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COLUMN: Tis the season for Christmas markets, concerts, fun

Our arts and entertainment columnist has everything you need to know about upcoming festive events in and around Orillia

Hello and welcome to the countdown to Christmas! It’s a helter skelter race to Dec. 25 with Christmas sales, workshops, markets, concerts, and fun right up until the big day itself.

Venues, vendors, artisans, retailers, community groups, musicians and more are all trying to make up for the non-event that Christmas 2020 was, and are vying for your attention, your dollars, and your attendance this year. Strap on your seatbelts, put on your mask and get ready, ladies and gents! This Christmas season is one for the books.

A friend put together a local Christmas market list for friends and family recently, and there are 32 items on that list! Granted, some are two-day events but still. Here are the Christmas markets for the next little while:

  • Nov. 19 from 4 to 8 p.m.: Christmas Market at Trillium Manor. Preserves, baked goods, crafts and Christmas cheer at 12 Grace Ave., Orillia.
  • Nov. 20 and 27 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.: ODAS Park Farmers' Market Christmas Market. Lots of Christmas crafts and eats from the vendors at this quality local farmers market.
  • Nov. 27 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Christmas market at Ayers Tree Farm, 3065 Line 10 N., Hawkestone. Artisans, vendors, wagon rides, and you can pick up your Christmas tree too!
  • Nov. 27 from 12 noon to 3 p.m.: Christmas market at St. James Anglican Church, 58 Peter St. N., Orillia. Baked goods and crafts.
  • Nov. 27 and 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Holiday Artisan Market at Creative Nomad Studios, 23 Mississaga St. W., Orillia. Twenty-six local artisans and makers and bakers, including Northern Joinery, Hip Chick Design, Woodlot Arts and Co., Little Tigers, and so much more.
  • Nov. 27 and 28, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Christmas Market at Quayle’s Brewery, 4567 Line 12 N., Coldwater. Lots of local artisans and makers.
  • Nov. 27 and 28, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Holiday Market at Valley Croft, 754 Horseshoe Valley Rd. W., Coldwater. Lots of unique local artisans, bakers, and makers.

What a list! And those are just the Christmas markets! Christmas concert-wise, we have:

  • Dec. 4 at 3:30 p.m.: short, family-friendly Christmas concert by the Orillia Concert Band at St. Paul’s Centre, 62 Peter St. N., Orillia. Tickets www.orilliaoperahouse.ca or at the door, adults must bring proof of vaccination.
  • Dec. 4 at 7:30 p.m.: Christmas Prelude, the traditional start to the Christmas season with the Orillia Concert Band, at St. Paul’s Centre. Tickets at www.orilliaoperahouse.ca or at the door. Must bring proof of vaccination to attend.
  • Dec. 10 at 7:30 p.m.: The Cellar Singers’ Performance of the Messiah is back! At St. James' Anglican Church, Orillia. Tickets here or at the door, must bring proof of vaccine.
  • Dec. 11 at 7 p.m.: The Lighthouse Holiday Wish List concert with New Moon Junction and the Steelhorse Gypsies, at St. Paul’s Centre, Orillia. Admission with at least $20 donation to The Lighthouse or wish list items, see www.orillialighthouse.ca for more information. Vaccination proof a must.
  • Dec. 12 at 2 p.m.: Brass and Voices Christmas Concert with the Orillia Silver Band and Jazzamatazz, at the Orillia Opera House, tickets www.orilliaoperahouse.ca. Vaccine proof for sure.

If you are looking for a fun, COVID-friendly Christmas event, check out Hewitt’s Festival of Lights at Hewitt’s Fun Farm, 3331 Town Line, Coldwater. Over 40 drive-through displays including the light tunnel, fun for the whole family. Grab your tickets now here. Don’t delay, this will likely sell out!

Not to be outdone, the Oro-Medonte Chamber of Commerce is also putting on a light show, called Mystical Lights, a drive-through light display at the Oro Fairgrounds on Line 7 South, from Dec. 3 to Jan. 2. Come check it out!

That should be enough to fill up your Christmas calendar for now!

Christmas shopping-wise, don’t forget about your local artists and artisans in downtown Orillia. Peter Street Fine Arts is having their annual holiday 6x6 show starting Dec. 1, and these small paintings are great stocking stuffers. Artists, pick up your 6x6 board from PSFA today to get them done by Dec. 1!

Hibernation Arts is opening an Underground Gallery, the perfect place to grab a unique work of art for you or a loved one. Opening is this Saturday, noon to 3 p.m.

In other, non-Christmas news:

Hibernation Arts is hosting a Book Talk this Sunday from 1 to 3 p.m. Veersen Bhoolai spent three years in Kandahar, Afghanistan as a journalist and recently wrote a book about it. Come and hear him speak, $10 includes light refreshments.

The Old Dance Hall Players are having a night of Improv, titled A Shot in the Arm, this Friday at 7:30 p.m. at the Orillia Opera House. How do we get through this? With lots of laughter! So come out and laugh with this incredible troupe of improv artists. Tickets at www.orilliaoperahouse.ca.

The Orillia Scottish Festival is having a St. Andrew’s Day Feast and Story, November 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Creative Nomad Studios. This event features hilarious guest speaker and author, Terry Fallis, and food by Krew Catering Co. For tickets and more information, go here.

Mariposa Arts Theatre is having auditions for its February 2022 production of Steel Magnolias, Nov. 21 and 22, via Zoom. Go here for more information or to sign up.

Last but certainly not least, don’t forget to come fete our creatives and heritage folks at the Orillia District Arts and Heritage Awards Gala, Nov. 24 at 7 p.m. at St. Paul’s Centre. There is a red carpet event complete with paparazzi starting at 6 p.m., and the ceremony will start at 7 p.m. This has been a tough year, let’s come show these nominees and recipients some love! The event will also be live-streamed, starting at 7 p.m., here.

Have a great week!

If you have arts news, send to annaproctor111@gmail.com.