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COLUMN: Local arts, entertainment scene heating up

Concerts, contests, studio tours and more among upcoming offerings, columnist explains
Zachary Lucky will perform June 22 in Orillia before heading off on a European tour.

And the hits — and the events — just keep on coming.

Fully embracing the arrival of summer, the Orillia Arts District is hosting a Summer Solstice Art Hop this Saturday, June 18 from 12 to 3 p.m. All the art galleries in town will be participating, and you can hop from one to the other with the aid of the handy QR code found on the arts district posters at each location. If you purchase some art — and you really should — you can be entered in a draw to win a goodie bag of arty things. So, get hopping.

If you are an artist, the deadline to enter the Sustainable Orillia art contest — What Will Orillia Look Like in 2050? — is June 30, and it’s coming up fast. Get your entry in by taking a photo of your piece and emailing it to [email protected], along with your name, address, phone number and email address, and a short description of both the idea in your work and the materials used. You can also email to have your piece picked up, if a picture isn’t feasible.

There are $500, $300 and $200 prizes, and entries will be displayed during Sustainable Orillia Month in September. There will be entries in public school and high school categories as well. For more information, go to Thank you for supporting.

The Coldwater and Area Studio Tour is back, June 25 and 26 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. This is a wonderful opportunity to take a day trip out in the country and visit some artists’ studios, meet the artists, and, of course, pick up some art. It is the tour’s 20th anniversary this year, and there are 19 artists participating. For all the details and map, click here.

It’s National Indigenous Peoples Day June 21 and there are a couple of local events, open to the public, to celebrate. This Saturday, June 18, Lakehead University Orillia is hosting a tipi-raising gathering, with some other events as well. Starting with a sunrise ceremony with elder Trish Monague at 5 a.m., the day will continue with crafting, wampum teaching, drum teaching, as well as tipi teachings and raising with elder Jimmy Dick. All are welcome; just bring a lawn chair, Light refreshments will be served. This special event goes until noon.

There will be a sunrise ceremony at Couchiching Beach Park at 5 a.m. June 21, and at 6:30 p.m. June 21, St. Paul’s Centre will be burying the orange ties, which are symbols of the missing and murdered children from the residential schools, as well as raising the First Nations flag. Cynthia Wesley-Esquimaux will be there to say a few words.

June 21, Rama First Nation has a full day of events planned, starting with a sunrise ceremony at 5:30 a.m., and continuing with breakfast, a parade, music, lunch, bingo for seniors, canoe races, a hand drum circle and so much more, finishing up with fireworks at dusk. Everything is open to the public, with the multi-purpose grounds and community hall being the centre of the action. This will be a wonderful day of celebration and learning about our First Nation neighbours. Do come out and enjoy and celebrate their day. For more information, email [email protected].

Couchiching Craft Brewing Co. is having a Vinyl Night June 16 at 7 p.m. It’s a bring-your-own-vinyl jam with DJ Wilverine on the second floor of the brewery. There will be prizes, and reservations are not required, so come on out.

Zachary Lucky is off on a European tour soon, and he is giving you a chance to send him off in style, with a show at Picnic on June 22 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 and you can get them here. Grab a ticket and come say bon voyage to this excellent musician.

Speaking of European tours, Jerry Leger has just returned from a five-week tour of the continent with his band, The Situation, and is making his way up to Bracebridge Hall June 23 at 7 p.m. with his bass player, Dan Mock. Come enjoy tunes from Jerry’s latest critically acclaimed album, Nothing Pressing, and welcome him back from Europe. Tickets are $25 and you can get them here.

The Orillia Concert Band is having a concert in the park, at the Rotary Aqua Theatre in Couchiching Beach Park, Sunday, June 26 at 6:30 p.m. The concert is free. Bring your lawn chair and enjoy a whole bunch of the band’s classics in the hopefully warm, clement evening air. There are then a couple of weeks off before the City of Orillia’s Sunday Evening Band Concert series starts July 10.

Don’t forget to grab your tickets to the Roger Harvey tour in support of the Orillia Youth Centre. There are two shows, June 30 and July 1, one at Eclectic Café, which includes dinner and features SAMMY as well, and the other at Farmfest in Sebright, with Kayla Elizabeth and ALEX the Band. For tickets, click here.

Anne of Green Gables: the Ballet is coming to the Orillia Opera House June 25 at 7 p.m. Presented by Ballet Jorgen, this Canadian classic now in ballet form will thrill everyone in the audience with beautiful music and dance. Get your tickets today, here.

A little farther afield, the Simcoe County Theatre Festival is running from June 15 to 26 at the Five Points Theatre in Barrie. If you love theatre, you will love this. Get your tickets here. It is produced by Theatre by the Bay.

Coming up? Bard in the Yard, by Mariposa Arts Theatre, at Leacock the Museum; a rodeo at ODAS Park, June 25 and 26; and Canada Day celebrations. More on these next week.

Have a great week, and if you have arts news, send it to [email protected] by Tuesday at noon to be included.