12 Events and Festivals in Canberra

Canberra, the capital city of Australia, is known for its political significance, but it’s also a city that comes alive with a vibrant cultural scene throughout the year. From colorful flower festivals to international film screenings, there’s always something exciting happening in the heart of the nation. In this article, we’ll explore 12 events and festivals in Canberra that showcase the city’s diverse cultural tapestry.

What Makes Canberra Special?

Before diving into the festivities, let’s take a moment to understand what makes Canberra special. As Australia’s capital, it’s the epicenter of political activity, but it’s also a city that embraces art, culture, and diversity. This unique blend of politics and culture creates an atmosphere where various events and festivals thrive.

1. Floriade

Australia’s largest flower festival

Floriade is Canberra’s celebration of spring, and it’s a sight to behold. Held annually, this festival features over a million flowers in bloom, transforming Commonwealth Park into a floral wonderland. Visitors can stroll through vibrant gardens, attend horticultural workshops, and enjoy live entertainment. The event typically runs from mid-September to mid-October, embracing the city in a colorful embrace of nature’s beauty.

2. National Multicultural Festival

Celebrating diversity

Canberra’s multiculturalism takes center stage at the National Multicultural Festival. Held in February, this festival is a melting pot of cultures, featuring food stalls from around the world, cultural performances, and vibrant parades. It’s a chance to taste global cuisines, witness traditional dances, and celebrate the rich tapestry of Canberra’s population.

3. Enlighten Festival

Illuminating the capital

The Enlighten Festival brightens up Canberra during late February and early March. It’s a festival of lights that sees the city’s iconic buildings and monuments transformed into dazzling artworks. Attendees can explore illuminated installations, enjoy live music, and indulge in culinary delights. It’s a visual and sensory feast that brings the community together.

4. Canberra Balloon Spectacular

A colorful spectacle

Each March, the skies above Canberra are painted with a kaleidoscope of colors during the Canberra Balloon Spectacular. Hot air balloons from around the world take flight, creating a breathtaking spectacle. Visitors can watch the balloons take off at dawn and even book a ride for a unique perspective of the city.

5. National Folk Festival

A celebration of folk music

Music enthusiasts gather in Canberra during Easter weekend for the National Folk Festival. This event showcases a diverse range of folk music styles, from traditional to contemporary. In addition to musical performances, there are workshops, dance sessions, and opportunities to immerse yourself in the world of folk culture.

6. Canberra Comedy Festival

Laughter in the capital

Prepare for side-splitting laughter at the Canberra Comedy Festival. Comedians from across the globe descend upon the city to deliver gut-busting performances. Whether you enjoy stand-up comedy, sketch shows, or improv, this festival promises a good time. It’s a chance to forget your worries and laugh until your cheeks hurt.

7. Canberra International Film Festival

Showcasing cinematic excellence

Cinephiles rejoice at the Canberra International Film Festival. This event celebrates the art of filmmaking, featuring a curated selection of independent and international films. It’s an opportunity to catch screenings that might not be available elsewhere and engage in discussions with filmmakers.

8. National Cherry Festival

Cherries in abundance

If you’re a fan of cherries, the National Cherry Festival is a must-visit. Held in Young, just a short drive from Canberra, this festival celebrates the cherry harvest with cherry-picking, market stalls, and live entertainment. It’s a sweet and juicy way to spend a day in the countryside.

9. Summernats

Revving up the engines

Summernats is Australia’s largest car festival and an event that car enthusiasts anticipate all year. Held in January, it features high-octane activities, including burnout competitions, car displays, and live music. It’s a paradise for motorheads and a great way to kick off the year.

10. Canberra Craft Beer & Cider Festival

Raising a glass to local brews

Craft beer and cider aficionados won’t be disappointed at the Canberra Craft Beer & Cider Festival. Held in March, this event offers tastings of local and national brews. Live music adds to the ambiance as attendees explore a world of unique flavors.

11. Canberra Writers Festival

Celebrating literary talent

Bookworms and aspiring writers flock to the Canberra Writers Festival. It’s a literary celebration featuring author talks, book launches, and discussions about the world of literature. Whether you’re a seasoned reader or an aspiring writer, this festival offers insights and inspiration.

12. Skyfire

A fireworks extravaganza

Canberra’s birthday is celebrated in style with Skyfire, an annual fireworks display over Lake Burley Griffin. The event typically takes place in March and features a dazzling show that lights up the night sky. Families gather for picnics, live music, and, of course, the breathtaking fireworks.


Canberra isn’t just about politics; it’s a city that knows how to throw a festival. From flowers to fireworks, food to film, the capital of Australia offers a diverse range of events and festivals that cater to all tastes and interests. So, if you’re planning a visit to Canberra, be sure to check the festival calendar for an unforgettable experience.


  1. Is Floriade free to attend?
    • Yes, Floriade is a free event, and you can enjoy the stunning flower displays without any admission fee.
  2. Can I buy tickets for the Canberra Balloon Spectacular in advance?
    • Yes, you can typically purchase tickets for hot air balloon rides in advance if you want to take a flight during the event.
  3. What’s the best way to get to Canberra for these festivals?
    • Canberra has an international airport, and you can also reach it by train or bus from major Australian cities.
  4. Are pets allowed at these festivals?
    • It depends on the festival and its specific rules. Some events may allow pets on leashes, while others may not.
  5. Is there accommodation near the festival locations?
    • Yes, there are plenty of hotels, hostels, and Airbnb options available near festival venues.
  6. Do I need to book tickets in advance for the National Folk Festival?
    • It’s advisable to book tickets in advance, especially if you want to secure your spot for workshops and performances.
  7. Is there an age restriction for Summernats?
    • Summernats is generally open to all ages, but some events within the festival may have age restrictions.
  8. How can I stay updated on festival dates and details?
    • You can visit the official websites of the respective festivals for the most up-to-date information.
  9. What should I bring to the Canberra Balloon Spectacular?
    • Dress warmly for the early morning flights, and don’t forget your camera to capture the beautiful balloons.
  10. Are there vegetarian and vegan food options at the National Multicultural Festival?
    • Yes, the festival usually offers a wide variety of food options, including vegetarian and vegan choices.
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