Calgary weekend entertainment and events: 7 things to do as Christmas approaches

With the winter weather finally upon us, you may be looking for a few entertaining ideas to round out your weekend — and this time of year, you have no lack of choices. CBC’s The Homestretch director Tracy Fuller has a round-up of ideas for you.

Cultural and film festivals, comedy, music and Christmas markets are in store

The Spruce Meadows International Christmas Market is just one of many things to do in the Calgary area this weekend. (Kim Talks/YouTube)

With the winter weather finally upon us, you may be looking for a few entertaining ideas to round out your weekend — and this time of year, you have no lack of choices.

CBC's The Homestretch director Tracy Fuller has a round-up of ideas for you.

1. Discover Trinidad and Tobago family carnival

The Trinidad and Tobago Sports and Culture Club Calgary is holding their fourth annual Discover Trinidad and Tobago family carnival on Saturday, complete with steel band performances, crafts, incredible foot and a lot more.

It starts in the afternoon but runs right into the evening with a DJ, dancing and live performances by Calgary's The Rondel Roberts Band.

Tickets are $20 for adults, $10 for children between six and 12, and free for kids under six.

More information, including ticket purchase details, is available online.

When: Saturday starting at 1 p.m. at the Banff Trail Community Centre.

2. Marda Loop Justice Film Festival

While November in Calgary may not normally be associated with film festivals, there are some great ones going on this weekend.

Marda Loop Justice Film Festival is marking its 10-year anniversary this year, serving up what it's known for: human rights, environmental issues and "socially-significant" documentaries.

They've got a ton of screenings this year, everything from eating bugs, to surviving rape, to living in a war torn country. One film, Call Me Dad, is about domestic violence and a small group of men trying to change their ways.

For a complete listing of shows and times visit the festival's website.

When: Festival runs from Nov. 15 to 20 at various venues around the city.

​3. Calgary Underground Film Festival

The kick-off film is Accidental Courtesy: Daryl Davis, Race & America which premieres Thursday at 7 p.m. at the Globe Cinema. It's an incredible and surprising look at a Black U.S. musician's attempt to combat racism and hate by meeting, and in some cases befriending, members of the Ku Klux Klan.

On Sunday, CBC's own Tracy Fuller will moderate a Q&A panel with the director of Yarn, a documentary about artists who are redefining the tradition of knit and crochet, bringing yarn out of the house and into the world. That goes at 5 p.m.

The full CUFF schedule is online for planning purposes.

When: Festival runs Nov. 17 to 20 at the Globe Cinema.

4. Need a good laugh?

With all that is going on in the world right now, some people might be looking for a laugh.

With that in mind, Die Fledermaus by Johann Strauss is an operetta that is basically an upscale vaudeville with an amazing soundtrack.

Now, contrary to popular belief Die Fledermaus is not an operatic version of Batman — it's more about playing hooky from work (and from prison), a Prince's costume ball, mistaken identity, getting drunk, several scandalous affairs and a happy ending to bring it all together. It's not all singing all the time.

While Die Fledermaus hits the stage Saturday, there's a cool behind-the-scenes look at the production on Friday as the company hosts one of their fabulous "Taste of the Opera" events with wine and treats.

When:Taste of the Opera starts Friday at the Mamdani Opera Centre at 7 p.m. Die Fledermaus starts Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at the Jubilee Auditorium. There are additional shows Wednesday and Friday of next week. More information, including tickets, is available online.

5. Already feeling the Christmas spirit?

Calgary is Christmas market central from now until the end of the year.

The International Christmas Market opens at Spruce Meadows this weekend. More than 250 vendors will have their Christmas best on display for three consecutive weekends, and they are promising stress-free shopping.

Tickets at the door go for $12, but you can save $2 by grabbing them online. Head over to their website for all the details.

6. Looking for a dog-friendly Christmas market?

The North Glenmore Park Community Association has the answer with its 2016 Calgary Dogfest and Christmas Market.

It's kind of like a fun, indoor doggy play date for pups of all sizes (but there are separate play areas for small and large-sized dogs.)

Local vendors will have lots of dog-related merchandise up for grabs, and you can even get a professional photo of your furry friend with SantaPaws. All proceeds are going to a local rescue organization.

For more details have a look here, and for some hilarious doggy Christmas photos, see here.

When: Saturday 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the North Glenmore Park Community Association.

7. Arts Commons' presents Margaret Cho

A special presentation by Arts Commons, Margaret Cho brings her brazen, socially-aware and inclusive style of comedy to the Jack Singer Concert Hall for one night only. With hilarious critiques of social and political issues, this is not a show to be missed!

When: Saturday at 9 p.m. at the Jack Singer Concert Hall with a "Naughty Pre-Party" that starts at 7:30 p.m.

With files from The Homestretch