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Summer festival starts Thursday

Mehreen Shahid

By Mehreen Shahid, Orillia Packet & Times

A literary feast begins this Thursday for Orillia and area residents. Pictured, from left, are Leacock Museum staff, Alex Andrews, Tom Rose, Jen Martynyshyn and Mike Hill, past president of Leacock Associates and author of Mariposa Folk Festival a History. MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES

A literary feast begins this Thursday for Orillia and area residents. Pictured, from left, are Leacock Museum staff, Alex Andrews, Tom Rose, Jen Martynyshyn and Mike Hill, past president of Leacock Associates and author of Mariposa Folk Festival a History. MEHREEN SHAHID/THE PACKET & TIMES

This year's Leacock Summer Festival hopes to be a page turner.

Four days of literary activities planned from Thursday until Sunday will bring something old and something new, said Jen Martynyshyn, administrative co-ordinator for the Leacock Museum.

"This year, we are doing a 150th celebration by opening the festival Thursday with readings from Mariposa Exposed," she said, referring the old. "We also have music with that, and we will also be including a Canadian barbecue with tastings of foods from coast to coast."

On Friday afternoon, Mike Hill, past president Leacock Associates and author of the book Mariposa Folk Festival: A History, will be doing a reading from his book.

"One of my favourite parts is the story about way back when Phil Ochs who was playing and the power went out," he said, adding the format of his reading will be similar to Mariposa Folk Festival workshops. "What they did was that all the people aimed their car lights at the stage and a couple people got bull horns and stood beside him as he finished his set."

Steph Dunn and Owen McBride will provide music with Hill's readings.

Dinner the same day promises to be a feast of laughs, said Martynyshyn, as Terry Fallis hosts the humour showcase with guest authors Drew Hayden Taylor and Amy Jones, both of whom were nominees for the 2017 Leacock Medal for Humour.

"They will be joining our guests for dinners and all three will be doing readings as well," said Martynyshyn. The showcase, she added, is like a family reunion with a loyal following coming back every year and new fans being added each year.

For the younger Leacock following, the museum had added a Game of Thrones-themes cosplay/dinner event, which has been postponed until Nov. 18, when it will be held on a bigger scale, said Martynyshyn.

A writer's workshop Saturday, between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., with Janet Matthews, editor of Chicken Soup for the Soul, will give aspiring authors an opportunity to share work and receive feedback from Matthews.

On the afternoon of the last day of the festival, a rising poet will be recognized at the second annual K. Valerie Connor poetry celebration and awards ceremony.

Following that, three local poets will be doing readings at a poetry dinner, followed by an impromptu poetry slam session, said Tom Rose, community liaison assistant.

All events, with the exception of Hill's reading, are being held indoors at the Swanmore Hall.

For more information on the events, visit leacockmuseum.com.

"I would encourage people to buy tickets for dinner as soon as they can, because we need to confirm numbers," said Martynyshyn.

Tickets can be bought by calling the museum at or by calling the museum at 705-329-1908, or in person at 50 Museum Drive. To buy tickets online, visit the Orillia Opera House website at orilliaoperahouse.ca.

mshahid@postmedia.com

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