Events ACT staff Vanessa Febo and John Leahy set up for Canberra Day celebrations.

Events ACT staff Vanessa Febo and John Leahy set up for Canberra Day celebrations. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Canberrans have been urged to get outdoors and enjoy the national capital to celebrate its 101st birthday.

Canberra Day is held on the second Monday in March each year to commemorate the official founding of the city on March 12, 1913.

The epicentre of the day's activities will be Commonwealth Park and Stage 88, with children's shows, live music and food stalls on offer.

Canberra Balloon spectacular. Click for more photos

2014 Canberra Balloon Spectacular

Canberra Balloon spectacular. Photo: Kym Bradley

Those keen to start early can visit the Balloon Spectacular on Old Parliament House's lawns from 6am.

Chief Minister Katy Gallagher urged the community to turn out to enjoy the free entertainment.

She said the highlight of her day would be announcing the first winner of the Snap 100 childrens' photography competition and then cutting the 101st birthday cake.

''Canberra Day is a great opportunity for all of us to celebrate together and get out and enjoy a range of activities that highlight what it is to be Canberrans," Ms Gallagher said.

Canberra Day is the culmination of the Celebrate Canberra festival where Canberrans are invited to enjoy the vibrancy of their city. The weekend's highlights included the final night of Enlighten, Le Diner En Blanc, the Black Opal Stakes, and Symphony in the Park.

Events ACT general manager Neale Guthrie said feedback from the weekend indicated a near record-breaking year.

Mr Guthrie said Enlighten trended third on Twitter across Australia on its first night and the events websites have all had record hits every day.

Although Saturday night's crowd was down due to wet weather, Mr Guthrie said Friday night was the biggest turnout Enlighten had seen in its four years of operation.

He hoped the numbers would surpass last year's centenary effort of 115,000 people through the week.

''All the institutions say numbers for Enlighten are up on last year,'' he said.

''We had really good weather, 23 degrees celsius; dark, still nights, so people took advantage of that … we've had good numbers despite the weather, literally, putting a dampener on things on Saturday.''

Mr Guthrie said the comedy festival, sporting events, Le Diner En Blanc, Symphony in the Park, and balloons had also reported strong support.

''Stitch those things together, tell a common story, and you end up with a nice three weeks of March.''

The party continues through the week, with a 101st anniversary celebration at the Street Theatre, on Tuesday, and Skyfire on Saturday.

 

WHAT'S ON

 

Canberra Day 2014

 

6am-10am: Canberra Balloon Spectacular at the Old Parliament House lawns.

2pm-7pm: Canberra Day in the Park at Stage 88, Commonwealth Park, featuring Scooby-Doo shows, face-painting, jumping castles, picnic, games and amusement rides, local bands, and 19 food vendors.

2.30pm: Chief Minister Katy Gallagher will announce the winners of the Snap 100 - A Kids' Eye View photography competition before cutting a birthday cake.

8pm-10pm: Enlighten festival architectural projections final night.

For more information, see events.act.gov.au.