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

Christmas parties seem to be taking over everyone's calendars, lucky we've got a few more options to fill in all the blanks. Japanese comedian Takashi Wakasugi is sharing his take after five years in Aus. NorthSite is hosting an artist meetup, as well as a new exhibition launch.

We have a couple workshops by The Posy Crew and Annee herself with a Vietnamese coffee masterclass at Nu Nu. Plus, there are a few end of year performances by local choir, dance and community groups, including the inaugural WhichWay Film Festival.

To top it off, we also have Turn Up the Heat, a Climate Protest organised by Cairns and Far North Environment Centre and Fight For Our Reef, demanding stronger action from our governments.

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

Friday 8 December

Celebrate and reflect on your artistic journey at NorthSite's Artist Connect event. Share successes, discuss challenges, and envision your path into 2024 over tea or bubbles. Connect with local artists, set goals for the upcoming year, and build valuable connections in a supportive space.

Following on, NorthSite is hosting Other by The 5Five Exhibition Opening. This exhibition, features local artists Roderick Newbury, Doula, John DeSatge, Fletcher Glover, and Tegan Koster, and their diverse reflections of the personal notions of "other." Curated by Nicholas Mills, the showcase includes various art forms such as film, visual media, sound, and text.

The Posy Crew is hosting a Dried Christmas Wreath Workshop. Create your very own and keep it for years to come. All flowers, tools and sundries are provided, along with light refreshments. Participants are also encouraged to bring their any trinkets and pieces to be included in the design. 

Celebrate the year with the Cairns Business Women’s Club Christmas Luncheon at Pullman. The event features special guest Kerry 'Nigel' Domann, a multi-talented entertainer known for their business savvy, comedy, memory skills, and interactive magic. Enjoy a welcome drink, opportunity to network, and a 2-course lunch to mark the start of the festive season.

Saturday 9 December

Head to the first ever instalment of the WhichWay Film Festival. First up is the Filmmakers Symposium at 11am at CQU, Cairns. Experience a panel discussion and Q&A with local and interstate filmmakers sharing their journeys. Afterward, enjoy snacks, network, and connect with local creatives. This is followed by a free screening on the esplanade from 5pm, showcasing Indigenous filmmakers' compelling works. Go support this celebration of Indigenous storytelling and cinematic talent.

Spare Tyre Politics brings their unique sound to Elixir, supported by rising star Wazz Malloid in the Cairns music scene. The tunes start at 8 pm, promising hours of surprises, new songs, and a high-energy performance you won't want to miss.

A Cairns and Kuranda bases community choir, WOYAYA, are hosting their annual end of year concert. Showcasing their talent with a collection of songs from across the world. Tickets on sale now, with all proceeds going to the Buddhist Centre.

Sunday 10 December

Organised by CAFNEC and AMCS, Climate Protest - Turn Up the Heat on Decision Makers is demanding stronger action from the Queensland and Australian governments. People are encouraged to participate and wear fiery outfits in shades of red, orange and yellow, and voice concerns about ongoing coal and gas approvals. As FNQ braces for a scorching summer, the protest aims to draw attention to the urgent need for climate protection measures.

Japanese comedian Takashi is back in Cairns with a brand-new show. After 5 years in Aus, he's become more Aussie but still remains distinctly Japanese. Join Takashi for an entertaining night as he humorously expresses his understanding and love for Australia in his unique way.

Unseen Cinema is screening timely feature Christmess. Fresh out of rehab, a washed up actor takes a job as a suburban strip mall Santa where he encounters his long estranged daughter. With the support of his sponsor, Chris sets about staying sober in order to win his daughter's forgiveness for Christmas.

Sunday 10 December

Celebrate the Chanukah Festival of Lights at the family-friendly event on the Cairns Esplanade. The evening includes live music, a children's program, and treats like latkes and donuts. Entry is free, and the celebration is open to the entire community.

Join Annee Nguyen, founder of ANNEES, for the A-Vietnamese Coffee Masterclass at Nu Nu. Learn the secrets of brewing the perfect cup of traditional Vietnamese coffee, discover what makes Vietnamese coffee unique and elevate your coffee game. Tickets include the A-Phin Starter Kit, a notepad and pen, and of course some nibbles.

Sun Moon Stars are returning to Elixir, joined by Kirtley Leigh, classical violinist, Mario Celestino, South American traditional instrumentalist, and Skeet Mate, folk-inspired guitarist and vocalist. Enjoy an international musical journey with soulful ballads, dynamic Latin rhythms, virtuoso classics, and unpredictable improvisations.

FNQ Dance Academy presents Come Fly With Me, a journey around the world through dance. Over 200 dancers take you on an adventure with 34 brand new routines, spanning ballet, jazz, contemporary, tap, and musical theatre.