A Look Ahead at Festivals: Mariposa Folk, Roots North, and more!

A Look Ahead at Festivals: Mariposa Folk, Roots North, and more!

Orillia & Lake Country boasts a bustling arts and culture scene, celebrated year-round during the region’s major festivals and events. With popular sold-out music events like the Mariposa Folk Festival (July 5-7) and Boots & Hearts (August 8-11), now is the time to start planning your festival getaway and build that early-bird itinerary.


Each year, the festival season kicks off with the Roots North Music Festival, (April 18-21). This four day long festival is a celebration of Ontario’s deep-rooted love for local and live music, featuring over a dozen stages and artists across Downtown Orillia an beyond. Mainstage performers are always a highlight on Friday and Saturday nights at the beautifully renovated St. Paul’s Centre, where the festival’s signature vendor’s market is also hosted. During the weekend, a long list of pop-up performances take over while you shop, dine, and explore Downtown Orillia and lake country’s small business scene. For a list of venues and to view the impressive artist lineup, head to RootsNorthMusic.ca.

From May 30 to June 2, Gathering: Festival of First Nations Stories welcomes Indigenous storytellers, artists, musicians, and authors to Rama First Nation and Couchiching Park as a celebration of Indigenous voices. This festival brings together prominent and emerging Indigenous artists in conversation through workshops, presentations, and concerts.

Art lovers won’t want to miss out on the Coldwater & Area Studio Tour (June 22 & 23), where you’ll be able to tour a robust collection of loclly-made paintings, jewelry, glass and metal works, photography, pottery, fibre art, and woodworking in studios, workshops and historic buildings in the lovely agricultural surroundings of Coldwater and the adjoining shores of Georgian Bay.

Early summer Orillia welcomes the Mariposa Folk Festival. Over 60 years in the running, this annual music event is held on the shores of Lake Couchiching, at Tudhope Park. With a one-of-a-kind atmosphere, the festival features 11 stages, picturesque views, delicious food, fantastic workshops, unique artisans, camping, and fun activities for kids. Mariposa really is magical, for all ages. With good prices for weekend passes and a two-year streak of sold-out wristbands, better snap yours up today!

On July 13th, Brechin welcomes the Ramara Classic Car Show with an impressive collection of over 200 classic cars, showcased within the winding canals of Lagoon City. Classic car fanatic or not, this event is an excellent opportunity to explore the area’s scenic views, great food, and some mid-summer fun.

Couchiching Beach Park comes alive in the summertime during the historic annual Orillia Scottish Festival (July 14-16). Shop from eclectic vendors, grab a delicious bite to eat, and celebrate Scottish culture during traditional dance, marching, and music celebrations.

One of the biggest and best powwow’s in Ontario!

Heading east and north out of Orillia, enjoy the Rama First Nation Powwow, held August 24 to 25 at the John Snake Memorial Community Multi-Purpose Grounds in Rama First Nation. This is the biggest and best powwow in Ontario, bringing two days’ worth of incredible First Nation dancing, drumming, food, and culture.

The Port of Orillia, also hosts many great events each summer, including the Sunshine Festival (June 7 – 9) and The Waterfront Festival (August 9-11) with vendors, music and food, and Christmas in June (June 22) and Mardi Gras (July 27) with boat decoration contests, music, and plenty of fun.

For the little ones and the young-at-heart, don’t miss out on Labour Day weekend’s pirate invasion during the Port of Orillia’s Pirate Party. Featuring historical reenactments, a pirate village, vendors, a beer tent, and an on-the-water battle, this annual event promises excitement for all ages.   

In the fall, the ever-popular Orillia Jazz Festival makes its way through Orillia with featured concerts at the historic Orillia Opera House and pop-up performances at venues and restaurants across the city.

For those looking to unleash their witchy side, the annual Coldwater Village Witches Walk (October 18) is an exciting Halloween event held under the moonlight. Ages 19 and up are invited to bring their best witchy attire and indulge in some excellent live music, dancing, and a spooktacular vendors market in the historic streets of Coldwater. This quaint, heritage-themed village is also home to a wide variety of fun and niche events throughout the entire year, including the annual Duck Race on May 25 and the Harry Potter-esque Wonderful World of Witchcraft & Wizardry on August 17.

Of course, Thanksgiving Weekend is an absolute must for booking your next road trip, as the region’s ever popular Images Studio Tours returns. Over thirty outstanding artists and crafts people will exhibit their work over the 4 days at 18 different studios. This self-guided tour roams from Moonstone through the scenic Horseshoe Valley and along the Lake Simcoe shores to Orillia.

October also marks the return of The Lightfoot Days Festival, a celebration of Orillia’s hometown folk legend, Gordon Lightfoot. On October 31, The Lightfoot Band will be performing live at the Orillia Opera House, while pop-up shows and Lightfoot tributes will be scheduled around town over the weekend.

Orillia and Lake Country is well known for its unique historical roots, which inspires a variety of spooktacular events throughout the month of October. Highlights include the Witchy Halloween Paddle by Sunrise Yoga Studio, Severn’s Slaughterhouse, ghost tours at the Leacock Museum and Orillia Museum of Art & History, and Oktoberfest-style celebrations at Quayle’s Brewery and Couchiching Craft Brewing Company.

These are just some of the amazing festivals to be found in Orillia & Lake Country, check out our events calendar to see what else is coming up!

Of course, there are lots of great places to stay in Orillia Lake Country while you are enjoying these events. You can find out more about accommodation here https://www.orillialakecountry.ca/stay/. 

Photos are not for redistribution.
Roots North Music Festival photos 1 and 2 by Knight Vision Media.
Article banner and photo 3 of the Mariposa Folk Festival, as well as photo 4 of the Rama Powwow by Through My Eyes Photography by Deb Halbot.


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