performance includes Nellie Mckay, Pugs and Crows, and Micheal Blake Trio.

For anyone itching to exercise, Hope Volleyball Winterfest is back! Taking place on February 9 (previously in March), this event will have 48 teams compete against each other all in an effort to raise funds to give back to the Ottawa community. There is still time to sign up your team so grab all your friends and try to kick some charitable butt!

Ever wanted to go to a mysterious party dressed to the nines? Well now you can on February 16, get your ticket to Carnaval Noir, a brand-new event that annually takes place in Rio, New Orleans, and Venice has now come to Ottawa. This is a fundraising masquerade ball in which you only receive the location the day of and will include wine, acrobats, DJ’s and three rooms of music playing until after midnight (sounds like a good date night for any of you love birds!) The proceeds will go to the Wheels4Refugees which gives bicycles to children and families who have fled war zones.

If you are looking for a laugh, then come to Crackup Comedy Festival which starts March 20 and goes until March 23. This annual event will now partner with Algonquin College’s Student Association and will include a special “Hilarity for Charity Gala” this is a contest run by actor Seth Rogan to entice colleges to create their own comedy stand up show to raise money and awareness for fighting Alzheimer’s Disease. You could win a visit from Seth and his wife. So cool! Some of Canada’s best comics will perform including James Mullinger, Aisha Brown, and David Merry.

These festivals and events will be sure to get you out of bed even on the wintriest day! Immerse yourself in the culture and enjoy the city for all its wonder. Whether it’s cracking a laugh for charity, skating on the canal, attending the local theatre, or competing in a crazy winter sport, Ottawa’s festivals have you covered!

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