WEEKENDER: Golden Dogs, Martin Sexton, and the Cowguys, plus three more great gatherings

This five-piece band from Toronto will take your Thursday night by storm. The Golden Dogs have toured with such Canadian indie-rock greats as Feist and Joel Plaskett, and their show is nothing short of bombastic, featuring  tambourines, keyboards and a great stage presence. Think Detroit rock mixed with hand clapping so energetic that you can’t help but dance. Show opens with Ottawa’s much-praised Right By Midnight. Thursday, Jan. 20. 9 p.m. $8. Mavericks. 221 Rideau St. 613-562-3941.

When John Mayer calls you the best live performer he’s ever seen, you know you’re doing something right. After a phenomenal set at Bluesfest last summer, U.S. folk-rocker Martin Sexton is back in Ottawa. With an incredible, soulful voice and lyrics to match, Sexton’s live set is a force of nature. He takes the stage after up-and-coming country artist Joanna Mosca. Tickets available on ticketmaster. Friday, Jan. 21. 8 p.m. $22.50. Capital City Music Hall. 128 York St. 613-755-1111.

Ottawa’s best winter cocktail party is back! Taste the best the Glebe has to offer, with 24 restaurants, 11 winemakers and brewers, and seven dessert venues showcasing their wares. The night is a perfect time to chat with chefs and eat with friends. Keep an eye out for Huff Estates’ superb vintages and scrumptious cupcakes from the Flour Shoppe. Thursday, Jan. 20. 5:30 p.m. $45. Scotton Hall, Glebe Community Centre. 175 Third Ave. 613-564-1058.

Been saving up for your dream kitchen? Sick of that unfinished basement? Then stop by the annual Home Renovations show this weekend. With experts in everything from home office design to alternative energy, you can find what you’re looking for and who you’d like to work with. With nearly 100 trades people, you’ll find tons of new ideas for your home, from innovative decorating solutions to a seminar on how to beat your hydro bill. Friday to Sunday, Jan 21. 12 p.m.- 9 p.m., Jan. 22 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Jan. 23 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. $10. Landsdowne Park. 1015 Bank St. 613-580-2429.

Bundle up warm and spend Sunday afternoon at the Old Ottawa East Community Association’s Winter Party. With sleigh rides, skating, and free hot chocolate, the Brantwood Park party promises fun for everyone. Lace up your skates for the hockey game and skating competition, or warm up in the newly renovated field house. Sunday promises to be cold but sunny, a perfect winter wonderland for this family-friendly event. Sunday, Jan. 23. 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Brantwood Park (near Onslow Crescent). 613-564-1078.

Clowning around in the Mayfair Theatre this Sunday is the city’s premier juggling crew, the Cowguys. Their live show, “The Great Escape,” is full of physical comedy, laughs, and stunts — including a great escape act that brings to mind the likes of Houdini. The Ottawa duo delivers a mash up of circus stunts and western skills that make for a highly enjoyable show. To top it off, the evening is a fundraiser for the Make a Wish Foundation. Sunday, Jan. 23. 1 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. $12 Adults, $8 kids. Mayfair Theatre. 1074 Bank St. 613-730-6552.