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'Incredible' Mariposa Folk Festival returns to Orillia this weekend

July is shaping up to be a fun-filled, jam-packed month of activities with something for everyone, says arts and entertainment columnist
Canadian icon Danny Michel will be performing at Roots North Revisited at Fern Resort Sept. 28 in support of the Orillia Youth Centre. Contributed photo

Welcome to July! I hope everyone had a wonderful long weekend and a great Canada Day. The weather certainly couldn’t have been more stellar!

July here in Orillia and area is going to continue to be stellar with so many special events and fun-filled activities, all month long. Starting off with our venerable grande dame of folk festivals, Mariposa Folk Festival. Yes folkie and music fans, Mariposa is this weekend, starting Friday night and wrapping up Sunday night, at Tudhope Park here in O-Town. If you have never been, go. It’s incredible. More information and tickets can be found here.

And yes, it is fun for all ages, a real family-friendly event.

I should mention Mariposa also has a downtown stage, which is free and located in the heart of downtown Orillia. Here, you can hear great Mariposa bands Friday from 2 to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. So come check it out!

While you are downtown Saturday, Hibernation Arts at 7 Peter St. S. is having an artist opening, featuring Lise Rowlandson and her exquisite paintings, from 1 to 3 p.m. Stop by and have a look!

Speaking of paintings, make sure to come check out Melody Lynn Madden’s exhibit, Exquisite to Sublime, at the Orillia Museum of Art and History (OMAH) from July 20 to Sept. 22. You can meet the artist on July 22 from noon to 2 p.m. This exhibit shows Melody’s development from a textile artist into an acrylic landscape artist. Melody’s skies and waters are sublime, so mark this on your calendars.

Speaking of OMAH, another exhibit there, Project Voyager, with works around themes of the Apollo landing and Samuel de Champlain by artists Victoria Ward and Gary Blundell, opens July 6 and runs until Sept. 29. This will definitely be an interesting journey and show, well worth checking out.

Since July and August are all about being outside as much as possible, don’t miss any of the City of Orillia’s Movies in the Park and Music in the Bandstand, this summer.

The first night for both is July 10 and the band feature is local jazzy-bluesy-fusion-y band, Sol City Jazz. The line-up may change, but the band is always exceptional, so don’t miss them at the bandstand in the park, July 10 from 6:30 to 8 p.m. After the band finishes up, head over to the Aquatheatre for the first Movie in the Park, Space Jam, which will begin at dusk. Next night for this event is July 24, with The Tradesmen and Straits, and the movie Spaceballs. These events are free, and the movies are sponsored by the Rotary Club of Orillia.

Speaking of free, St. James' Anglican Church at the corner of Peter Street and Coldwater Road is having free organ recitals, Wednesdays at 12:15. Bring your bag lunch and a cold drink will be provided. July 10, listen to Clement Carelse, and July 17, Ronald Greidanus is on piano.

The Geneva Event Centre on West. Street South in Orillia has several great events on in July, starting with the Eric Gales Band on July 13 at 8 p.m. Eric Gales, also known as Raw Dawg, has been active on the music scene since the early 90’s and has recorded 18 albums for major labels. It is a coup to get him here in O-Town, so grab your $65 ticket today here.

On July 20, the Geneva has Yuk Yuk’s Stand up Comedy starting at 8 p.m. and featuring Rob Ross, Darryl Orr and Jeff Paul. Tickets are $25 available here. They usually sell out, so grab them in advance!

And finally, July 27 at 8 p.m. the Geneva welcomes hometown faves Bleeker, with openers also hometown faves, Doug Trucker and Danny Webster. This is a fundraiser for Strings for Students, to buy guitars for Patrick Fogarty guitar students. Tickets are $10 in advance through Gilbert’s Guitars and Alleycats; grab them in advance as I am sure this will sell out.

I want to give you a heads up that Roots North Revisited, formerly in the fall at Burl’s Creek, has moved to Fern Resort for this year’s iteration…the freezing cold temps in the Burl’s Barn last year might have had something to do with it.

Anyways, this year the event, in support of the Orillia Youth Centre again, is Sept. 28 and features awesome Canadian songster Danny Michel, a big fave with Orillians. The lineup also includes Billy “The Kid” Pettinger and Meredith Moon, so a great night for a great cause. Tickets are only $35 and doors are at 6 p.m. Grab your tickets here.

As always, there is lots of music in the bars this weekend, including a special night at TwoZeroOne Grill and Game Bar on July 6. This night features local country rock band The Steel Horse in support of Wounded Warriors of Canada. There will also be a live DJ and lots of fun prizes and giveaways.

At the Brownstone Café, July 4 Peachykine, people you meet outside of bars, Dummy, and Elston Drayton. July 5, The Oldest Man I Know; July 6 My Father’s Son. At the Hog ‘n’ Penny, July 5, Don James & Jack Nicolle; July 6, Jamie Drake. At Tradewinds, out at the Lake St. John airport, July 13 and 27, Elizabeth Anderson. At the casino, July 5, Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin evening; July 6, Second City’s Cure for the Common Comedy; July 12 and 13, Earth, Wind and Fire.

Have a wonderful Mariposa weekend and send me your arts news, by Tuesdays at noon, to