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COLUMN: Festive season kicking into high gear in Orillia

From Opera House shows to local concerts, Christmas markets, Santa Claus appearances ... there's something for everyone, says columnist
Barra MacNeils 2 2018-11-27
The Barra MacNeils will perform at the Orillia Opera House on Dec. 1 - part of a busy month at the downtown facility.

Look out, here comes December, and the festive season is really kicking it into high gear. Two venerable institutions in our town have some fun festive events coming up that you are going to love.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) has been running its Music and Mocktails event on Thursday from 5 to 7 p.m. all fall long, so I hope you have been at least once. It’s simple: come to the OMAH from 5 to 7 for free, view all the exhibits, listen to great live music, and receive a delicious mocktail for free as well. Lots of fun!

OMAH is bringing on the festive vibe with music and mocktails all through December, with hot chocolate and special musical guests. Here’s the schedule: Dec. 1, OSS Trio; Dec. 8 OSS Guitars and Quintet; Dec. 15 Sydney Riley; Dec. 22 SAMMY. Come out on one or more Thursdays and feel the festive vibe.

The other venerable institution, the Orillia Opera House (OOH) has lots of festive cheer up its sleeve as well. December brings a slew of festive and other events to the OOH, and here they are: Dec. 1 The Barra MacNeils present An East Coast Christmas; Dec. 2 Diamonds and Rhinestones: A Tribute to Neil and Dolly; Dec. 3 Robin: The Ultimate Robin Williams Experience; Dec. 10 The Fitzgeralds, a Canadian Christmas; Dec. 17 Cinderella: The Stepsisters Revenge: and Dec. 18 Orillia Silver Band Sleighbells and Brass Christmas Concert.

In addition at the OOH, Duck Soup Productions presents Love Yourself, a musical revue showcasing the talent of Duck Soup Productions, a young people's theatre company. Lots of great music from Broadway here, come support the young people on Dec. 10 and 11.

You can find out more details, timing, and get tickets for all these shows here.

Rotaract Orillia is putting on a festive market at ODAS Park this Sun. Dec. 4 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. This is the first annual Kris Kringle Christmas Show and it features over 40 vendors to make your Christmas shopping easy peasy. Admission is free, and there is a raffle table sponsored by Rotaract as well.

This Sat. Dec. 3., don’t forget about the two Orillia Concert Band concerts, a family-friendly one-hour one at 3:30 p.m., and the longer Christmas Prelude at 7:30 p.m. Both are at St. Paul’s Centre, and you can get tickets at the door or through the Orillia Opera House box office here.

This Sunday at 2:30 p.m., Orillia Brassworks and friends Christina Bosco, Twin Lakes and OSS choirs, and the 4th Street Jazz Project present Christmas Time Is Here, a concert in support of the Salvation Army Christmas Appeal for families in need. Admission is by donation and the show is at the Salvation Army Citadel on Coldwater Road.

Also on Sunday but thankfully at 7 p.m., the Orillia Community Children’s Choir, along with guest instrumentalists and Santa, presents its Christmas Concert at St. Paul’s Centre. Tickets are at the door and proceeds go to support scholarships for members who want to be there but can’t afford the fees. Come and enjoy.

Just down the road, Santa Claus is coming to Coldwater at 5:30 p.m. with a free skate sponsored by the Coldwater Lions Club from 4 to 5 p.m. Come enjoy a lovely late afternoon in Coldwater.

And just up the road, an Early Bird Christmas Market is happening at the Washago Community Centre Sat. Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Washago Lions Hall. There will be a lunch, and 15 vendors showcasing their seasonal wares.

Right in town, a Vintage Holiday Market is this Sat. Dec. 3 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. courtesy of A Vintage Love Story and The Tiny Thrifts, two local sellers who sell on Instagram. There should be lots of cool thrifted items for you to check out. The market is at 250 Coldwater Road West, bring cash and see you there.

Cloud Gallery’s fifth and final show of the fall season is Pairing Palettes with Brigitte Granton and Lori Meeboer. There is an opening reception this Fri. Dec. 2 from 6 to 9 p.m. It is free, but you can RSVP here.

Finally, Mariposa Arts Theatre is holding auditions for its April production of Blythe Spirit on Dec. 1 and Dec. 4. Contact Doug Anderson at to sign up.

Lots of fun things to do and see, as per usual. See you out there!

If you have arts events, email them to by Tuesday at noon to be included.