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COLUMN: Local businesses ready to help celebrate Valentine's Day

If you're looking for something to do this weekend and beyond, there are many options, says arts and entertainment columnist
arts district heart credit streets alive
There are hearts throughout the downtown and the Arts District sign is lit up with a big red heart to mark Valentine's Day in Orillia, thanks to the efforts of Streets Alive.

Of course, the big news this week is Valentine’s Day! The big day itself is on Monday, so I am sure lots will be celebrating on the weekend. And, unlike last year, restaurants are open, so you can actually have your special meal somewhere other than your own home. Yay!

Most local restaurants are doing some kind of a special Valentine’s meal, and some are still offering takeout if you are more comfortable with that. And yes, most of them are offering it on the weekend.

Couchiching Brew Pub is offering an innovative experience on Friday, Feb. 11 from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. Suds and Sweets is a dessert and beer pairing event, and yes, you can even attend virtually if you would like.

Three beers will be paired with three delicious-sounding desserts (chocolate ganache cheesecake with raspberry, anyone?) and participants will get to taste and learn about all of it. Cost is $40 and you can sign up here. You must bring proof of vaccination to attend.

Streets Alive Productions has gussied up the downtown with Valentine’s hearts, and the big Arts District sign is all lit up with a special big red heart. Check it all out this weekend, and go at dusk so you can see the light! Display is up all through the month of February.

Hibernation Arts is having an actual art opening this month. Artist David Crighton is the guest artist at Hibernation Arts throughout the month of February, and the opening for his show is this Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. His pieces are colourful and influenced by his career working as an illustrator before retiring to Orillia. Come check it out as a Valentine’s Day date, at 17 Peter St. S. in the arts district.

Maybe you aren’t ready for Valentine’s Day yet, and would prefer to celebrate it next weekend, Family Day weekend? That can be arranged! The Braestone Winter Classic is on next Friday and Saturday at Braestone Farm.

This is a charity pond hockey tournament, and the recipient of the funds is the Cancer Centre at Royal Victoria Hospital. There will be hockey, of course, but also music, entertainment and food! Tickets are limited, so grab yours, $25 for one day, or $40 for both days, here. You must provide proof of vaccination to attend.

A fascinating event that is being held nightly, next Thursday Feb. 17 to Sunday Feb. 20, is a workshopped production of a play in progress, (actually a musical), The Lost Heroes of Oro. This is at Five Points Theatre in Barrie, and is a new musical presentation which is drawn from the story of Black Canadian hero, Richard Pierpoint, and the establishment of the Oro African Church.

Audience members will have a chance to provide feedback to help develop the show into a fully fledged presentation by Theatre by the Bay, at a future date. For tickets, click here.

Also next Sunday, Feb. 20, is the 7th Annual Snowga Event by Sunrise Yoga Studio, benefiting The Sharing Place. Come do yoga in the snow at the Stephen Leacock Museum and your cash donation will be given to The Sharing Place. Show up at the museum by 1 p.m. dressed to play in the snow; no mat required. Enjoy!

A quick note, the Orillia Concert Association show, Sonic Escape, on Feb. 20 at 2:30 p.m. has been moved to the Orillia Opera House to fit in more in-person people. If you are a subscriber, your ticket is good for the show at the Orillia Opera House, so enjoy the show there! Proof of vaccination is required.

Looking ahead, the Orillia Opera House has some great shows coming up in March, including Chantal Kreviazuk. Creative Nomad Studios has lots of great workshops coming up, starting Feb. 26 with Kids in the Kitchen, then continuing with Basic Freezer Meals, family haircuts, and lots more. Go to to learn more and register.

The Orillia Museum of Art and History is offering a March break camp, and I will have more on that soon.

Cheer up, we are almost halfway through February and things are opening up. Soon, there will even be community group concerts to look forward to. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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