Heads Up

THE WEEKENDER: Featuring skateboarding, Aussies, muppets… and perhaps some pad thai

FREE! WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS OF SLALOM SKATEBOARDING
File this under “things that are really cool to watch but too scary to try”: slalom skateboarding involves racing down a hill on a skateboard while manoeuvring between tightly placed cones. The world championships of this fast-paced sport are being held in Ottawa this year — the first time since Expo ’86 that they’re taking place on Canadian soil. More than 70 racers from 12 countries and three continents will convene in the capital to vie for the top spot in men, women, juniors, and masters classes — the latter category being for racers over 45. Yep. Over 45. The event is partnered with, and will be making a donation to, United Way Ottawa. Friday, Aug. 19, 9:30 a.m., Dovercourt Ave. (between Denbury and Westminster). Aug. 20, 9 a.m., Carling Ave. (between Maple Dr. and Champagne Ave). www.worldslalomskateboarding.com

BLAIR GABLE PHOTOJOURNALISM PRESENTATION
Start the weekend early! World-class photography is the theme of the day on Thursday when Ottawa Studio Works hosts local independent photojournalist Blair Gable for an exhibition and presentation, following a visit to the Canadian War Museum to check out the World Press Photo exhibit. Gable’s clients are reputable (Reuters, Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail) and his subjects illustrious (Queen Elizabeth II, Will and Kate, Stephen Harper). He’ll be on hand to show off his amazing work and chat about life as a photojournalist. Prior to the presentation, Ottawa Studio Works invites attendees to join them on a group visit to the War Museum to see the always-fascinating World Press Photo 11 Showcase. Thursday, Aug. 18. World Press Photo exhibit group visit, 6:30 p.m., Canadian War Museum, 1 Vimy Place. Blair Gable Presentation, 8 p.m, Ottawa Studio Works, 160 Preston St. Admission is by donation. 819-827-9460, www.harrynowell.com

TOBY
While she hails from the Western Australian city of Perth, Toby is a self-confessed lover of the Great White North. Fans can expect to see her in good spirits, then, when she stops in the capital as part of her eighth Canadian tour. With a sound that’s described as “rootsy, soulful, and worldly, yet reminiscent of her home ‘down under’,” Toby brings loads of energy and emotion to each of her performances. It’s this dynamic combo that’s led her to share a stage with the iconic Etta James, support artists like Sheryl Crow and John Mellencamp, and draw huge crowds at festivals around the world. Admission is free, but donations are accepted. Sunday, Aug. 21, 10 p.m. The Elmdale House Tavern, 1084 Wellington St. W., 613-728-2848, www.elmdaletavern.com.

THE MUPPETS TAKE MANHATTAN
If you’ve got children, you’ve got a built-in excuse for seeing this cinematic throwback. If you don’t have children, don’t worry — there’s really no shame in going without a young one in tow. In this 1984 Jim Henson classic, Kermit, Miss Piggy and the gang head to New York to try and get their musical on Broadway, only to find out that it’s not quite as easy as they thought it would be. The kids will love it, but let’s be honest: this isn’t really about the kids. Saturday, Aug. 20, 1 p.m. and Sunday, Aug. 21, 12:30 p.m. The Mayfair Theatre, 613-730-3403, mayfairtheatre.ca.

CASINO DU LAC-LEAMY SOUND OF LIGHT — GRAND FINALE
Turn your brain off and gape at some pretty pyrotechnics at the Casino du Lac-Leamy’s annual fiesta of fireworks. This weekend is the Grand Finale, which sees each of the countries that competed in this year’s festival  — China, Italy, Canada and Germany — clamour for some last-minute bonus points in their quest to be crowned with the grand prize: the Zeus Award. Germany took home the honours last year, and critics and spectators alike are wondering if they have the guts to pull it off again. In addition to millions of dollars worth of pretty explosions, the festival also offers food, drinks, and activities for all ages. Saturday, Aug. 20, park opens at 6 p.m., show starts at 9:30 p.m. $10, free for children 11 and under. Casino du Lac Leamy, 1, boul. du Casino, Gatineau, 819-771-3389, www.feux.qc.ca

FREE! OTTAWA NIGHT MARKET
Make the most of the quickly dwindling summer evenings with a visit to the Ottawa Night Market. The only one of its kind in the city (this it its inaugural year, too), the market aims to promote multiculturalism by exposing visitors to the best that local businesses have to offer. Bring your appetite, as plenty of food vendors — Thai Flame, Taste of India, and My Sweet Tea, among others — will be on hand to tempt your taste buds. Visitors can also pick up some one-of-a-kind crafty creations, or just stroll along Somerset, listen to some tunes and take in the atmosphere. Friday Aug. 19, 6 p.m. to 1 a.m., Saturday Aug. 20., noon to 1 a.m.  725 Somerset St. W., www.centuryeventinc.com.