Skip to content

COLUMN: Looking to be entertained? Awed? Look no further!

As summer begins, there are so many things to do, events to attend and lots of entertainment both indoors and outdoors, says columnist
2021-09-29 Roots North Revisited 5
Roger Harvey performs ODAS Park in 2021. He is back in the area next week to perform in support of the Orillia Youth Centre’s Jake Beers and Nelson Bell bursaries.

Welcome to summer! Such a great time to be living in this area, with so many things to do, events to attend, entertainment indoors and outdoors. We are very lucky to be here.

The pandemic-delayed Ashley MacIsaac concert last Saturday at St. Paul’s Centre was fantastic, with MacIsaac at the top of his fiddle-playing/audience chatting game. Just a great night of music and stories, well worth the price of admission. Get a ticket the next time he is in town!

This Saturday is Christmas in June down at the Port of Orillia, and I am sure the Orillia Chamber, the Port of Orillia, and all the boaters are so thrilled to finally have the full event back. There will be prizes for decorated boats, music, a beer tent, and a vendor market, too. Lots of fun for everyone.

Also this Saturday, the Rotary train at Couchiching Beach Park celebrates 40 years of thrilling kids and parents. Starting at noon Saturday, there will be free rides, hotdogs, and live music.

The train will run Thursday through Sunday from June 25 through to the Labour Day weekend this year, after being on hiatus during the pandemic. For the rest of the summer, rides are $5 per person, and heads up, they have refreshed the tunnel for this summer, so keep your eyes open for that. Happy anniversary to the Rotary train.

This coming weekend, there is a rodeo at ODAS Park. Presented by RAM Rodeo tours, the gates and beer garden open at noon Saturday with a free kids rodeo at 2 p.m. and the Ram Rodeo at 4 p.m. Sunday, gates open at 11 a.m. with the kids rodeo at 11:30 and the RAM Rodeo starting at 1 p.m. Tickets in advance are $25 for adults, $30 at the gate.

This will be a pretty wild sight to see, I am guessing…think Calgary Stampede, on a smaller scale. If you’ve always wondered about all those tricks those cowboys have up their sleeves, you had better come along and check this out. For more information and advance tickets, click here.

A little further afield, in Barrie, the Troubadour Festival is happening Friday and Saturday nights at the beautiful Meridian Place Amphitheatre in downtown Barrie. Friday night’s show starts at 6 p.m. and features Sunshine Makers, The Shitty Beatles and Dwayne Gretzky. Saturday begins at 5 p.m. with Pony, Lydia Persaud (who was at Roots North here), Dylan Sinclair, and then Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy as the grand finale.

Looks like the weather is going to be good for this wonderful open-air concert, so get your tickets at, today.

Don’t forget the Orillia Concert Band show at the Aquatheatre in the Park, this Sunday June 26 at 6:30 p.m. Admission is free, so bring your lawn chair and come on out.

Also don’t forget the Coldwater Studio Tour, this weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Click here for all the details and studio locations.

Mariposa Arts Theatre’s The Bard in the Yard, the complete works of William Shakespeare, is running June 29 and 30, and July 1, 2, 3, and July 5, 6, 7, outdoors at the Leacock Museum. If you enjoyed Mariposa Arts Theatre’s production of Twelfth Night last summer, you will love this one, I guarantee
it. It will be well done, hilarious and very entertaining. Tickets are $30 and you can get them at

The Chris Robinson-Will Davis jazz duo is playing at Lot 88 on Friday June 24 from 6 to 9 p.m. and at Couchiching Craft Brewery on Sunday June 26 from 1 to 4 p.m. Come check them out!

The Orillia Opera House (OOH) has the honour of premiering a brand-new Norm Foster play, Doris and Ivy in the Home, starting June 28. This is thanks to the OOH artistic director Jesse Collins’ over 40-year friendship with Foster. This play is the female version of one of Foster’s most popular plays, Jonas and
Barry in the Home
, and will be eminently relatable…and hysterical…to those of us with aging parents.

The show stars the ever-popular Debbie Collins, as well as Orillia-but-not-theatre newcomers, Daniel Karpenchuk and Terri Cherniack. It will run until July 15, as the opener for the OOH Summer Theatre series.

The rest of the series features Driving Miss Daisy from July 20 to Aug. 12 and Come Down From Up River (another Foster classic) from Aug. 17 to Sept. 2. For tickets, go to

The Sustainable Orillia art contest deadline is June 30, so get your pictures of your pieces in now, to If your piece does not lend itself to a picture, you can drop off at Hibernation Arts; contact Sustainable Orillia for more details. There are great prizes for the top pieces, and those will be shown during Sustainable Orillia month in September.

The Roger Harvey Tour in support of the Orillia Youth Centre’s Jake Beers and Nelson Bell bursaries, is June 30, July 1 and July 2, various locations, with various special guests. For more information and tickets, click here.

Next weekend is Canada Day weekend! Lots of events for this special day, check back next week for all the details.

July 8-10 is the long-delayed Mariposa Folk Festival 60th anniversary. Get your tickets now as this will likely sell out. Mariposa has a great lineup, incredible location and hopefully perfect weather. This will be one for the books.

If you have arts news, send it to by Tuesday at noon to be included.