Believe it or not, the last long weekend of the summer is upon us.
To ease your sorrows, here's a list of five things to do in and around Hamilton this weekend to give the summer of 2013 the spirited send-off it may or may not deserve.
Oktoberfest in the Village
You read that correctly. International Village is eschewing convention by hosting this festival of food, beer, music and family fun before the fall chill hits the air (Take that, Kitchener). King Street East between Mary Street and West Avenue will be closed for the event, which runs on Friday from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m and continues on Saturday from noon to 11 p.m.
Former Barenaked Ladies co-frontman Stephen Page will close out the stage on Ferguson Avenue North (located between King East and King William streets) on Friday. And Poor Angus, the homegrown runners-up in the CBC Searchlight competition will take on headlining duties on Saturday. Admission is free.
For more information, go to Hamiltoninternationalvillage.ca.
Teddy Bear Picnic
What goes together better than stuffed animals and eating outside? Probably a lot of things, but don't tell that to your children, especially if you're planning to take them to one of the Royal Botanical Gardens' Teddy Bear Picnic extravaganzas this weekend.
Taking place at the RBG's Laking Garden between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, the fuzzy-wuzzy festivities will include face-painting, a scavenger hunt and bear-themed storytelling sessions. For those with a grizzly appetite, bear-be-cue fare will be available to purchase.
Admission is included with a ticket to the RBG. Prices are as follows: $12.50 for adults; $10.50 for seniors, students and youth; $7.50 for children age five to 12; free for kids under five; $30.50 for a family of four (two adults and two children under 18).
Parking is available at that the RBG Centre (680 Plains Road W in Burlington) and shuttles will be running between the lot and the Laking Garden every 15 to 20 minutes from 10:45 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days.
For more information, go to Rbg.ca/teddybearpicnic.
Greenbelt Harvest Picnic
Speaking of picnics, the highly anticipated Greenbelt Harvest Picnic music festival takes over the Christie Lake Conservation Area (1000 Highway 5 W) in Dundas on Saturday. The star-studded lineup includes Canadian folk troubadour Gordon Lightfoot, singer-songwriter Emmylou Harris and Hamilton's own Daniel Lanois and Arkells. (But not Neil Young. Sorry.)
Gates open at 11 a.m. and the music kicks off at noon. Tickets are $99.50 for adults and19.50 for youth between 11 and 15. Children 10 and under get in free. Parking costs $10.
For more information, including a full list of scheduled acts, go to Harvestpicnic.ca.
More than 100,000 people are expected to descend on Burlington's Spencer Smith Park for the city's 18th annual Ribfest, purportedly Canada's largest. It features around 20 vendors from across North America who will be competing to see who serves up the best ribs.
The festival of carnivorous feasting opens on Friday and runs until Monday. Hours of operation are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday.
Admission is free. The vendors only accept cash, but there will be ATMs on site.
For more information, go to Canadaslargestribfest.com.
Labour Day parade
What would Labour Day in Hamilton be without a parade featuring dozens of unions and other organizations that represent workers in the city? The annual Labour Day parade, hosted by the Hamilton and District Labour Council, starts at a 10:30 a.m. on Monday at the intersection of York Boulevard and Queen Street North.
The procession will go south on Queen, then east on Main, back north on Bay, and then west on Cannon. Finally, the parade will follow York Boulevard before landing at Dundurn Park for an afternoon picnic. Food will be on sale at the picnic, which is set to wrap up at 3 p.m.
For more information, go to Hamiltonlabour.ca.