Reindeer, games: 2 of the 3 best bets for fun this weekend in Winnipeg

The calendar says it’s still autumn, but the chill in the air and the snow on the ground says winter.

But rather than curling up and hibernating, this weekend offers plenty of chances to get out and enjoy everything Winnipeg has to offer.

So get off the couch, dress warmly and try these suggestions from CBC Manitoba’s trio of radio personalities:

Colton’s pick: Santa Claus Parade

The conifers are standing tall and the lights are firing up across the city ahead of Christmas.

Saturday could be considered the official kickoff to the holiday season, as Santa Claus comes to town for the 109th Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade.

This was a tricky year for the parade, with funding issues putting the event in jeopardy. The community was able to rally together and raise more than $100,000 to help out the parade and now it’s time to see Santa’s new ride.

The new sleigh was revealed Thursday to much wonder, as the classic design built from recycled Eaton’s signage heads into retirement.

Jolly St. Nick makes an appearance at the unveiling of the Winnipeg Santa Claus Parade’s new Santa Claus float Thursday at The Forks. (Walther Bernal/CBC)

Along with the grand finale arrival of Saint Nick, more than 50 Manitoba organizations and businesses are showing the holiday spirit with floats of their own. There will be a long line of smiling faces, young and old, to get a jump-start on the Christmas season, and likely some oohs and ahhs as Santa’s new sleigh comes to life.

The parade begins at 5 p.m. Saturday on Portage Avenue and Young Street and heads toward Portage and Main.

Shannah-Lee’s pick: Game-iToba​

This weekend I am sending you to have some good, old-fashioned fun, tabletop-style, for the inaugural Game-iToba convention.

There are volunteers who will be running various games all weekend, including Mysterium, Pandemic and Here Kitty Kitty. If you don’t know how to play a particular game, the game master will be happy to teach you how to play.

You can also try out some of the 700 games in the Game-iToba vault. If you find yourself wanting to play a particular game, but have no one to play with, you will be able to find a team soon enough. The event will have signs on hand that you can use to alert drop-in gamers that there are open slots available for a game.

Fans of tabletop games will converge on the Bronx Park Community Centre this weekend for Game-iToba. (Courtesy Game-iToba)

If you have kids, you are encouraged to bring them along. The event is family friendly, with many board games available that will appeal to youngsters. As a bonus, children aged 11 and under will receive free admission when accompanied by an adult.

Game-iToba is taking place Friday evening through Sunday at the Bronx Park Community Centre, located at 720 Henderson Hwy. Admission for the whole weekend is $30. If you are looking to go for just one day, Friday and Sunday will cost $15, and Saturday will cost $20. More information on admission and schedules can be found at

Ismaila’s pick: Tarbut: Festival of Jewish Culture

The annual Tarbut: Festival of Jewish Culture wraps up at the Rady Jewish Community Centre this weekend.

Featuring both local and out-of-town performers, Tarbut (which is Hebrew for culture) showcases the best of Jewish culture through a variety of mediums. Framed by the annual Jewish Book Fair and integrating the Israeli Concert Series, Tarbut’s program lineup includes Jewish musical concerts, author presentations, Jewish feature films and visual arts.

But specifically, I want to you to check out Yael Deckelbaum. She’s one of the performers coming to Winnipeg for the festival.

Deckelbaum is an award-winning Israeli/Canadian singer-songwriter and activist. She is a founding member of the legendary trio Habanot Nechama, whose single So Far became a No. 1 hit in Israel.

The song Prayer of the Mothers was born as a result of an alliance made between Deckelbaum and a group of courageous women, leading the movement of Women Wage Peace. Back in 2016, Jewish and Arab women began the March of Hope project, which saw at least 4,000 women — half of them Palestinian, half Israeli — in a joint prayer for peace. So… a singer with a mission that’s beyond her music.

Deckelbaum plays the West End Cultural Centre Saturday night as part of Tarbut: Festival of Jewish Culture. You can get tickets on the Rady centre’s website — $39 for non-members, $36 for members and just $20 for students.

With files from Colton Hutchinson, Shannah-Lee Vidal and Ismaila Alfa