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COLUMN: Long wait is over. Mariposa Folk Fest is back!

The 'grand dame' of folk festivals will celebrate its 60th anniversary with a star-studded lineup this weekend at Tudhope Park, says columnist
Blue Rodeo is among many of the performers who will take to the various stages of this weekend's Mariposa Folk Festival at Orillia's Tudhope Park.

The long-awaited 60th anniversary of the Mariposa Folk Festival is finally upon us. With a stellar line-up, fantastic artisan and community villages, an amazing setting, and incredible food choices, the grand dame of folk festivals is certainly not showing her age.

Back again post-COVID-19, is the popular downtown stage, with great musicians from the folk festival performing at a pop-up stage downtown, at Peter and Mississaga streets. This is a free event and gives you a great taste of the Mariposa vibe. Concerts are happening Friday from 2 to 5 p.m., and Saturday from 1:40 to 5 p.m.

Highlight performers for me at this year's fest include Mavis Staples, Serena Ryder, The Strumbellas, Blackie and the Rodeo Kings, Harrow Fair, Housewife, Irish Mythen, Jane’s Party, Lance Anderson, Tami Neilson, The Weather Station, and of course, iconic Canadian favourite, Blue Rodeo. This list is less than a quarter of the incredible musicians that will be there, and there will be new favourites discovered this weekend as always. For the full stage schedule, click here.

Come join thousands of happy fans at Tudhope Park on the shores of Lake Couchiching, July 8 in the evening, and July 9 and 10 all day. Limited tickets still available here.

For a beautiful event happening just before the excitement of Mariposa, nip on over to the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) for the closing reception and fundraiser for Dying Matters. This is an exhibit in partnership with Hospice Orillia and is well worth seeing. Patrons also have an opportunity to purchase works of art and raise money for Hospice Orillia. The reception and sale are on from 5 to 7 p.m. this Thursday.

If Mariposa is too many people for you, check out the Wild Woods Artsfest at 6553 Pioneer Village Lane, in the wilds of Ramara. This is an outdoor stroll through art in the woods, near the Head River. Lots of contemporary art, music, woods, and walking…open July 9 and 10, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

OMAH offers guided walking tours of Orillia in July and August. Gangs, Guns, and Grog, Orillia’s Wild West, for adults, is offered Wednesdays from 7 to 8:30 p.m., and Historical Orillia, for families, is offered Fridays from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Sign up through the website here.

OMAH is also offering lots of other programming this summer, including Family Fun Days the third Saturday of each month; Reflections of Canada, a series of five workshops; and of course, summer camps. Check the website for all these great history and art offerings, for all ages,

This Sunday, the Orillia Silver Band plays at the Aquatheatre in Couchiching Beach Park, for the first concert of the Sunday evening band concerts series, put on by the City of Orillia. This summer, there are just four concerts in this series, two in July and two in August. The shows are free, just bring your lawn chair and come on down, 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Bard in the Yard’s Complete Works of William Shakespeare, a collaboration between Mariposa Arts Theatre and the Leacock Museum, concludes Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Leacock Museum. Some tickets still available here.

And, the Norm Foster play, Doris and Ivy in the Home, continues until July 15 at the Orillia Opera House. There are matinee and evening performances, and dinner and show packages as well. For more information and tickets, click here.

Friday July 8 from 6 to 9 p.m. the Chris Robinson-Will Davis jazz duo will be playing at Lot 88 in Orillia. Come enjoy their smooth jazzy sound.

Coming up? The Orillia Scottish Festival is back and better than ever, July 16 in Couchiching Beach Park. There is a Ceilidh at the Legion the night before, and an afternoon Ceilidh at the Legion, the next day at 1:30 p.m., as well. You do need tickets for the Friday night Ceilidh, and you can get them here. Lots more information in next week’s column.

Also coming up? The 60th anniversary of the Muskoka Arts and Crafts Summer Festival, in Annie Williams Park, Bracebridge, July 15-17. This is a big one, and I will have more on it next week.

Have a wonderful week and if you have arts news, send it to by Tuesday at noon to be included.