It’s hard to believe that just three months ago we were soaking up the sun at the 2022 Mariposa Folk Festival, along the shores of Lake Couchiching, with a sold-out weekend of world-class musicians, artists and storytellers. As the colours of the leaves start to change from vibrant green to the warm hues of red, orange and yellow, we don’t have to let go of summer quite yet – or rather, bring some of summer into the fall.
On October 1st, the Mariposa Folk Festival presents An Autumn Mariposa, a one-day special event with two unique ways to enjoy echoes of the festival while making memorable new experiences around Orillia & Lake Country. We have tips on things to do around the region while enjoying a day full of folk, to make the most of Mariposa in the fall, your way.
An Afternoon by the Water – And Discovering Oro-Medonte
There’s nothing like hearing folk music outdoors, surrounded by beautiful landscapes and lakeside views.
An Autumn Mariposa Afternoon Concerts take place from 1-5pm at Bayview Memorial Park, in Oro-Medonte, featuring an exciting line up of Aleksi Campagne, Treasa Levasseur, Union Duke and Irish Mythen. On the shore of Lake Simcoe, Bayview Memorial Park features a large pavilion and ample space to settle in for an afternoon of music. Seating will be provided, but be sure to dress for the weather, bring a jacket and blanket on a cooler day.
One of the winners at the 2022 Mariposa Showcase and a popular addition to this year’s festival, Aleksi Campagne, offers a contemporary, indie-folk take on fiddle-singing. Treasa Levasseur’s smart, sassy and soulful brand of music has made her a favourite across folk, roots, blues and jazz audiences. Soaring harmonies, driving, rhythm, and infectious enthusiasm have defined Union Duke’s career and won the hearts of adoring fans. Irish Mythen’s live performances are a thing of raw power and emotion, with the connection with her audiences something that must be seen to be believed.
Reminiscent to the festival atmosphere, there will be a licensed Pub Tent featuring the popular Sunshine Lager, and Sunshine BBQ will be on site as the main food vendor. Children 12 and under are free to attend the afternoon event with an accompanied ticket-holding adult.
There is limited parking on site, but there are many eco-friendly ways to arrive! Carpool with a friend or take the free Shuttle Bus from the Orillia Recreation Centre. Shuttle Busses depart form the ORC at 12:00 pm and 12:15 pm and return at 5:00 pm and 5:15 pm. If you live nearby or are looking for a way to explore the area, cycle or hike along the Oro-Medonte Rail Trail. Enjoy the autumn colours along the canopied trail. Nearby, you can also find the Carthew Bay Nature Reserve to really immerse into the autumn landscape. Grab a lunch before the show (or a post-show treat!) at Carthew Bay Pubs & Scoops, just minutes from the park.
A Historic Stage and Downtown
In the evening, the party moves indoors at the Orillia Opera House with two acts that have made an impact on the festival in their own ways. But first, explore the city through the Mariposa lens where the festival first began and its impact on Orillia today.
Walk or bike along the Millennium Trail, winding along the shores of Lake Couchiching through the Port of Orillia and out to the Mariposa Folk Festival’s main summer home at Tudhope Park. The canopied park is a kaleidoscope of colour in the fall. Be sure to visit Golden Leaves, the Gordon Lightfoot statue at the point of Tudhope Park’s peninsula, honouring the folk legend and latest inductee into the Mariposa Folk Festival’s Hall of Fame.
Before the show, explore Orillia’s historic downtown and enjoy a meal in a vibrant culinary scene. While you walk the downtown, discover Streets Alive sculptures celebrating Mariposa Folk Festival’s 2022 return with Flower Power public art sculptures along Mississaga Street. Celebrating 10 years of public art and over 60 years of the Mariposa Festival, local artists bring the festival atmosphere to the downtown core.
Stop in at the Orillia Museum of Art & History and see their latest history exhibit The History of Orillia in 50 Artefacts for stories on Gordon Lightfoot’s early days in Orillia and the history of the folk festival. You can even pick up a copy of The Mariposa Folk Festival: A History by Mike Hill in the museum’s shop.
Now for the main event: at 7pm the evening concert kicks off at the Orillia Opera House in the Gordon Lightfoot Auditorium. Dala opens the evening as fan favourites and seasoned Mariposa veterans, performing and emceeing at this summer’s festival. Juno nominees and winners of the 2010 Canadian Folk Music Award for Vocal Group of the Year, Amanda Walther and Sheila Carabine of Dala write and sing in harmony best described as angelic. Amanda’s ethereal soprano voice blends seamlessly with Sheila’s velvety alto, creating the unparalleled, in-sync harmonies that have become their signature. Dala are equally renowned for their hilarious on-stage banter, and their unique ability to turn first-time listeners into lifelong fans.
Julian Taylor closes out the day, returning to Orillia after an impactful performance at the 2019 Mariposa Folk Festival. Julian Taylor is a Toronto-based, award-winning singer-songwriter, radio host, and label owner. His 2020 LP, The Ridge, earned two Juno Award nominations, along with a pair of Canadian Folk Music Awards for Solo Artist and English Songwriter of the Year, five Native American Music Award nominations, plus a nomination for Canada’s most prestigious music accolade, the Polaris Music Prize. Julian’s new album, Beyond the Reservoir, to be released in October 2022 and preceded by the single “S.E.E.D.S,” builds on the soul-folk sound and autobiographical themes first explored on The Ridge.
As we eagerly wait for the 2023 summer festival, An Autumn Mariposa reminds us that the Mariposa spirit is with us year-round, embedded in the very nature of our region.
Tickets are $40 each for An Autumn Mariposa or the Orillia Opera House concert, or $70 for both events. All tickets are available at the Orillia Opera House, online at orilliaoperahouse.ca or in person at the box office.
Another reason to visit Simcoe County