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Ali Schwabe | Fulcrum Staff

Friday, Feb. 8
Winterlude is an Ottawa tradition; why not take part this Friday? The Rink of Dreams outside City Hall will be open from 8 to 11 a.m.; lace up your skates and glide around the perfectly smooth ice. Throughout the day take part in any number of activities; you can attempt to win a winter scavenger hunt or just enjoy the sights of IllumiNation, Ottawa’s outdoor light art gallery. Check out Canadascapital.gc.ca/celebrate/winterlude for a full schedule of events and activities happening this weekend.
After a day spent out in the cold, head inside to take part in what’s sure to become an annual tradition: Cracking-Up the Capital. On Feb. 6, Ottawa’s first-ever comedy festival kicks off as part of Winterlude. Throughout the week, the shows will highlight Canadian talent from a variety of genres, including women, youth, and Aboriginal comedians. Cracking-Up the Capital’s finale is happening on Friday at the National Arts Centre from 8 to 11 p.m. Proceeds from this show will go to local mental health organizations, and the line-up for the evening includes Canadian comics like John Wing, Tracey MackDonald, and Don Kelly, all hosted by the Red Green Show’s Patrick McKenna.

Saturday, Feb. 9
On Saturday night, head over to the Avant-Garde Bar 135 1/2 Besserer St. The place is worth going to for the decor alone. The walls of the main room are covered in Soviet-era posters as well as local art, and the brightly coloured walls, counters, and cocktail glasses put you in a good mood. The intimate lighting and cozy setup in the lower room makes it an ideal place to catch up with friends or start a conversation with someone new. Even if you don’t tend to visit bars to check out how they’re decorated, Avant-Garde is the place to be this Saturday, as New Elders, Permanent Bastards, and Pretty Little Death Machine will all take to the stage starting at 9 p.m. The punk-rock show promises to be loud and a lot of fun, with the bands singing meaningful lyrics about everything from capitalism to love, from to poverty to education, and from heartbreak to racism.

Sunday, Feb. 10
Before the start of another week of work, why not treat yo’self? Located at 111 Clarence St. in the ByWard Market, Spoon is a self-serve frozen yogurt joint that will leave your tummy smiling without hurting your wallet. You pay by weight, so fill up your cup with as many of the half-dozen froyo flavours you want—the pistachio is especially delicious. Then go crazy with the toppings; add on as many sprinkles, fresh fruit, Oreo crumbs, peanuts, and caramel sauce as you can handle. With everything from popping bobas to marshmallow fluff, you’ll find something you like with your froyo.
Spend your afternoon being inspired by the incredible ice sculptors who transform Ottawa with their works of icy art. Sculptors will be at Confederation Park between 12 and 3 p.m., giving a demonstration on the secrets of ice carving, using their signature tools and techniques to create stunning sculptures.