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COLUMN: Ugly sweaters, a feast, story telling put the 'fun' in fundraiser

There are lots of festive events on the calendar and unique ways to support local charities and local businesses, says arts columnist
SA Terry Fallis Reading 0630
Canadian author Terry Fallis will read hilarious excerpts from his latest book at an upcoming fundraiser for the Orillia Scottish Festival.

Welcome to snowy November! Now that more seasonal weather is here, it's time to look around and see what fun events are happening, to help us wile away the cold snowy days and evenings.

A big traditional event this time of year is the Ugly Sweater Bowling Party! Now in its seventh year, it is back with Christmas bells on, after being cancelled last year due to COVID-19.

Organizer Derick Lehmann of The Big Event is determined to get those lanes sold and raise lots and lots of money for The Sharing Place Food Centre at this critical time of year. To date, this event has raised over $15,000 for The Sharing Place.

Lehmann shared that there are only six lanes left as of the weekend, and confided, “I always love to announce 'sold out' as soon as possible.”

The Seventh Annual Ugly Sweater Bowling Party is on Dec. 17 from 6 to 11 p.m., at Orillia Bowl. The event is licensed, and is a fun, family-friendly evening of raising money for a good cause…and dressing up! There will be lots of music, door prizes, and food and drinks available.

Let’s give Lehmann his Christmas wish, put on our ugly Christmas sweaters, and buy those lanes up! For tickets, click here. For those 12 years and up, proof of vaccination is a must.

The Orillia Scottish Festival is hosting a St. Andrew’s Day Feast and a Story, Nov. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at Creative Nomad Studios.

Special guest, author Terry Fallis, will tell hilarious stories from his latest book, Operation Angus, and the three-course meal by Krew Catering looks fantastic and Scottish-themed (think steak pie, sausage roll and whiskey…with vegan options of course!)

The whole evening is only $50 per person and all proceeds go to the Orillia Scottish Festival, which hopefully will be allowed to carry on this coming summer, COVID-19 willing. For tickets to this very fun event, click here. You must bring proof of vaccination to attend.

Thursday Nov. 25, get on over to Hibernation Arts (on Peter Street) for a fantastic, intimate evening of music with SAMMY (Sam Johnston). SAMMY’s music is a mix of blues, rock and old school country and you will love her.

SAMMY has been nominated for Emerging Artist in the Orillia Arts and Heritage awards and the winner will be announced tonight, so, you might be seeing an Emerging Artist Award recipient!

Either way, SAMMY is a real talent and well worth the price of admission, which is $20 and goes to the artist. Show starts at 7 p.m. and you can pay at the door. Proof of vaccine a must.

The Cineplex Theatres are open again, of course, but the real news is the Live from the Metropolitan Opera series is back! These incredible shows are literally Live from the Met, and there is some great programming coming up now and in the new year.

December 4, patrons can enjoy the opera Eurydice, with Met conductor Yannick Nezet-Seguin (who is Canadian). Here is the blurb from the website:

“The ancient Greek myth of Orpheus, who attempts to harness the power of music to rescue his beloved Eurydice from the underworld, has inspired composers since opera’s earliest days. Rising American composer Matthew Aucoin now carries that tradition into the 21st century with a captivating new take on the story. With a libretto by MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipient Sarah Ruhl, adapted from her acclaimed 2003 play, the opera reimagines the familiar tale from Eurydice’s point of view.

“Met Music Director Yannick Nézet-Séguin takes the podium, leading Aucoin’s evocative music and an immersive new staging by Mary Zimmerman. Soprano Erin Morley sings the title role, opposite baritone Joshua Hopkins as Orpheus and countertenor Jakub Józef Orliński as his otherworldly alter ego.”

As an opera fan, take it from me, this will be amazing! The show is at the Barrie Cineplex Dec. 4 with an encore Jan. 15.

Some of the operas do show at the Orillia theatre, so check them all out hereand grab your tickets today so you don’t miss out!

Now, on to Christmas shopping! Local artist Craig Mainprize is having a Holiday Soiree at the Lone Wolf Café downtown. Come check out and see and buy Craig’s latest works. The date is Dec. 2 from 7 p.m. to midnight, so do drop in!

The Lighthouse is having a Christmas Pop Up Shop every Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. from now until Dec. 23 at The Lighthouse, in the Wagner meeting room. Lots of Lighthouse merch plus items from OC emporium, handmade items, chocolates and so much more. Come shop and support a great cause too!

Lots of local holiday markets this weekend, check out my column last week for details!

Speaking of shopping, there are so many opportunities to shop local this year and every year. Many downtown businesses and galleries are staying open Friday nights until 7 p.m. this year from now until Christmas. These mom-and pop-shops are where you can get unique items for friends and family. Local galleries are where you can find art items and trinkets for your special someones. Shop local today.

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