March might traditionally be Canberra's time to shine, but the celebrations came early this year with the city shaking off her COVID coat and putting on her party pants this weekend.
On Friday night, competition winner Amanda Borg lit up the Parliamentary Triangle and the city precinct when she flicked the switch on Enlighten Festival.
Launching this weekend, the city's annual show enticed Canberrans to stay out after dark to see the mesmerising lights transform the Parliamentary Triangle and the Sydney and Melbourne buildings.
Warm weather and an impeccable COVID case record encouraged crowds to gather at Enlighten Alley and drink at BentSpoke Beer Garden, the pop-up party above Lake Burley Griffin which will run until the light festival ends on March 8.
Elizabeth Olson was at Enlighten on Friday with her children. She said while the crowd was a little thinner than in prior years, and the use of hand sanitiser and social distancing were being enforced, it didn't feel like the middle of a global pandemic.
Ms Olson said it felt like a fitting and celebratory end to the summer. "I'm so glad it happened; I didn't think it was going to because of the pandemic," she said.
While, sadly, Groovin the Moo will not be returning in April, music lovers had a chance to dance on their picnic blankets at SummerSalt on Saturday afternoon.
The Teskey Brothers, the Cat Empire and Boy and Bear all ventured to the capital to perform at Stage 88, with organisers reminding attendees dancing was "strictly permitted in front of your chair".
Kirbie Moore attended the festival with sister-in-law Claire Hunt.
"It's cool to see this amount of people out together and just enjoying the atmosphere," Ms Moore said.
Ms Moore said it felt like the worst of 2020's woes were behind us.
"It feels like this is the start. We're back!" she said.
The tour's two Mornington Peninsula shows attracted more than 15,000 fans, while more than 7000 attended the Adelaide show.
Promoter John Zaccaria said the live shows with mass gatherings proved that well-planned and executed events could be safely and successfully staged even in difficult circumstances.
With restrictions eased, the Brumbies went up against the Waratahs in Saturday night's Super Rugby AU clash in front of Canberra Stadium's biggest crowd in almost a year.
Because it's no party without balloons, those of the hot air variety will begin their nine-day morning ritual from next Saturday.
The Canberra Balloon Spectacular will run until March 14, with "big poppa" set to sale for the first time on March 8.
Skywhale and Skywhalepapa will both make an appearance on Canberra Day.
Is this a Roaring Twenties resurgence in Canberra? Stay tuned.
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