The Weekender: Deli Duel 2, Toronto Sketch Com-ageddon and six other events on our to-do list

The Weekender: Deli Duel 2, Toronto Sketch Com-ageddon and six other events on our to-do list

Strawberries, Diamond Rings and Zane Caplansky 

1. ST. LAWRENCE MARKET STRAWBERRY FESTIVAL (FREE!)
It’s berry season in Ontario, and St. Lawrence Market is celebrating with its annual strawberry-focused fest. The morning’s events are split between how-to sessions (making strawberry-mint jam with Bumpercrop, say, or a cooking demo with celeb chefs Massimo Capra and Michael Bonacini) and taste tests (chocolate-covered strawberries, chocolate strawberry shortcake and strawberry lemonade). You really can’t go wrong. June 18. St. Lawrence Market, 92-95 Front St. E., stlawrencemarket.com.

2. NORTH BY NORTHEAST
In recent years, NXNE has really expanded its offerings to become something of a cultural event. (Hello, film fest and digital media conference.) But it’s also the same gigantic, new music-focused fest we’ve loved for the past 17 years—that would be the seven days and seven nights of shows and parties bit—with a lineup that includes Devo, The Pharcyde, Fucked Up, Diamond Rings, the Dum Dum Girls and Braids. To June 19. Five-day wristband $50; events at Yonge-Dundas Square free. Various locations, 416-863-6963, nxne.com.

3. DELI DUEL 2 (FREE!)
There’s really nothing better than a down-and-dirty, brisket-to-brisket battle for “smoked meat supremacy,” is there? Okay, fine, maybe smoked meat is not the be all and end all, but we still think this fundraiser for the Stop Community Food Centre is worth attending. Caplansky’s, Goldin’s and The Stockyards put together their best sammie and attendees vote for their fave. June 19. Wychwood Barns, 601 Christie St., thestop.org/event/19-jun-2011.

4. TORONTO SKETCH COM-AGEDDON
We’ve figured out this year’s annual sketch comedy showdown by the numbers: in the fourth installment of this comedic fracas, 45 troupes are competing over the course of five nights. They only have a handful of minutes to do their best funny, at which point they’re at the mercy of the audience and the terribly hard-to-please SketchFest Panel. To June 18. $10 per show, two shows for $12. Comedy Bar, 945 Bloor St. W., torontosketchfest.com.

5. TORONTO INTERNATIONAL PRIDE CUP (FREE!)
When we think Pride, we don’t really think soccer. But that’s our bad, because Downtown Toronto Soccer (one of the continent’s largest LGBT-friendly leagues) has been hosting a pre-Pride tournament for the past five years. Teams come from all over North America to play, so the competition is appropriately fierce and definitely worth checking out. June 17 to 19. Various venues, tipc.org.

6. TOPSHOP POP-UP
In case you hadn’t already heard (and if that’s the case, please turn in your Shopaholics Anonymous membership card), the Holy Grail of Brit fast fashion is coming (again). That’s right, Topshop is almost here. A store-within-a-store opens at The Bay Yorkdale in the fall, but impatient types—by which we mean us—can get a sneak peek at the soon-to-be-available offerings at this weekend-long pop-up shop. The venue? Two truck containers in a parking lot at Queen and Soho. Expect DJs and prizes. June 17 to 19. Queen St. W. and Soho St., thebay.com/topshop.

7. TASTE OF LITTLE ITALY (FREE!)
Consider this a public service announcement. Depending on how you feel about thronging crowds and diverted streetcars, run either toward or away from College West this weekend, because it’s Taste of Little Italy time. We like the live music from bands, choirs and other musical acts, but we love the eats—pizza, pasta, calzone anyone? June 17 to 19. College Street between Bathurst and Shaw, tasteoflittleitaly.ca.

8. THE LUMINATO MP3 EXPERIMENT (FREE!)
While the headphone disco movement never really took off, you can try your hand at the Luminato Mp3 Experiment, described as “a participatory street theatre phenomenon.” The concept is fairly simple: download the mp3 from the Luminato website, meet at one of two designated locations, and at exactly 12:50 p.m., hit play on your mp3 player and see what happens! Participants are encouraged to bring a camera and wear a red, green, blue or yellow shirt. We’re not exactly sure why, but we can’t wait to find out. June 19. Various downtown locations, luminato.com/2011/mp3.

(Images: Strawberries, Glen Young; Diamond Rings, Roger Zender; Caplansky, Renée Suen)