THE WEEKENDER: Lots of free Christmas stuff, plus dance and theatre and local food
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THE WEEKENDER: Lots of free Christmas stuff, plus dance and theatre and local food

The musicians of the NAC Orchestra once again pick up their instruments for this free Christmas concert in support of the Ottawa Food Bank and the Snowsuit Fund of Ottawa. Listen to some great Christmas tunes and then join the sing-along. Special guests include CBC radio host and mezzo-soprano Julie Nesrallah, and Laureen Harper, as conductor. Sunday, Dec. 11, noon. National Arts Gallery, Main Foyer, 53 Elgin St.

An image from The Company of Fools play A Midwinter's Dream Tale. Photo by Andrew Alexander.

Looking for a laugh? Then look no further than the Company of Fools performance of A Midwinter’s Dream Tale. This local troupe, mainly known for their outdoor summer events, has been entertaining audiences for 10 years with their signature characters Pomme Frite and ‘Restes. This show combines elements of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Knight’s Tale, but features all-new gags and adventures. This year sees the return of original cast members, including Jesse Buck, who has just come back from a stint with Cirque du Soleil. Until Dec. 18. See website for show times and to purchase tickets, or call the box office at 613-236-5196. Great Canadian Theatre Company, 1233 Wellington St. W.

Work by nearly 30 local artists will be on display at Patrick Gordon Framing Studio this Saturday afternoon. Check out pieces by Dalal Chuaqui, Daniel Martelock, Cindy Sherman, Mirana Zuger, Jean-François Provost, James Lahey and many more — there’s even a new room to explore. Enjoy a drink, support artists, and avoid the mall by picking up holiday gifts. Vernissage Saturday, Dec. 10,  7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Patrick Gordon Framing Studio, 160 Elm St. Check out the Facebook page for a full list of artists.

As if the holidays don’t have enough temptation, the Ottawa Locavore Artisan Food Fair (LAFF) is back for a second year. This Saturday, 25 local food artisans will be coming together to sell their delicious products, including cookies, pies, cheeses, jams, chocolates, and more. A silent auction of select products will raise money for the School Breakfast Program, which feeds 11,000 children in Ottawa daily. Saturday, Dec. 10, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., Crichton Cultural Community Centre, 39 Dufferin Rd.


Editions of You by Julie LaPalme is among the works for sale at Lemonjellow's Christmas show.
If you’re looking for a fun holiday event with an artsy twist, check out Lemonjellow’s weekend pARTy. The new art collective aims to display art in a variety of ways, and this weekend the works of nine local artists will be on sale (prices range from $50 to $300). Bring a present to be re-gifted in support of Pink Triangle Youth. A tamer cookies-and-coffee party is happening on Sunday for those who can’t quite make it to one of the night events. Friday, Dec. 9 and Saturday, Dec. 10, 8p.m.; Sunday, Dec. 11, noon – 5p.m. 25 Charlevoix St.

If you can’t make it to the professional performances of The Nutcracker this season, head out to a dance show more focused on local dreams. The holiday recital of Old Ottawa South dance studio Makin’ Moves’ features a nice Tchaikovsky number — as well as choreography to music Aretha Franklin, Raffi, ABBA, and LMFAO. Join the neighbours for the first show featuring students ages 3 – 14 (2:30 p.m.), or be inspired by older kids and adults at the second show (5:30 p.m.). Sunday, Dec. 11, $5; children free. Southminster United Church, Lower Hall, 15 Aylmer Ave. Check the Facebook page for more details.

Visit this stress-free holiday shopping event to shop for wares by over 30 artisans (products include food, crafts, jewelry, and other handmade goods). In addition to shopping, there is live music to enjoy as well as family activities; wander into the David M. Stewart Salon to have a look at the Christmas trees on display as part of the annual Christmas Tree Decorating Challenge. Friday, Dec. 9, 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.; Saturday, Dec. 10 and Sunday, Dec. 11, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. Canadian Museum of Civilization, 100 rue Laurier St., Gatineau.