It Was A Starry Night

By John Swartz

Starry Night in downtown Orillia Saturday evening was successful in terms of it wasn’t a total rebuilding effort on the part of organizers trying to pick up from the last one in 2019; several hundred people attended. Many artists were anxious about how the event would turn out after a four year absence, and were relieved when the crowds showed up.

The moon was prominent in the sky, and if it weren’t for the constant haze we have had this summer we likely could seen all the stars just as easily. It wasn’t the elbow to elbow kind of crowd of years prior to the end of civilization as we knew it, but it also wasn’t like the first 4 or 5 years before this event established itself as a premier evening artistic exposition and social event of the year.

Jimi McKee’s re-imagined story pole looked much better all put together than it looked in three pieces earlier in the week.

Paul Baxter

Paul Baxter had a framed print of a photo  he took of Gordon Lightfoot next to the bust in front of the Opera House, paired with Tom Wilson’s handwritten speech used in July when the main stage at the Mariposa Folk Festival was renamed in Gord’s honour.

Ian Chaplin was on Peter Street playing covers of tunes everyone could enjoy and The Phoenix Jazz Quartet (Rusty Strathdee, Randy Hoover, Ian Thurston and Bruce Rumble) was camped out in the courtyard between OMAH and Tiffin’s Creative Centre; it seemed like every time they started a new tune they had a different audience gathered to listen.

Aside from seeing all the art – and many had new work created for this event (e.g. almost everything in Will McGarvey’s Flywheel Studio was new – including the paint on the walls) – it was good time to see friends who have been off doing their thing all summer.

Leslie Fournier was giving away guitar blanks like the ones decorating the downtown for kids to paint; you could tell she gave out many by all the parents carrying them around, careful not to bend or crease them.

Charles Pachter and Keith Lem’s gallery/studio located a couple blocks away from the Arts District was full with many out-of-towners. Even downtown it was difficult to able to say hello to each artist because they were often busy speaking with patrons.

Enjoy this gallery of photos.

Jimi McKee

Image 1 of 16

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia)

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