This Week In Art/Culture/Entertainment

By John Swartz

Here we are, 6 months (almost) until Christmas Eve and you still have presents to buy. Down at the Port of Orillia the annual delusion of an early Christmas is in full operation Saturday.

Yes, Virginia, there really is a Christmas in June. Never mind instead of it being 29 below its 29 above, people will have their boats all decked out with Christmas lights, hangy things, and tinsel. Even the dogs, or other pets, that don’t move quickly enough will be decorated.

Since the 80s, in some minds, it really isn’t summer until Santa arrives at the Port. There will be music with DJ Santa Steve spinning discs from 3 until 7 p.m. There is a crew who line up their boats every year and erect a stage out on the docks and people will play music, the live kind, most of the afternoon and evening.

The boaters and their boats get judged, for prizes, bragging rights mainly. The downtown is also getting in on the act this year with merchants participating in a sidewalk sale and the Orillia Public Library has some activities planned from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will also be vendors along the boardwalk until 7 p.m. The dock gates will be open from 1 to 5 p.m. so people can stroll through and see the decorations up close.

Arts For Peace

This family event, held at the Leacock Museum, is back after a 5-year hiatus. It was rained out in 2019 and, well, you know what happened the next few years. It takes place June 23 from 1 to 4 p.m.

The festival started in 1983 and has remained pretty much the same each year – lots of activities for kids and lots of music. The theme this year is Sowing the Seeds of Peace.

The musicians doing their thing this year include, Maeve O’Connor, Dan McCoy and Alex Rose, Steve Caston, Alex the Folk Band, Brandt Street Sessions, Little Otter and Steve Porter.

It’s free to attend, but they’ll take donations. Or, you can buy a festival t-shirt ($25) which will help toward covering costs of the festival.

Creative Collaboration

Craig Mainprize has a busy weekend. Friday night he and Jakob Pearce have a concert at Creative Nomad Studios. It’s a Summer Kick-Off Concert June 21 at 7:30 p. Get tickets online.

Craig will be back Saturday for Cloud Gallery’s Meet the Artist event. Cloud is at Creative Nomad, occupying most of the wall space while Creative gets the rest. He’ll be on the second floor because Miriam Slan is also scheduled to do a Meet the Artist, and she’ll be on the main floor. The meet the artist series events are from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and the point is to meet the artists and see them work on something new.

Music in the Park
Orillia Concert Band rehearsing for Sunday’s concert

The Orillia Concert Band is the lead-off hitter for the City’s Sunday evening band concerts at the Aqua Theatre. They’ll be premiering a new piece written by Dan Austin called The Beauty Within. Dan graduated from Twin Lakes Secondary School and last week got a publishing deal with Randall Standridge Music, a major American publishing house. There will be other concerts every weekend of the summer and they all start at 6:30 p.m.

The rest of the schedule for Concerts in the Park is:

  • July 7, Baytowne Big Band
  • July 14, Orillia Silver Band
  • July 21, Barrie Concert Band
  • July 28, Orillia Big Band 
  • August 4, Skyliners Big Band
  • August 11, Newmarket Citizens Band
  • August 18, Markham Concert Band
  • August 25, Simcoe County Band
  • September 1, Orillia Brassworks

The Orillia And Area Black Community Association has their second annual event happening July 13 at Couchiching Beach Park. I didn’t know there was a first. It happens from 2 to 7 p.m. and is meant to, “bring our incredible community together to build bonds, create memories, and celebrate the beauty of Orillia.”

There will be games, crafts and some bouncy things to play on. There will also be a potluck dinner. The event is still in the growing stages, so music will be by a DJ this year, but event organizer Alasoba Kelsy-Braide hopes in coming years to have live music.

“I want it to grow into something,” she said. “I have ideas in my head.”

The event is free to attend.

More in part two of this wonderful little space on the web.

The Shorts

  • The Coldwater Studio Tour happens June 22 and 23. All the venues are in Coldwater with 38 artists showing their work.
  • The concert Anne Walker (who will be performing at the MFF in July)  has with Tannis Slimmon and Lewis Melville at the Coulson Church on June 23 has been cancelled because of illness.. The rest of the schedule is: July 28 Wendell Ferguson; Aug. 25 Anne Walker; and Sept. 29 Blair Packham. You can get tickets online.
  • Couchiching Craft Brewing has Even Steven is in June 21… Quayle’s Brewery has a comedy festival happening June 21 (tickets) with Tracy Hamilton, Ben McKay, Craig Fay and Daniel Shaw; Sydney Riley is in to play music June 21; Andrew Walker plays June 22; Alex Barber June 23… The Hog ‘N Penny has Corey Taylor in to play June 21; Benj Rowland June 22; and an Open Mic happens Sunday afternoons with Sean Patrick, Michael Martyn John MacDonald, Jessica Martin and whoever else shows up…  Lake Country Grill has Andrew Walker playing June 26…  Blue Moon Junction has Mitch Beube and Jason Crawford playing jazz June 23… Fionn MacCool’s has an open Mic hosted by Jamie Drake Wednesday evenings… The Griddle Pickers play the Common Stove’s Bluegrass Brunch June 23.

(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia and Images Supplied) Main: A scene from the 2018 Christmas In June at the Port of Orillia.

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