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WEEKENDER: Festivals galore! Jazz, Dragon Boat, Ribs, Fringe, and a vegetarian-yoga mashup

TD OTTAWA INTERNATIONAL JAZZ FESTIVAL
Sway to the smooth jazz performances of musical artists from Canada and abroad at this year’s Ottawa International Jazz Fest. With outdoor and indoor performances, traditional and contemporary approaches, there’s something for everyone. Performers include The Doobie Brothers, James Hunter Six, Willie Nelson, Soweto Kinch Trio, Wayne Shorter Quartet, and many more. Thursday, June 20 to Monday, July 1. Concerts take place at Confederation Park or certain indoor venues. Free on Canada Day. See website for the full lineup, locations, and ticket info. www.ottawajazzfestival.com

In addition to the races, the Ottawa Dragon Boat Festival includes a beer tent, live music, and kids activities.

TIM HORTONS OTTAWA DRAGON BOAT FESTIVAL (FREE!)
Row, row, row your boat! This year marks the 20th anniversary of the family-friendly (and not-for-profit) Dragon Boat Festival. Whether you’re in the race or not, there is a lot to do at North America’s largest dragon boating event. Enjoy the beach and the non-stop racing! Eat, drink, play — and jam out to a free concert-line up. For those with little ones, there is a designated children’s area. Thursday, June 20 to Sunday, June 23. Mooney’s Bay Park on Riverside Drive. www.dragonboat.net

CHICKEN & RIB COOK-OFF (FREE!)
This festival is literally finger-lickin’ good. Canadian and American teams will compete in a cook-off to win the title of best rib choice, best rib sauce, best chicken choice, and best chicken sauce. Tie on a bib and try as many of the 14 ribbers as you can. In addition, there will be live entertainment and a pulled-pork eating contest. This is one summer BBQ you do not want to miss! Wednesday, June 19 to Sunday, June 23. Sparks Street Mall. Starts 11 a.m. daily. www.sparksstreetmall.com

OTTAWA FRINGE FESTIVAL
Ottawa’s largest theatre festival returns this week for another dramatic 10-day event. Celebrating non-mainstream performing arts, this festival is enjoyed by numerous theatre lovers and those just looking for something different to watch. Locals, Canadians, and international actors will take to the stage. Thursday, June 20 to Sunday, June 30. Tickets can be purchased in advance or one-hour before the show at the door. See website for prices. All venues are no more than a ten minute walk from the Fringe Courtyard (2 Daly Ave.). www.ottawafringe.com

VEG-YOGA FEST
The Fifth Annual Veg Fest and the First Annual Yoga Fest are fusing together for one fabulous healthy Ottawa weekend event. Participate in a number of yoga classes, view impressive yoga demonstrations, listen to an inspiring speaker series on food and diet, watch a “must-see” film, and of course don’t forget to eat some delicious foods from Ottawa’s best vegetarian restaurants. Saturday, June 22 to Sunday, June 23. St. Paul University, 223 Main St. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission by donation. www.vegfest.ca

~ Jessica Nasrallah