December 6, 2023

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What to do in Hamilton and area this long weekend, July 29-Aug. 1

With Monday a civic holiday, Hamilton is jam-packed with family friendly festivals, events and activities for this upcoming long weekend, from the return of a Gage Park favourite to the end of the Fringe Festival. 

Festival of Friends 

This weekend, the Festival of Friends is back in Gage Park. The event is free and open to all ages. 

The three-day concert series will feature an all-Canadian line up, with artists like Serena Ryder, Hamilton’s Monster Truck, and Indigenous hip hop group Snotty Nosed Rez Kids. 

Event manager Robert Rakoczy said he is expecting this year’s festival to have more visitors than past years. 

He said the festival will have hundreds of vendors, a full midway with rides and games, food trucks, a large beer garden sponsored by Moosehead, and three different stages playing a variety of folk, rock and hip hop music. 

Vendors and midway rides will open at 2 p.m. on Friday and will end at 11 p.m. The first performance is 3:45 p.m.

On Saturday and Sunday, the festival and music acts will start at 12 p.m. and end at 11 p.m.

The last weekend of Fringe

The closing awards ceremony of this year’s Fringe Festival will be hosted by local drag performer Karma Kameleon. (David Hawe/Submitted by Karma Kameleon )

The final curtains are falling at Hamilton’s Fringe Festival this weekend, a free event for all ages.

The final awards and closing night celebrations are on Sunday, July 31, at Theatre Aquarius’ Fringe Club Patio.

Local drag artist Karma Kameleon will host the final awards ceremony. There will also be a performance by GTA musician Nezqwik.

Pier 8 Pop Ups 

The recently opened Copps Pier Park at Pier 8 will be hosting events for the Pier 8 Pop Ups series, which is back as of this weekend. 

On Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., there will be a family friendly Sunset Beach Party on Copps Pier Park Beach. The party will have live music, food and drinks, kids activities, “beach blanket bingo” and a waterfront view of the sunset. 

On Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., the Hamilton Waterfront Trust patio will have kids crafts, a family sing-along teddy bear picnic and all ages craft workshops by Hamilton Craft Studios, starting at 1p.m. 

On Sunday from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m., the Hamilton Waterfront Trust patio will be hosting Sous Bay, a paid event for people 19 and older run by Hamilton club collective Sous Bas. The event will have drinks, DJs, and dancing. 

Hamilton Honey Badgers at First Ontario Centre 

On Sunday, the Hamilton Honey Badgers will play the Niagara River Lions at the First Ontario Centre for their last home game of the season. 

The Hamilton Honey Badgers will play their last home game of the season this Sunday. (@HM_HoneyBadgers/Twitter)

Fans are invited for Fan Appreciation at 2 p.m. before the game starts at 4 p.m.

There will be live music from alternative rock group Avenue Inn, prize giveaways, a full team meet-and-greet after the game, and the first 250 fans will get a signed player photo. 

Seeing the Invisible at the Royal Botanical Garden

The Royal Botanical Gardens (RBG) is hosting Seeing the Invisible, an augmented reality exhibit, the entire long weekend.

The exhibit features art from over a dozen international artists and allows visitors to use their phones to view 13 “larger than life,” moving art installations in the Botanical Gardens.

A woman stands in a garden in front of a white frame which is hovering in mid air and filled with flowers and foliage. The photo is photoshopped to show what viewers of the Seeing the Invisible will see through their phones.
The Royal Botanical Garden’s ‘Seeing the Invisible’ exhibit uses cell phone cameras to show to display larger than life art works. (Submitted by Refik Anadol)

The event is open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and is included in the RBG’s general admission

RBG suggests visitors download the augmented reality app at home, before visiting the exhibit. 

Hamilton Harbour Night Market

The Hamilton Harbour Night Market is at Bayfront Park Friday to Sunday from 2 p.m. to midnight, and Monday from noon to 6 p.m. 

It will feature food trucks and tents, vendors, and waterfront sunset views.

The Hamilton Night Market will have food trucks and tents, and vendors. (Meagan Deuling)

The event is free, dog friendly and open to all ages. 

Emancipation Day 

Monday is Emancipation Day, the 188th anniversary of the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 ending slavery in the British Empire. 

The Afro Canadian Caribbean Association of Hamilton is hosting a virtual celebration and panel discussion, which will start at 2 p.m. 

This year’s theme is “When the Lion Tells the Story.”

It’s inspired by the Zimbabwean proverb, “Until the Lion tells his side of the story, the tale of the hunt will always glorify the Hunter.”

The event will feature stories of Black Hamiltonians, told from their perspectives, including Camille Turner, Gary Warner and Evie Auchinvole. 

Participants are asked to register to gain access to the livestream

Events for Emancipation Day are also taking place in St. Catharines all weekend long, starting with the raising of the Pan-African Flag at city hall Friday at 2 p.m., followed by an outdoor vendor market Saturday, a performance by rapper Shad, a historical talk and tour Sunday and a day of music and celebration Monday. Full details are available online

What’s open and closed

This Monday, Aug 1., banks, libraries, recreation centres and post offices will be closed.

Buses will operate at a Sunday service level.

Garbage pickups for the week will occur one day later than regularly scheduled, according to the city website.

Community recycling centres and transfer stations will be closed on the civic holiday.

Hamilton Public Library locations are closed on Monday too.

LCBO and Beer Store locations will have adjusted hours for the holidays, and some locations may be closed.

Lime Ridge Mall will be open from 10 a.m to 6 p.m., Eastgate Mall will be open 11a.m. to 5p.m., Jackson Square will be closed, and stores at Centre on Barton will have varying hours.