Hi there, and welcome to this week’s newsletter! What an amazing week of heat we’ve had here in Ottawa, with a few more days of it to come. I’ve seen a lot of full patios, beaches and outdoor areas being used over the past week, and I can’t say I blame anyone. This COVID-19 crap is exhausting and people need to get out and enjoy the summer, safely of course!
The most recent social gathering guidelines update pretty much shut down large-scale festivals until the end of August, but as I’ve mentioned in previous newsletters, September events are still up in the air. This year, September boasts a number of major festivals: Escapade (moved from June), Cityfolk Festival, and Comic Con. Looks like we’re still going to have to keep waiting to hear about those. Cityfolk management has told me that a decision is to be made “end of June, or early July” about whether or not the festival will proceed. Rumour has it that planning is still underway, so it’s not ruled out just yet.
The bad news: Beau’s Oktoberfest, originally slated for September, has officially been cancelled. I’ve been there for the past three years and it’s such a great time! I’m pretty bummed about the cancellation, but that just means it’ll be bigger and better next year, right??
Last week, I talked about how phase 2 of the provincial re-opening plan had kicked off, and I highlighted the opening of patios as one of the major changes. Well, patios and hair salons weren’t all that re-opened; let’s look at some other highlights impacting the events world!
Brew Donkey Tours are permitted again. They’re being very responsible and cautious, having limited the number of people on each bus and mandating physical distancing with those outside of your group, but the tours will go on! They’re booking now starting July 24th and I would expect very quick sell-outs. Tours can be found on my events calendar with all the information that is currently available; some of the breweries still need to be confirmed, but does it really matter where you go? You can’t go wrong with craft beer and good friends!
The Markets are open again! The Byward Market and Parkdale Markets have both reopened for your shopping pleasure. Also, the famous Metcalfe Farmers Market is open once a week. Let’s get out there and support local farmers!
New Events in a Distancing World
In addition to some of the previously mentioned options for us to get out and enjoy some events, some organizations are getting creative! TD Place has started drive in movies right on the football field. You just drive your car in to your reserved spot and watch a great flick with your buds on the big screen in the stadium! Tickets sold out fast for the two shows last week, so keep an eye on my calendar and the TD Place website for future movies, I know they’re coming. 🙂
A big announcement came last week from the management team at Bluesfest. Teaming up with the National Arts Centre, they are bringing us the #CanadaPerforms version of Bluesfest as a drive-in option at the Zibi site in Gatineau. There are some great Canadian artists already lined up to entertain us over this 4-day festival. Check out the details on my events calendar or the Bluesfest website. Some of the acts include Sam Roberts, Tim Hicks, Patrick Wilson, Marie-Mai and many more. You can read the press-release by clicking here.
These are just two of the examples of some of the NON-virtual events that are starting to pop up as restrictions are easing. Other examples include outdoor group movement classes, drive-in movies (other than TD Place), and a Samba Drumming Workshop in the park.
I have to talk about America’s Got Talent just for a minute. Two weeks ago, it was super boring with a whole bunch of singers (which is not as exciting to me as some of the craziness that’s often on the show – that’s what American Idol is for). Well, this past week was much better. There was a whole variety of different acts, and although there was at least one amazing singer, it’s the variety that stood out to me again! Here’s my favourite act of the week:
90 Day Fiancé has started again (but did it ever stop?). There are not too many shows that can be referred to as “franchises” but I think this now qualifies. For you non-viewers, the concept is simple, in the initial show of this series, an American would find love overseas and then become engaged to them in order to get their K1 fiance visa and move to the states. They have 90 days to get married, or back they go back to their home country. This show exploded in recent years, to say the least. You can now enjoy “90 Day Fiancé”, “Before the 90 Days”, “90DF: The Other Way”, “90DF: What Now”, “90DF: Pillow Talk”, “90DF: Quarantine Edition”, and “90DF: Where are They Now”. Honestly…how can you NOT get enough of this show?
This Kid’s Got Talent!
Our featured talented local kid this week is ten-year old Sophia Pierce. You might remember her from my reviews of Orpheus’ productions of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and Matilda. We at Covert Ottawa Guy are big fans of this talented youngster! My wife especially adores Sophia, who is as humble as she is talented. My wife keeps me apprised of all of Sophia’s accomplishments, and they are quite impressive! But what she is most impressed with is Sophia’s sweet nature, kindness to fellow performers and competitors, and humility about her talent.
Sophia has been singing her entire life, but formally started singing when she was 6½ with the Goulbourne Jubilee Choir under the direction of Linda Crawford. Sophia has had a number of career highlights in the past few years; it was on her bucket list to sing the national anthem for the Ottawa Senators before she turned ten, and she did, singing for them the first time four days before her tenth birthday. Since then, she has performed for them four more times in the last year! She has also performed the National Anthem for the Ottawa Fury, the Ottawa 67’s, and the GOVERNOR GENERAL (the Right Honourable Mme. Payette) for the Order of Canada Medal presentations! She was invited to sing for the tree lighting ceremony for The Trees of Hope fundraiser for CHEO. She recently won all four categories in the Kiwanis Music Festival, also winning three trophies and a scholarship. When asked what inspires her, she replied, “my mom.”
Next up for Sophia is the Rise2Fame contest. This is a contest comprised of singers, dancers, musicians, and other talented kids! Last year, she made it to the finals in London, ON, where she won 1st runner up in the 16 and under category. This year, auditions are online. This means that the public have the opportunity to vote, which is exciting! Below is Sophia’s audition video. If you click the link, you can vote for her for the People’s Choice category! PLEASE DO! Voting is open until June 26th (Voting is done on the link). It is exciting to have such a talented kid from Ottawa representing our city! We are very proud that she is from Ottawa and we know that she will go very far!