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Seven reasons you shouldn't miss Canberra Day 2016

The old gal is turning 103 and as such, it's time for Canberrans to get together and celebrate.

Canberra Day 2016 promises to be full of tunes, tucker and great times. 

Get up bright and early to see the Canberra Balloon Spectacular.
Get up bright and early to see the Canberra Balloon Spectacular. Photo: Rohan Thomson

Like any birthday party worth its stripes, the live music will be pumping from 2pm until 7pm from Stage 88, at Commonwealth Park.

There will be a range of food vans and local traders to make sure everyone is fed and watered too and there'll be plenty of free and fun activities too.

Here are just some of the reasons why you should consider donning a party hat on Canberra Day. 

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles

Leonardo, Donatello, Michelangelo and Raphael will crawl up from their sewer to ninjitsu their way through two live performances at 2.05pm and 3pm on Stage 88, at Commonwealth Park. Little kids and big kids alike should love this. 

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Dancing in the daylight

Where everyone can see your daggy moves. At 2.30pm and 3.30pm DJ Felixx will hit the decks for a half-hour set before Canberra rockers The Advocates take to the stage at 4pm.

Brass Knuckle Brass Band will jump on from 5pm before Canberra's own house music duo the Aston Shuffle will round out the day with a set from 6pm. 

Good ol' fashioned fair-day fun

A throwback to a simpler time. There'll be face-painting, craft sessions and picnic games to keep the kids amused as well as plenty of rides, including the Super Cha, Giant slide and the teacups.

There will also be a stick-up wall, jump 'n' slide and combo castle inflatables. 

A hot air balloon that looks like it's made up of lots of tiny little balloons

Yes, a balloon based on the Disney tearjerker Up exists and you could watch it ascend into the sky if you wake up early enough on Canberra Day. The Canberra Balloon Spectacular is on again at the lawns of Old Parliament House from 6.15am and day three just happens to coincide with the capital's birthday celebrations. What's a party without balloons right?

Pretending you're in France

 If the thought of not being able to get away for the long weekend is making you sad you could go for a cheaper escape route than a plane ticket and catch a flick at the 27th Alliance Française French Film Festival at Palace Electric Cinemas. Full program and tickets at palacecinemas.com.au.

Soaking up some culture

Escape the sun (or the possible rain) and check out one of the summer blockbuster exhibitions you've put off seeing. Tom Roberts at the National Gallery, Encounters at the National Museum and the Waterhouse Natural Science Art Prize at the National Archives all close at the end of the month.

Sitting back and appreciating this fine city with your fellow Canberrans

Canberra gets a lot of stick but on its 103rd anniversary it's probably time to do away with the stereotypes and embrace the clean, green, glorified country town we live in. The blessing of Canberra is it's big enough to do the grocery shopping in your trackies without bumping into everyone you know in the frozen veg aisle but small enough to smile to strangers as you're passing by. Or dance rhythmlessly with them in Commonwealth Park if you're so inclined. 

Getting there:  ACTION will operate to a Sunday timetable on Monday, March 14, for the Canberra Day public holiday. All MyWay fares will be charged at off-peak rates.

Weather: Wear your poncho as we're in for a cloudy day with a shower or two and the chance of a storm later. Min 16, max 29.