Tropic Weekender: Our guide to the best events and things to do in Cairns

We have a cracker of a week to kick of the new month with events for the young and old and everyone in between. Before the weekend hits the Positive Ageing Expo is on, there's improv comedy at Bulmb-ja Theatre, and a killer show from The Chats and Cosmic Psychos.

The Italian Festival continues for its final weekend with a range of events, The Ironing Maidens are hosting music making workshops, the Pyramid Race is making the struggle real, while the Salt House Food & Wine Fest is keeping things chill. 

Oh, and how could we forget? Gilligan's Annual Sinners Ball is back, offering you the chance to let loose and shed your inhibitions. There's plenty more where that came, with more live music, performances, and sports to get amongst.

Don't forget to check in on our Cairns and Tablelands market guides, there's a few on this weekend to get amongst. Plus our Guide to art exhibitions and events dives deep into the local scene.

Wednesday 2 August

The Positive Ageing Expo is back, hosting a free and inclusive event to bring together seniors, service providers, businesses, and community groups. It offers a one-stop shop for seniors to explore various resources, support services, and opportunities specifically tailored to their needs and interests. The expo features live entertainment, providing a delightful experience for attendees.

Presented by Trinity Bay SHS Performing Arts is Comedy Improv Night at Bulmba-ja Theatre. The event showcases talent from Senior and Junior CAD Drama, as well as year nine and ten Drama students. With a mix of hilarious performances, this evening promises laughter and fun for all.

Thursday 3 August

The Chats & Cosmic Psychos are in FNQ for their Up North Tour. Ready to rock the stage at Edge Hill Tavern, they're set to deliver a high-energy performance with some classic tunes.

Friday 4 August

Progressive hard-core rockers Forest. are launching their latest album at the Tanks. With influences from various genres, their prog-rock music promises a unique experience and high energy live performance. Opening acts include Wasabi Barbie and Exotic Potion Cookies.

Experience the Spirit of Leonard Cohen biographical cabaret with Jonathan Anstock and a seven-piece band. This show includes Cohen's iconic songs and delves deep into his fascinating life, and world of poetry, song-writing, spiritual searching, and political thought. 

The Cairns Italian Festival Gala Ball - Bella Notte is on at the Pullman, serving up a glamorous and exciting night inspired by the iconic Cinecittà film studio in Rome. Guests are set to experience Italian cinema and elegance, walking the red carpet and enjoying a four-course Italian meal and five-hour drink package. The night also hosts the Hall of Fame Awards, honouring Italian/Australian individuals who have made significant contributions to North Queensland. Nomination for the Awards is currently open.

In support of The Ironing Maidens' new show Hot & Heavy at Cairns Fest, they're hosting Hot & Heavy Music Making Workshops on Friday and Saturday. The workshops provide an introduction to electronic music, guiding attendees through songwriting, recording, and adding instruments like beats and bass. Participants aged 15 years and over can learn singing and electronic music production using Ableton Live Software. No previous experience or equipment is required.

Saturday 5 August

The Great Pyramid Race is today with participants battling to reach the peak and return within four hours. Along with the big race, there is the Half Pyramid Race, Race to the Base, 3km Race, 1800m Juniors Race, and the Charity Fun Run supporting COUCH. The events take place in Norman Park, at the heart of Gordonvale, and also host stalls related to health, fitness, and healthy food options. 

Salt House Food & Wine Festival returns with A Taste of the Tropics. Experience the best of Tropical NQ with an enticing selection of winemakers, distillers, brewers, and producers, alongside food stalls and live entertainment. The event is family-friendly, with free entry for kids under 18's until later into the evening.

Join Emma Memma on her Twirly Tour at the Tanks! With her Butterfly Bus and friends Elvin Melvin, BB Butterfly, and Waffles The Wombat, Emma Memma empowers the next generation through movement, creativity, inclusiveness, and friendship. Combining dance, sign language, and music, she brings visual communication to children's media space. Everyone's encouraged to get involved and dress in Emma Memma and Elvin Melvin's favourite colours, orange, pink, and green.

Gilligan's Annual Sinners Ball returns for its 14th year for a wild and naughty night out, pushing you to explore your fantasies freely. It's a judgment-free zone with bondage and erotica, and everything else on full display. Wear whatever you want without judgement and run wild for one night only, tickets selling fast!

Harley Magic is hosting a spectacular for to discover and learn about Harley Magic's history and meet the new dealer principal the magic team. The night will host great food, entertainment, and of course all things Harley Davidson. This is a free event, but tickets are required.

Popular psychic and medium and author of the book Searching Spirit, Peter Williams returns to the stage for his final mediumship event of the year at CPAC. With a modern and refreshing approach, Peter delivers messages with energy, laughter, and heartfelt respect, working closely with the souls to connect with the audience.

Opera Australia presents The Barber of Seville, a musical masterpiece with a captivating storyline reminiscent of a Hollywood rom-com. Follow Figaro, the city's matchmaking maestro, as he uses clever disguises, subterfuge, and scheming to arrange a romantic encounter for would-be lovers.

As part of the Italian Festival, see the FNQ Premier League football match between the Mareeba Bulls and Leichhardt Lions as they compete for the Mareeba Moriconi Bomben Soccer Cup. After the games, enjoy the classical Italian music of Attori and indulge in an abundant feast of traditional Italian cuisine.

FIBA 3x3 is touring and hitting Cairns this weekend. The basketball tournament is bringing fast-paced, high-energy with local teams battling it out on the court. Men’s and Women’s 3×3 teams have the opportunity to compete in an intense local contest to qualify their team on an all expenses paid trip to Brissy to play at the weekend PLAYGRND Showdown. They're also hosting a Skills Camp at PCYC Yarabah.

Sunday 6 August

Wrapping up the Italian Festival for 2023 is the Mareeba Salami and Sausage Competition Festa. Join the big Italian family for a day filled with laughter, wine, and delicious food. Watch Australia's best artisans compete for prestigious awards and savour homemade Italian foods with family, friends, tradition, and live Italian music as entertainment.

Head to Succuliving & Co. for a crafty and creative Dried Flower Arrangement Workshop where you can make your own floral arrangement using dried and preserved flowers. This hands-on session teaches basic arranging techniques, and is suitable for all abilities.