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COLUMN: August is a busy month for arts, entertainment

From Driving Miss Daisy, to history walks, to unique events in city parks, to downtown eats and arts, there is lots on the menu in Orillia, says columnist
The Offcuts
There's lots happening in Orillia's arts and entertainment scene these days. On Friday night, The Offcuts, above, will be playing at Tammie’s Place.

Welcome to August and more fun-filled days and nights for Orillians and those visiting our fair city.

The classic play, Driving Miss Daisy, is on at the Orillia Opera House until Aug. 12, and this production is garnering rave reviews.

A “trio of superb actors,” “mesmerizing production,” “stellar cast,” “production not to be missed.” These are just a few of the accolades for this production, in a review by Andrew Wagner-Chazalon recently.

Director Jesse Collins has managed to get to the heart of this wonderful Pulitzer Prize-winning play, and assembled the cast to do it justice. You can get tickets here.

Not to be outdone, Orillia’s other cultural icon, the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) has assembled an August full of fun and learning, for all ages.

“Gangs, Guns and Grog,” a historical walking tour for adults, continues on Wednesday evenings at 8:30 p.m. Find out more about Orillia’s wild west days in this fascinating walk and talk. “Historical Orillia,” a family-friendly walk and talk about Orillia’s history, is available every Friday at 7 p.m. and runs for an hour-and-a half, all over downtown, perfect for smaller people and feet.

Both tours are reasonably priced and a lot of bang for the buck. You can register here.

OMAH also has family programming the third Saturday of each month, and Saturday, Aug. 20 is Metamorphosis with Melissa Tralla. Here's what the description says: "Explore the changes that occur in the natural world around us through hands-on activities that celebrate some of nature’s most amazing animals.”

That sounds like family fun programming to me. Register here.

Of course, OMAH is running a series of summer camps throughout the summer, so contact the museum directly if you want to sign your little camper up. And, so as not to leave the adults in the lurch, OMAH’s Learn from Home art and video kits are still available.

You can learn to paint in the style of Carmichael, the Group of Seven, Pachter, or Shilling/Matisse, with the help of these complete art kits and a video link. Click here to order.

The Rotary Aqua Theatre grand re-opening has a new, rescheduled date: Aug. 9. Thank you inclement weather. The shenanigans get started at 6:30 p.m. and there will be live music with the Orillia Big Band, speeches, and a screening of the Tragically Hip’s concert film, That Night in Toronto. This should be a really fun night out and a chance to see the Aqua Theatre in action once again.

Speaking of the Aqua Theatre, Sunday evening band concerts are back, but not every Sunday. The next one is Aug. 14, with the Barrie Skyliners Big Band. Show starts at 6:30 p.m. Come out and bring your lawn chair.

For some different outdoor programming, the City of Orillia and the Orillia District Arts Council have teamed up to present Orillia Summer Nights, a series of events in neighbourhood parks in town.

Tonight's planned event at Hillcrest Park has been rained out. However, weather permitting, on Wed. Aug. 10, local dance instructor Miriam Goldberger presents Latin Line dancing at Homewood Park. These are all-ages, fun, free events, for the whole family, so come and check them out.

Of course, Friday night the popular See You on the Patio event continues, with Mississaga Street closed to cars from 5 to 11 p.m. for the patios and entertainment to bloom. Along with this, the Orillia Arts District encourages you to participate in a self-guided Art Walk, as local galleries along Peter Street will be open until 9 p.m.

Peter Street Fine Arts has a new guest artist, Mike Bailey, so stop by and see his wonderful photography. And Hibernation Arts guest artist for August is Nicole Ruff. Stop by and see her work Friday, or Saturday at an opening reception, from noon to 3 p.m.

Friday night, The Offcuts are playing at Tammie’s Place. Sunday, the Chris Robinson-Will Davis jazz duo is playing at the Couchiching Craft Brewing Co from 1 to 4 p.m.

Have a great week, and send me your arts news to by Tuesday at noon to be included in next week’s column.