Mark Clairmont | MuskokaTODAY.com

After two years at home Christmas calendars are filling up and refrigerators are stuck with enough sticky notes to keep you and your family busy with fun events, lunches and craft sales scheduled morning, noon and night. Often too many to keep up with.

There’ve been four Santa sightings in parades ’round Muskoka so far.

Saturday the Claus is in Port Carling then Baysville Sunday for all the good boys and girls naughty and nice and their parents and caregivers.

Last week Bracebridge Rotarians followed Huntsville’s Santa suit by hosting its first night flight of the jolly jumper.

Santa was seen coming, above, and going below … last Friday night in Bracebridge at what has already become one of his best parades of the season. Mark Dec. 1 on your 2023 calendar.

Thousands lined Manitoba Street for the 6 p.m. takeoff, which was in keeping with the BBIA’s annual Light the Night theme downtown. And Santa’s summer Ho! Ho! Hometown may already be the best in Muskoka.

They’ve already scheduled next year’s parade. Mark Dec. 1 on your calendar.

A joyous evening occasion that’s catching on and can be seen again this Saturday night in Port Carling. …

Garnet Corcoran and his son Jake, who owns Corcoran Marine, had a float lit up that made it look as if it was on the Muskoka Lakes – with, of course, Will Farrell at the helm.
Two tubas in parade! Muskoka Concert Band set a record with Fran Harvey and Kim Hawn tooting their own horns – along with Merrill Perrett and his pint-sized baritone accompanying them.

Unspeakable … but not unsingable joy

Advent, which began Nov. 27 and continues to Christmas Eve, commenced with the Muskoka Advent Choir back on an altar near you with full 40 voices — down almost half from other years. It’s sponsored by local churches with Muskoka donations going to the hospitals, says St. James priest Heather Manuel.

Already they’ve shared their “Joy! Unspeakable Joy!” concerts in Port Sydney, Orillia and Huntsville the past two weekends.

Tomorrow night the choir is singing in Port Carling at the Pinegrove Fellowship Church there.

Sunday they’ll raise the roof of St. Paul’s Catholic Church in Gravenhurst.

The following weekend, Friday Dec. 16, it’s off for their northern jaunt to the Legacy Life Centre in Burk’s Falls.

Before wrapping up Sunday Dec. 18 at Pinegrove Baptist Church in Bracebridge.

All performances and sing-alongs start at 7 p.m. and are open to all with a free-will offering. …

MCB’s most wonderful time of year

Speaking of concerts, the Muskoka Concert Band is at the Rene Caisse Theatre @ 2:30 p.m. with a ‘Most Wonderful Christmas’ concert on Saturday Dec. 17. Two nights later they are at the Huntsville United Church at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20. And includes a name that tune carol sing-along. Or is it stump-the-band? …

Lockdown lousy break for inmates

What’s Christmas like in the can for cons?

Well, according to Beaver Creek prison chaplain Doug Parrett, the Advent Choir was suppose to perform at the Beaver Creek two prisons in Gravenhurst this week.

It was an annual tradition before COVID, he said.

But due to prison health protocols and distancing rules in their gym it was deemed unseatable to house 500 medium-security men six feet apart and masked who would’ve been joined by 200 other inmates from the minimum security institution.

Now that’s a lockdown that’s a lousy break. …

Gravenhurst Rotarians recognized local ministers Thursday, as they do each year. Joining them for lunch were Beaver Creek chaplains Abraham Yonas and Ruwan Wu Qingshan (a Buddhist priest), St. James’ Anglican priest Heather Manuel, and prison chaplain Doug Parrett.

Pop shoppes at end of rainbow

Call it the little bay that finally grew.

Gravenhurst Bay is expanding with more pop-up shops for the summer at the Muskoka Wharf.

Beneath the behemoth Alexander retirement home towering over the Bay, a handful of tiny storage shed-sized buildings were unloaded from a truck this week as part of a plan for seasonal rentals.

They’re at the end of the rainbow — a new/old town sign that once welcomed tourists to the town before it was replaced by something almost as bad.

The refurbished greeter now welcomes west-enders to Bay Street — the worst stretch of street entrance in town. …

Trumpeting tap & go Sally Ann kettles

Kettle contributions are easier than ever for donors wishing to help others at Christmas.

The Salvations Army has for the past few years made it easier for credit card holders to tap and go.

In addition to as always taking much appreciated coin and paper cash, one tap spot will let you donate $5, another $10 and a third $20.

How easy is that?

Silver Bells and coins going into the Sally Ann kettle weren’t the only sounds heard at Terry’s YIG store in Gravenhurst Saturday. Alex Hogg, 8, and his Pappa Mark Clairmont were out gigging and doing a Jingle Bells duet and more carols and hymns.
You get more than a candy cane when you make a donation to the Salvation Army. You get peace of mind and joy to the world locally.

EMAIL: news@muskokatoday.com

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