The Weekender: Royal Winter Fair, Day of the Dead Festival and six other events on our to-do list

The Weekender: Royal Winter Fair, Day of the Dead Festival and six other events on our to-do list

Giddy up! (Images provided by the Royal Winter Fair) 

1.    CAPTURE THE FLAG (FREE!)
The suit-filled streets of the financial district get a Newmindspace make-over during this huge game of capture the flag on Bay. Teams get 10 minutes to plan before the game starts; organizers suggest bringing cellphones (for strategizing) and flashlights (it gets dark just after 6 now). Nov. 6. 8:30 p.m. Southwest corner of King and Bay Streets, newmindspace.com.

2.    DAY OF THE DEAD FESTIVAL (FREE!)
A Mexican tradition that can be traced back at least 3,000 years, Dia de los Muertos (translation: Day of the Dead) sounds like Halloween. But instead of kids dressing up and scoring candy, it’s about honouring the memory of friends and family who have passed away. As we expect from Harbourfront festivals, food demos (by chef Francisco Alejandri), music (mariachi and Latin alt-rock) and art abound. Nov. 6 and 7. Harbourfront Centre, 235 Queens Quay W., 416-973-4000, harbourfrontcentre.com.

3.    THE MERCHANTS OF BOLLYWOOD
The Merchant family, one of Bollywood’s many dynasties (see also, the Deols, Khans and Kapoors), gets the Hollywood biopic treatment in this musical. Using 30 performers, 3,800 costumes and both contemporary and traditional song and dance, including choreography by Vaibhavi Merchant and music by Salim and Sulaiman Merchant, the play tells the story of the family’s 90 years in the industry. Nov. 4 to 14. $25–$84. Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, 1 Front St. E., 416-870-8000, ticketmaster.ca.

4.    TORONTO SKETCH COMEDY FESTIVAL
This six-night laugh fest features the gut-busting talents of 40-plus comedy troupes, and we’re looking forward to catching our local faves, like Statutory Jape, She Said What and The Riot. Also on the bill, jokesters from L.A., New York, Cleveland, London and Vancouver and, for the first time ever, a free midnight madness series. Nov. 2 to 7. $15 per show, four-show pass $40, full festival pass $60. Lower Ossington Theatre, 100A Ossington Ave.; Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor St. W.; The Second City, 51 Mercer St., torontosketchfest.com.

5.    THE ROYAL AGRICULTURAL WINTER FAIR
We have fond memories of this elementary school field trip staple: prize-winning cows, gigantic gourds and horses three times as tall as we were. As grown-ups, we’ve expanded our horizons and are also excited to see the rodeo. Let’s be honest—it’s as close to being cowgirls as we’re going to get. Nov. 5 to 14. Admission $18. Direct Energy Centre, 100 Princes Blvd., 416-263-3400, royalfair.org.

6.    KIDS CAN EMBRACE DIFFERENCE DAY
Part book launch, part life lesson, this Small Print Toronto event is for the under-eight set. Celebrating the arrival of two new picture books from Kids Can Press (David Bruins and Hilary Leung’s The Way of the Ninja and Kyo MacLear’s Spork), the theme of the day is “what makes you different makes you special.” Stories, crafts, songs and games are all on the agenda, as well as a meet and greet with the authors. Nov. 6. Family pass $10. Gladstone Hotel, 1214 Queen St. W., smallprinttoronto.org.

7.    ULTIMATE FASHION SWAP PARTY
Budget shoppers are the target audience for this clothing party–slash–image workshop. Attendees can trade their gently used frocks, tops and kicky accessories, get liquid liner application tips at a makeup demo and get some off-the-cuff image consulting at an image and style mini-workshop. Nov. 6. $30. Green Instead, 200 Spadina Ave., swapsity.ca/pages/clothing_swap_meet.

8.    STARRY NIGHTS GALA
Toronto charity Ve’havta, a humanitarian and relief organization based on the Jewish value of tzedakah (the obligation to do justice), is all about the star-studded galas. Past Starry Nights events have seen keynote speeches by Mia Farrow and Mariane Pearl. This year, rock star humanitarian Bob Geldof will be delivering the big speech, while House creator, writer and executive producer David Shore will emcee. Nov. 7. $500. Toronto Centre for the Arts, 5040 Yonge St., veahavta.org.