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COLUMN: Pride Month in Orillia to feature 'amazing' events

Lake Country Pride, Mariposa Arts Theatre and other partners have many events planned in June for Pride Month, says columnist

Shockingly, it’s almost June. Where did May go? It’s been amazing, but far too short and quick ... let’s hope we can stretch June out a bit longer!

June is Pride Month! And thanks to Lake Country Pride and Mariposa Arts Theatre, as well as a host of other partners, Pride Month is really starting to look like something around here. 

Here is the rundown of all the fun that makes up Pride Month in Orillia this June:

All of June – Couchiching Craft Brewery – Drink Special ‘Love Potion Cocktail’ with proceeds going to Lake Country Pride

All of June – Leacock Museum - Decoding Anne Lister: History's First Modern Lesbian. More information here.

All of June (While supplies last) – Orillia Public Library Pride Craft Make and Take. More information here.

June 1 – Orillia Public Library - Rainbow Connection Teen Loot Bags. Available while supplies last! Ask for one to sign out at the Checkout Desk starting on Saturday, June 1 at 9:00 a.m.

June 15 at 1 p.m. – Couchiching Conservancy & Lake Country Pride – Pride in Nature. More information here.

June 17 from 5-8 p.m. - Lake Country Pride – Pride Jeopardy. Hosted at the Orillia Public Library. Ages 12 and up. Registration link coming soon.

June 18 – Heartworks Children’s Studio – Pride Craft Night, 4:30 - 6:30 p.m. for families, 7 - 9 p.m. for 18+

June 21 and 22 at 7:30 p.m. – Mariposa Arts Theatre – Queer Cabaret. Click here for tickets.

June 22 at 9:30 am – Sarah Melody – Pride Yoga. Hosted at The Holding Space. $15 in advance, $20 cash at the door. Proceeds to Lake Country Pride. Click here for tickets.

June 22 from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. – Lake Country Pride – Drop-in march sign making. Hosted at the Orillia Public Library, second floor. Materials available, while supplies last.

June 22 at 1 p.m. – Lake Country Pride – Pride March. Begin gathering at the Orillia Public Library courtyard at noon. Three speakers begin at 1 p.m., and then the March will begin. Starting at the front of the library, down Mississaga Street, along Centennial Drive and finishing at the large pavilion at Couchiching Beach Park.

June 22 at 2 p.m. – Lake Country Pride – Post-march gathering and barbecue at the large pavilion at Couchiching Beach Park. You are welcome to bring chairs, blankets, games, etc.

June 23 from noon to 2 p.m. – Couchiching Craft Brewing Co and Three Bird Salon – Drag Brunch, $5 cover (donated to Lake Country Pride)

June 25 at 7 p.m. - Couchiching Craft Brewing Co – Pride Trivia. Free admission.

It’s going to be an amazing month of incredible events. One note, grab your tickets to the Queer Cabaret ASAP, it did sell out last year! Another note, if you want to go to the Drag Brunch, make a reservation NOW, it will sell out too. 

Big kudos and congrats to Lake Country Pride for reaching out, making those connections and partnerships and making Pride Month something to really be noticed and celebrated around here.

This weekend, don’t forget about Gathering Festival of First Nations Stories, Friday night and Saturday all day. Friday night, there is a welcome circle at 7 p.m. and then a great show/dance with DJ Boogey the Beat at Rama Community Hall.

Saturday, come out to Victoria Park in Rama for the sunrise ceremony at 5:20 a.m., then the day unfolds at Rama Community Hall starting with breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and continuing with amazing speakers and storytelling all day long. 

Everything is absolutely free, Arts Orillia just asks that you RSVP to be assured a seat, at Lots more information available at that website, as well. 

This weekend, St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Orillia is hosting a fascinating and beautiful art exhibit. Artist John R. Newton has been ‘painting through the Bible’ to showcase and initiate conversation about the commonalities of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Friday night from 7 to 9 p.m., members of the public can take the show in, along with some dessert and tea or coffee, for $15 a person. 

Saturday all day, the show is available to be viewed and admission is just $5 per person. Saturday night, there is a gala dinner and showing, and John will be painting a work during the dinner and available for questions and conversation. Tickets for this are just $60 and can be purchased at the church office asap. 

This will be a really interesting event, one to check out!

On Sunday, June 2 at 3 p.m., Kathy Kemerer will be presenting a one-hour organ concert at St. James’ Anglican Church. Kathy is the music director and organist at St Peter’s Anglican Church in Butler, Pennsylvania. She holds a Bachelor of Music degree in organ performance and has performed many solo shows. 

This one was prepped for the 200th anniversary of her home church. This year is also the 75th anniversary of the installation of the Casavant organ at St. James’ here in Orillia. The program is a variety of pieces for the organ starting with Buxtehude, includes a piece by Haydn for flute clock and ends with Vierne. 

Admission is by donation at the door. The concert is sponsored by the Simcoe Muskoka Chapter of the Royal Canadian College of Organists.

Next Wednesday June 5 the Orillia Museum of Art and History has its AGM at 6:30 p.m., but before that there is a variety of really interesting events that are open to the public. Here they are:

From 12 to 2 p.m., as part of the Midday-Make series, join local beadworker Vicki Pavis to make a beaded pendant and/or keychain. From Rama First Nation, Vicki is an accomplished artisan and is passionate about sharing her knowledge about the process of beadworking. Participants will leave with wearable art!  All materials, a light snack and refreshments are included, but participants are welcome to bring their own lunch. Get your ticket here.

At 4 p.m., there will be a special reception for the shows Reflections of our Roots and Backra Bluid. Discover Orillia from 3,000 BCE to 2024 and the notable Orillians that made the town what it is, in Reflections of our Roots, with remarks by Hannah Arndt, Curator and History Programmer, at 4:30 p.m.

Stacey Tyrell’s Backra Bluid work deals with themes of identity, race and heritage as it relates to preconceived notions of Euro-centric beauty and heritage within postcolonial societies. The title of the series, Backra Bluid, draws from words of both West Indian and Scottish origins. “Backra” is an archaic Caribbean slang of West African origin meaning white master or white person and “Bluid” is the Scottish word for the blood of men or animals as well as kin.

At 5 p.m. enjoy a moderated talk on expressions of identity featuring Stacey Tyrell in conversation with Orillia Secondary School student, Triti Shah, moderated by Allie Bradford, Culture Coordinator for the City of Orillia.

All events at the Orillia Museum of Art and History, 30 Peter St. S. 

Live at the Loft at Quayle’s Brewery this week features Dave Beal Thursday, Kat Chabot Friday, Bella Francis Saturday, and Patrick Hunter Sunday afternoon. 

Couchiching Craft Brewery presents the Half-o-Ween Drag show this Friday, and Dav Dickenson Saturday. For more information and reservations, go here.

And, save the date! Tuesday June 11, come out to see and hear the Sing It! Choir sing their hearts out and fundraise for Shades of Hope Wildlife Refuge, who takes in and rehabs native Ontario species that get themselves in trouble around here. The show is at St. Paul’s Centre and starts at 7 p.m. Admission is $20 for adults, $10 youth 12 to 18, and kids under that are free. Come support two great organizations!

As you can see, May is ending with a bang and June is starting with a bang. So, get out there, support and enjoy. If you have arts news, send it to [email protected] by Tuesday at noon to be included. 

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