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This weekend is a perfect time to Hop into the Arts District

Columnist urges people to support locally-owned and operated, independent stores and restaurants 'hanging on by the skin of their teet'
arts district sign with christmas decorations
The sign welcoming people to the Arts District has been augmented by some Christmas decorations. Contributed Photo

Well folks we are moving into December and the holiday season and Christmas events are coming up fast here in O-town! Lots of opportunities to support local artisans, creatives, and businesses in your Christmas shopping and events.

First off, Mariposa Arts Theatre’s production of The Christmas Tree is still playing at the Orillia Opera House, Thursday to Sunday until Dec. 6. There are both matinee and evening shows, and audience members are limited to 50 and seated socially distanced in the large Gordon Lightfoot auditorium.

This is a lighthearted yet poignant Norm Foster show that will be sure to put you in the holiday mood. Members of the Orillia Silver Band will also be playing holiday music for your enjoyment. For tickets, click here.

The Orillia Arts District is hosting a Holiday Art Hop this Friday night from 5 to 8 p.m. and this Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. All the galleries along Peter St. S. will be open with special guest artists and beautiful one-of-a kind art and gifts for you to buy.

Hibernation Arts has a special arts draw going on for this event. Anyone who spends $50 on art there is entered into a draw for a special arts goodie bag…so get in and get spending! Many of the galleries have great ideas for gift giving, including soaps, coasters, cards, mini works of art, purses, pillows and more. Come and see what Orillia’s arts district has in store for you this Friday and Saturday.

This Saturday and every Saturday until Christmas, both the Orillia Farmers’ Market and the Orillia Fairgrounds Farmers’ Market have special Christmas markets happening.

Full of Christmas tasty treats and cheer and excellent locally-made Christmas presents to be bought and enjoyed. The Orillia Farmers' Market downtown also has two special Christmas markets on Wed. Dec. 16 and 23 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. for your last-minute Christmas shopping.

Of course, this Friday is Black Friday and many stores downtown and about town have Black Friday sales and events happening. As well, many stores in downtown Orillia are open until 7 p.m. Friday nights, until Christmas, to help you with your Christmas shopping. And parking is free in the downtown lots!

Please please support our locally-owned and operated, independent stores and restaurants here in town, on Black Friday, this holiday season, and throughout the year.

They are hanging on by the skin of their teeth, and we all want them to still be here at the end of this terrible pandemic. Winter season, after Christmas, is a hard time for them every year, so let’s make sure they all have good Christmas sales to tide them through. Please help if you can.

Hip Chick Design is having a Pop Up Shop from Dec. 1 to 13 at Creative Nomad Studios. Beth McKean will be having lots of her talented maker friends join her in this one-stop-shop for Christmas, open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday to Saturday.

Rustica Pizza Vino is having an outdoor Christmas market, featuring some of your favourite independent makers and creatives, Friday, Dec. 4 and 11, from 4:30 to 9 p.m. Shop safely outside in a beautiful setting and enjoy some mulled wine and dessert pizza too.

Does creating put you in the holiday spirit? Then there are some upcoming workshops that you will enjoy! Craig Mainprize is hosting a landscape painting workshop on Nov. 27 at 7 p.m. at Creative Nomad Studios. You will be safely seated with your household bubble, or socially distanced, so come check out this awesome workshop and learn from this accomplished landscape painter. For tickets click here.

Creative Nomad Studios is also the home of a wreath making workshop on Nov. 28 at 2 p.m. with Elegance of Nature Floral Design. This is your chance to tap into your creative side and come home with a beautiful decoration for your front door. This will put you in the holiday spirit for sure. For tickets, click here.

And, on Dec. 1 at 7 p.m., also at Creative Nomad Studios, come enjoy a Paint Night with local artist Dale Duncan. The painting is entitled A Frosty Eve, and the workshop is designed for painters and non-painters alike, so come with your enthusiasm and holiday spirit and take part. Tickets are available here.

Storytelling Orillia is hosting a Legendary Kitchen Party, online on Nov. 29, with great stories and music, to celebrate Canadian Storytelling Day. For more information and for the link to participate, email visitors@orilliamuseum.org.

If you are looking to have a festive family photo taken this year, Streets Alive Productions is again hosting a Merry Streets Alive Christmas, where you can have your photo taken by local photog Deb Halbot and collect a beautiful hand painted Christmas ornament as well. There are two dates for this fun opportunity. Dec. 5 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. the event will be outside The Eclectic Café and Dec. 12 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. it will be in the Peter Street Arts District.

Of course, all of these fun lead up to the holiday events can only happen if Simcoe Muskoka stays in the orange zone for Ontario, regarding Covid-19. It is up to all of us to wear our masks, wash our hands, social distance and do NOT hang out with multiple people, unmasked, in private homes. That is a prime way this virus is spreading. Please, for the sake of our business owners, creatives, makers, and our friends and neighbours, stay safe and follow the guidelines. Let’s make sure we stay in the orange zone for the holidays. Take care.

And last minute, the award recipients for the Orillia Regional Arts and Heritage Awards are announced Wed. Nov. 25 at 7 p.m. on the Orillia Museum of Art and History YouTube channel, here. It starts at 7 p.m. and will be available after that time. Enjoy!

Please send your arts news to annaproctor111@gmail.com by Tuesday at noon to be included.