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Mask up and head out! There's lots happening as fall approaches

As the seasons change, one thing remains constant, says columnist: there is always something to do and see in Orillia
Beth McKean with daughters Ani and Wynnie credit Beth McKean
Beth McKean, owner of Hip Chick Design, is shown with daughters Ani and Wynnie. McKean is having a September Sale on Saturday. Contributed photo

Mid-September already, and the fall is looking more uncertain than ever. Our first three cases of COVID-19 since July 30 were announced yesterday, including a local school teacher.

We must be vigilant about keeping our six-foot distance, wearing our masks, and washing our hands. We can look after each other if we stay safe in this manner. And we can even have fun, too.

We are coming to the end of the See You on the Patio initiative in downtown Orillia. This program was extended on Friday nights only to Sept. 25, after a successful summer run. It proved a lifesaver to local restaurants and the local arts scene hopped on board, hosting five successful Art Walks in conjunction with this event.

Don’t despair though, your Arts District is still open with fun events, studio openings, and artisanal products for you. Hibernation Arts has a COVID-safe opening for artist Jair Garay, on Saturday from 1 to 3 p.m. Jair and his friends will also be entertaining guests with music, so put on your best mask and come check out the newish space (Hibernation Arts moved in early July to 17 Peter St. S., a larger space).

Of course, the other galleries in our Peter Street Arts District are also open on Saturday and most days, including Peter Street Fine Arts at 23 Peter St. S. This month’s featured artist at PSFA is Wendy Fex, whose work is traditional rug hooking on burlap, displayed as art on the wall. These bold, bright pieces are just the thing to brighten us up these days, so come check them out from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Saturday night at 7:30 p.m., the Orillia Opera House presents Aaron Davis in Concert, billed as a virtual concert and adventure series. Audience members will be limited to 50 only, seated in pandemic bubbles, and masks are mandatory. Tickets are only $40 and you can pick them up through the Opera House box office, here.

Hip Chick Design is having a September Sale this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 32 Penetang St. Beth McKean, owner of Hip Chick, usually spends her summers selling her upcycled clothing at music festivals throughout the area, but not this year.

She has creatively used her large backyard during this COVID-19 summer for several night markets. For this sale, Hip Chick is joined by Baggy Pants Muskoka, Moth Jewellery, Erin’s Yarn Shop, Art by Ani, Eclectic Café, and a local woodturner.

Don’t forget about the Roots North Revisited fundraising concert, present by the Orillia Youth Centre. Sat. Sept. 26 at the Sunset Drive In on Line 4 in Barrie, and featuring Hawksley Workman, Terra Lightfoot and The North River, this live concert will be safely seen from the comfort of audience members’ cars, and will be on the big screen too.

This will be an exciting glimpse into a COVID-19 safe way to do live music, and I for one am glad to be there. Every penny will go to programming for the Orillia Youth Centre, and you know that’s where many Orillians hearts are…for tickets, go here.

In closing, I just want to mention the recent master plan for the Stephen Leacock Museum. I was really happy to read the highlights and council’s support for it, in the OrilliaMatters article Tuesday.

We have a real gem in that gorgeous and historic property and house, and I was glad that the consultants could see that, and the opportunities that are there. It does need more staffing, and more money, which I know is always a sticking point.

But I do think there are endless opportunities if we do the work. My husband was the project manager on the building of Swanmore Hall, and we were married in the rose garden there. It’s a special place and it’s important we don’t mess it up. Good job council, now let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!

Enjoy this hopefully long and warmish fall and please send your arts news to by Tuesdays at noon, to be included.