COLUMN: Enjoy what’s left of summer with music, art and more

From See You on the Patio to walking tours and fundraisers, there’s still plenty to do in Orillia, columnist says

I don’t know about you, but I’m in total Labor Day weekend denial. I am not ready to give up the pleasures, events and shows of summer. Luckily, there’s so much to come, throughout the fall, maybe I don’t have to give it up after all.

A fun summer activity that wraps up this Friday is the Orillia Museum of Art and History, Gangs, Guns, and Grog 19+ Walking Tour, a look back at Orillia’s naughty past. Click on here for more details and to register.

Another fun summer thing ending this Friday is See You on the Patio. This magical weekly event has its latest incarnation this Friday starting at 5 p.m. Step out for one last stroll down Mississaga and Peter streets, check out all the great galleries, shops and art, and enjoy a wonderful meal on the patio. The weather is looking perfect. See you on the Patio, this Friday, one last time in 2022.

Speaking of galleries, I want to thank Cloud Gallery, located on Mississaga Street in the Creative Nomad Studios building. One of our beloved artists, Liz Schamehorn, was seriously injured in a hit-and-run this summer, and the Cloud Gallery, which exhibits some of her work, stepped up and agreed to donate part of the sales of one of Schamehorn’s works during the month of August. Final sum? Nearly $5,000 to go to this worthy and deserving performer. Well done, Cloud Gallery.

Labor Day weekend means it’s time for the big pirate party at the Port of Orillia, all weekend long. Since its inception, the Pirate Party has only grown and improved. This year there is a Pirate Village with plenty of vendors and food options, as well as historical re-enactments and demonstrations; live music Friday, Saturday and Sunday; a treasure hunt for the whole family; boardwalks; price; and more.

Friday night enjoy the music of the Conner Brothers. Saturday is the Ronnie Douglas Band, and Sunday night is The Orangeman. For the full schedule of events and pirate mayhem, click here.

Mariposa Arts Theater (MAT) is looking for directors and production crew members for a few shows in 2023. MAT is producing Spirit Blythe in February and A tram called Désir in April. If you think you would like to help, please contact Kaleb Sauve [email protected] as soon as possible.

Speaking of MAT, hang on to your hats; The Rocky Horror Show comes to town. This special MAT production, the first major musical since the days before, arrives at the Orillia Opera House November 10-13 and 17-20.

I was talking to Shannon Hawke recently, who’s one of the cast members and also helps with marketing, and she said this show just came out as a pre-COVID suggestion, and it’s so exciting that is actually happening now.

“It will be even bigger and better than Chicago has been. Some of the great actors who were in Chicago are in Rocky, including Josh Halbot, but there are also some amazing new actors. Get your tickets quickly. They really won’t last, especially with this amazing cast,” Hawke said.

The full cast list? Stephanie Lamb, Michael Abernethy, Laura Bainsborough, Josh Halbot, Patrick Voo, Pam Sparrow, Alyse Setton, Ryan LaPlante, Same Wiles and Stephen Dobby. Rocky is directed by Kaleb Sauve, under the musical direction of Christina Bosco and the choreography of Sheri Nicholls. Get your tickets now at www.orilliaoperahouse.ca. It will definitely be one for the books.

Also speaking of MAT, and in anticipation of the fall, MAT movie nights are starting up again. This beloved film series that wouldn’t normally come to Orillia begins Wednesday, September 14 with Scarborough. On October 12, the film is Ally and Ava; November 9 The Phantom of the Opera; and on December 7, the film is Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen. There are two screenings of each film, at 4 p.m. and 7 p.m., and all films screen at Galaxy Cinemas in Orillia.

Tickets are $15 and sales will be cash only, in person at the theater starting at 3 p.m. for the 4 p.m. performance and 6 p.m. for the 7 p.m. performance. Places are limited, so it is strongly recommended to arrive early.

Speaking of events that are likely to sell out, the Orillia Youth Center’s Roots North Revisited show on September 17 at the Fern Resort is one such event. This annual youth center fundraiser, which has taken place in many creative ways during the pandemic (live concert at a drive-in, anyone?), is back at the Fern Resort with a great selection of talents, including REAY Music, Billy the Kid, and Ron Hawkins. The show starts at 6 p.m. Fern Resort has bar food for sale. The beer will come from the Quayle Brewery, and there will also be wine and liquor sales.

You can get tickets for $40 cash at Alleycats and Dapper Depot, downtown or online here. One hundred percent of the proceeds will go to the Orillia Youth Center and of course it will be a fantastic evening.

Another fun night early this fall is the St. Paul’s Center Welcome Back Concert on September 10 at 7:30 p.m. This is to highlight the incredible gift of a rare and beautiful grand piano by the late Michael Jones, extraordinary pianist and extraordinary thinker. Lance Anderson, Blair Bailey, Doreen Uren Simmons, the Lafaive family, Cassandra Rutherford and many more incredible musicians will showcase this beautiful instrument, and there will be a reception and cash bar after the event to welcome everyone to St. Paul’s this fall.

This show is a fundraiser for St. Paul’s and admission is by voluntary donation. See you there, 62 Peter St. N., September 10 at 7:30 p.m.

The City of Orillia Art in Public Places Committee is calling for artists for its largest public art project to date. Artists are invited to submit a proposal to one or more of the seven sites that incorporate the theme of the project: Crossroads, Connections and Intersections. The theme is inspired by the city’s strategic location along major highways and waterways, connecting people to Orillia for thousands of years.

The site locations are as follows: Site 1 — Wilson Point Trail intersection; Site 2 — intersection of Fittons Road Trail; Site 3 — City of Orillia Water Filtration Plant; Site 4 — Orillia Recreation Center; Site 5 — stormwater pond; Site 6 — James Street Trail Junction; Site 7 — Atherley Road Trail Junction.

Artists interested in submitting will be invited to participate in a two-step process for most sites with a proposal deadline of Monday September 19 and a concept design deadline of Monday October 31. Artists can consult the detailed submission conditions on www.orillia.ca/publicart.

More music this weekend? Thursday, Sammy Johnston at Couchiching Craft Brewery, 6-9 p.m.; Paige Rutledge at Couchiching Craft Brewing Co., Saturday 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Have a wonderful last weekend of summer, but not the last weekend of fun. If you have any arts news, send them to [email protected] by Tuesday noon to be included.