Howdy all, and welcome to the first full weekend of the second-last month of the year.  Things always start hotting up at this time of year, not just in temperature (though this weekend’s weather sure ain’t playing along), but also in sheer volume of events from which we hapless Capetonians have to choose…

Here, then, are our top picks from the Mother City Living events calendar, for the blustery weekend ahead.

FNB Whisky Live Festival

4-6 November.  CTICC.  General tickets R180.

I’m no whisky drinker, but I really admire the passion and zeal of those who are.  There’s no detail left unexplored in the minutiae of whisky-making as explained by the enthusiasts.  The smell, the flavours, the process of its creation – these guys know it all!  My favourite part in this year’s event is the entrance hall, with its row of invitingly lit stalls showcasing various whiskies and displaying visually their tactile and flavour components (it makes more sense when you see it).

Visitors can sample a variety of whiskies and whisky cocktails in the Tasting Hall, find out how to pair food with whisky (yes, it can be done!) in the Pyotts’ Sensory Zone, or go the whole hog by attending one of the one-hour long crash course Whisky Workshops.  Tonight is the last night, running until 10pm.

Cape Quarter Grand Opening

7-15 November ’09. Various times. Cape Quarter, 27 Somerset Rd, Greenpoint. (more info)

There’s been quite the buzz surrounding the opening of this new building… and for the next week there’ll be a celebratory round of all kinds of activities: art, fashion shows, free music concerts and more, culminating in the Cape Quarter Food & Brandy Festival next weekend.

Bouchic Pre-Loved Sale

6-8 November ’09.  FTV Lounge, 114 Hout St, Cape Town.

Second hand clothing just got fashionable.  Bouchic is hosting a Gala Cocktail Party this evening (R300 a ticket) as well as two all-day sales on Saturday and Sunday (10am-8pm).  But don’t think jumble sale – the venue is spacious and will be stylishly laid out with convenient hanging rails and changing rooms. Complimentary champagne cocktails, foot massages, a jam-packed goodie bag, make-overs by Benefit, Lindt chocolate to nibble on, and live music are additional treats in store for you. A kiddies’ area will keep the little ones entertained while you shop. (more info)  Scratch that: ** update 6 Nov ’09: the Cape Town event has been cancelled**

Strawberry & Jazz Festival at the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market

7 November ’09.  Oude Libertas, Stellenbosch.  9am-2pm (more info)

I love this event!  Taking seasonal and making it an occasion, the Stellenbosch Fresh Goods Market will be highlighting the strawberry in all its glory.  Think strawberry in just about all its possible forms, even strawberry sausages (from Rudi’s), and plenty of red-themed stalls.  It’s awesome, and even the dodgy weather is unlikely to put them off their stride (they have sturdy canopies which should hopefully keep the worst of the uncooperative weather at bay).

Franschhoek Christmas Market

30 October – 8 November.  Daily between 9am and 6pm (except Sundays 1 and 8 November: 11am-4pm)  Town Hall, Huguenot Rd, Franschhoek.

Last few days of this one.  Whilst I wouldn’t drive all the way out to Franschhoek for this market, if you’re headed that way anyway, it’s worth stopping in for a sampling of local handmade food and goodies. (more info)

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