Top 5 things to do in and near Winnipeg this weekend (Aug. 21-23)

Aboriginal Music Week has some solid talent for some affordable ticket prices all weekend, and don’t miss the iskwe and VIKINGS show at The Park Theatre Friday night – it’s my top pick.

Dance at the iskwe and VIKINGS show at the Park Theatre, snack at the BBQ and Blues Festival

Catch iskwé at The Park Theatre Friday night with VIKINGS. (Supplied)

A very abbreviated column for you this week – but still a ton of stuff to check out.

The BBQ and Blues Festival is downtown this year, and the Morden Corn and Apple Festival is a short drive out of the city.

Aboriginal Music Week has some solid talent for some affordable ticket prices all weekend, and don't miss the iskwe and VIKINGS show at The Park Theatre Friday night – it's my top pick.

WHAT: MUSIC – iskwe and VIKINGS at The Park

When: Friday, Aug. 21 at 10 p.m.

Where: The Park Theatre at 698 Osborne St.

Cost: $10

The Park Theatre has a pretty rad lineup Friday night with iskwe, VIKINGS and Get Famous!

VIKINGS is a super impressive local electronic-indie group that you will have a lot of fun dancing to.

Iskwe also has a sort of electronic sound but with soul-type vocals. It's a little less dancey than VIKINGS, but really so, so good.

Get Famous! are also doing a set. They're like a kind of funk-electronic deal from Winnipeg.

If you haven't been the grips of the plague like I have for the last week, this would be a really fun show to have a few drinks beforehand and go dance to.

My guess is it'll just be a smattering of really smartly-dressed young people standing in small groups refusing to dance, but we could change all that! Come dance with me!

WHAT: MUSIC – Aboriginal Music Week

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: Venues across Winnipeg

Cost: FREE to $10

Aboriginal Music Week has brought a ton of talent from across the world to Winnipeg, and you can catch most of it for free or for very little money.
Check out New Zealand’s Tama Waipara at The Good Will Friday night. (CBC)

There are free shows at The Cube and a bunch of other venues. My top pick is the open mic night Friday night at The Good Will where New Zealand's Tama Waipara is doing a set.

Long story short: he's in town mentoring local indigenous artists, and because of the type of grant used to fund the program, he can't technically perform as part of Aboriginal Music Week. So he's doing a really cool thing and playing an open mic night instead.

Go see him do his stuff. It's cool.

(Oh and on Saturday night, The Good Will has a pretty good lineup too with Mariame and T-Rhyme for $10.)

WHAT: FEST – BBQ and Blues Festival

When: Friday and Saturday

Where: Burton Cummings Theatre at 364 Smith St.

Cost: $70 for a weekend pass

The BBQ and Blues Festival is downtown this year instead of way out at Assiniboia Downs, and they've got a pretty fun lineup.

Big Sugar (who were a big deal in 1998 and still make good music because they're talented) are playing Friday night with locals JD Edwards Band and one of my absolute favourites, The Crooked Brothers.

Saturday, The Noble Thiefs and Scott Nolan are on.

Plus there's lots of food, drinks and a BBQ competition to check out.

I would really just go for Big Sugar.

Remember the album Heated? No? Well, their stuff was on constant play between Alanis Morissette and Matthew Good Band on Much Music. Hello, late '90s Can-rock nostalgia!

WHAT:  FEST – Morden Corn and Apple Festival

When: Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Where: Morden, Man.

Cost: FREE

This adorable thing is back again.

All the usual suspects will be there: the pancake breakfast, face painting, free corn and apple juice, an art walk, music and, of course, a petting zoo.

Plus, it's in a really cute small town so you can head out there and escape the constant swirling mass of acquaintances that is Winnipeg for a few hours.

WHAT: ACTIVITY – Coffee and canoeing at Fort Whyte

When: Sunday, Aug. 23 at 7 a.m.

Where: Fort Whyte Alive at 1961 McCreary Rd.

Cost: $15

Are you an early riser? No, because you don't have kids and why would you even bother getting up that early unless you had to? Well, this one probably isn't for you.
Don't let these smooth waters fool you. I got trapped in a canoe in some reeds here once and did not have the upper body strength to free myself without a major, embarrassing struggle. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

But, on the off-chance you're up anyway around 6 a.m. on Sunday, head down to Fort Whyte Alive for some adorable outdoorsy-ness.

The wildlife preserve has this thing called Coffee and Canoeing on where they give you coffee, a continental breakfast (that means cereal and toast) and then you all go for a little canoe ride (canoe paddle? Canoe voyage? I don't know) on the pond.

Then after you can go look at some bison, go for an actual breakfast and back to bed.

Oh ps: you have to book this in advance, so give Fort Whyte a call.