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Events and festivals 

The summertime is full of cultural happenings and cool things to do (and eat) on your weekend. Or anytime, really.

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Choose a month:
[ June | July | August & September ]

Venom to August 8 & Riding With Meteorites to September 6
Venom and Riding With Meteorites
When the Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History reopened earlier in June, it did so with a bang, delivering two killer summer shows. The first, Venom, is a live animal exhibit, featuring various species of venomous critters; the tarantula, emperor scorpion and the king cobra, with regular live educational shows included in museum admission. The second is Riding with Meteorites, where you can learn about asteroids and meteors and the consequences of their impacts, as well as see actual meteor fragments. They probably won’t give you special powers, unfortunately. —CK Nova Scotia Museum of Natural History, 1747 Summer Street, 424-7353, museum.gov.ns.ca

June 19-20
CATCH: The Nova Scotia Seafood Festival
Fish and shellfish lovers should bring their appetites down to the second annual CATCH Festival, featuring vendors with samples of seafood products, culinary demonstrations, “celebrity food guests,��� live entertainment and more. Tickets are $10 for adults, including two tasting tickets for product samples, and free for children under 12. Seafood professionals will be on hand to teach you about everything from properly preparing seafood to sustainability to why seafood is good for you. If you’re looking for something a bit more active, get yourself to the oyster-shucking contest on Sunday, competing for the championship title—master shuckers can sign up now online. —LK The Cunard Centre, 961 Marginal Road, novascotiaseafoodfestival.com

June 30-July 3 (Centennial)/ June 25-July 2 (Fleet Week)
Naval Centennial/International Fleet Review Week
It’s not only the country’s big day: Canada’s navy is also turning the big 1-0-0, and HRM is hosting an International Fleet Review Week. Approximately 22 foreign ships will be arriving in Halifax, starting June 23, with many ships open for tours, a village with vendor tents on the waterfront and a welcome performance/flyover from the Snowbirds on June 28. It’s expected that more than 5,000 sailors will be visiting. Watch some of them participate in a “Mini World Cup Game��� at Saint Mary’s University on June 25. If art is more your thing, help the navy celebrate with commemorative exhibitions of Canadian naval-themed art at the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia (until July 18) and Dalhousie Art Gallery (to July 4). —LK Around Halifax Harbour and the Bedford Basin, halifaxifr.ca

 
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July 1
Canada Day
Break out your red, white and maple leaf attire for the country’s birthday. Start your day right with free pancakes—part of this complete breakfast—at Grand Parade or Alderney Landing at 8am. Make it up to Citadel Hill by noon for official ceremonies, free admission to the site and a 21-gun salute. For the family, there’s a Great Canadian Family Picnic on the Common at lunchtime, and then head over to Dartmouth for the free concert at Alderney Landing. Hometown hero Joel Plaskett headlines the show, and he handpicked the rest of the lineup, which includes Rose Cousins, English Words, the David Myles Trio and more. Finish your dream date with your country with a romantic fireworks show over the waterfront. —LK Various locations, hrmcanadaday.ca

July 2-4
Multicultural Festival
The multicultural festival moves from June to July and from the Dartmouth waterfront to Halifax this year, due to events with the Navy’s centennial. Celebrating cultural diversity in Nova Scotia, the festival features music and dance performances, and vendors exhibiting crafts, food and more. Educate yourself with dance and music workshops, check out traditional clothing from many different countries, and be sure to check out the international food tent. Performers from more than 30 different cultures will perform on the main stage. The festival also features a Youth Songwriters’ Competition for songwriters ages 15 to 19. —LK Halifax waterfront near Pier 21, multifest.ca

July 8-11
Saint Antonio’s Lebanese Festival
Let the sounds of Lebanese folk and pop music and the smells of delicious Lebanese cooking entice you up from the Common. Saint Antonio’s ninth annual Lebanese festival brings the Cunard and Hunter Street area to life. Events include folk music and dance performances, discussions about Lebanese culture and travel, and nightly dancing with a live band. If you’re more into competition, check out the Lebanese Stars Search or the Dir-bakee drum competition. Learn the Dabkee, Lebanon’s national dance, or try to pick up a few words in the native tongue. And, of course, stuff your face with foods such as kafta, falafel, dolmades, tabouli, zaatar, shish taouk, baklava and more. —LK Olympic Centre, 2304 Hunter Street, 422-5056, 24.222.13.194/festival

July 18-25
Pride Week
Be proud to be out and Haligonian at Pride Week. The events kick off with a flag raising at Grand Parade. Get out on the water with the Pride Cruise on the Tall Ship Silva, a sold-out event last year; this year's cruise includes a pre-sail party at Reflections. The always-popular Dykes vs. Divas baseball game hits the Commons on July 18. This year will also be the second year for the Queer Acts theatre festival (July 19-23), showcasing LGBT-themed plays. The week culminates in the official Halifax Pride Day and parade at 1pm on July 24. The entire lineup for the post-parade concert on the Commons isn't finalized yet, but confirmed performers include Summer Osborne and electropop duo Sugarbeach. (LK) various locations, halifaxpride.com/

July 24
Tastes of the Valley
A culinary celebration of fresh local food in the Annapolis Valley: More than 20 chefs use Valley-farmed ingredients creating $3 taste concoctions. Expected 2010 participants include: Just Us! Cafe, Tempest World Cuisine, Getaway Farm, Gourmandises Avenue, Longspell Point Farm, Maple and Ewe, Pumpkin Moon Herbals, Taj Mahal Catering, Domaine de Grand Pre, Gaspereau Winery and Muir Murray Estate Winery. Along with featured chefs, the event will take place in the midst of the weekly market that includes artisans, bakers, cheese makers, chocolatiers, fair trade coffee roasters, fish- mongers, herbalists, florists and farmers, of course. —CK Wolfville Farmers’ Market, 8:30am-1pm, wolfvillefarmermarket.ca

July 29-August 2
Natal Day Festival
Celebrate the Natal Day long weekend by getting outside and hitting up the other side of the bridge, whichever one you live on. There’s a race across the Macdonald Bridge on August 1, and for those more slow-paced, try the bridge walk the next day instead. Fireworks happen on the harbour on July 31, and we recommend finding a good roof near downtown. The annual Natal Day parade unites the Halifax and Dartmouth parades for the third time, crossing the bridge on August 2 with floats, clowns, Peter Kelly and city councillors, ensuring that there’s something to scare everyone. Don’t miss the Dartmouth Natal Day Pirate Party at Sullivan’s Pond, with prizes for the best pirate costumes. —LK Various locations, natalday.org

July 29-August 15
The Festival acadien de Clare
The oldest Acadian festival in the world hits its 55th year in 2010, features traditional activities such as the selection of Gabriel and Évangéline, masses, parades, a lumberjack competition and a bazaar. Check out the quilt exposition! Concerts include traditional Acadian music, Cajun music, contemporary bands and bluegrass acts, including an opening concert July 29, a Cajun evening July 31 called “Fais dodo en Acadie,��� “Rock d’la Baie��� on August 14 and a closing concert August 15 featuring Lennie Gallant and JP LeBlanc (visit the website for tickets). The Tintamarre—a noise parade—also takes place August 15, to celebrate National Acadian Day. —CK Clare Municipality, 902-769-0832, festivalacadiendeclare.ca/en

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August 13-14
Seaport BeerFest
Who doesn’t love beer on a pier, right? This is the largest beer event held in Atlantic Canada, with more than 3,000 beer lovers attending last year’s. There are three beer-tasting sessions, and the organizers recommend registering in advance. Sixty-five breweries, with more than 150 beers and ciders, will be in attendance. That figure includes six Maritime microbreweries, including local brewers and New Brunswick’s Picaroons, which we hear great things about, though it’s not normally available here yet. Booths from Taste of Nova Scotia will be selling “beer-friendly foods.��� Tickets are $40 in advance at NSLC stores, $45 at the door. —LK Marginal Road beside the Garrison Brewery, seaportbeerfest.com

August 22
Clam Harbour Sandcastle Contest
Get your buckets and pails ready for Clam Harbour’s annual sandcastle contest, happening rain or shine. It’s free to watch (but no pets are allowed on the beach), and there’s a $20 solo or $30 group entry fee to participate in the contest; kids 12 and under can enter for free. The event starts bright and early at 8am with sandcastle judging from 2-4pm. Besides sandcastles, there will be a stage with Eastern Shore performers on hand, and a touch tank from the Aquaculture Association, if you want to grab a handful of sea cucumber instead of sand. —LK Clam Harbour Beach, halifax.ca/sandcastle

September 4-6
Labour Day Weekend
Despite the handful of 28-degree days we’ve had this spring, at press time it’s still not even officially summer and nobody wants to think about the end of summer quite yet.

Plans are still in the works for Labour Day events in the HRM, but if all else fails, fire up the barbecue and pick up some beers for your last taste of summer before school’s back in session. —LK Various locations

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