By Sue Tiffin
Mark Nov. 8 at 10 a.m. on your calendars.
Given that the annual Highlands Christmas Shindig has regularly been a sold-out show, tickets to this year’s live event at the Haliburton Legion, of which only 100 are available due to pandemic restrictions, will go quickly. Another 50 tickets are available for a watch party happening downstairs from the live show, in the Haliburton Legion’s clubroom.
“Of course down there, they’ll have the luxury of a bar, so hopefully that will increase their enjoyment of the show,” joked organizer and host, Mike Jaycock.
And for those who miss out on the tickets, like last year the show will be broadcast live online for anyone to watch anywhere.
“One of the things we found last year was that we were getting guests from a variety of spots in Ontario, but also a lot of our seasonal people are overseas or south of the border and could join in as well,” said Jaycock. “It’s awfully nice that they feel so connected to the county that they wanted to be a part of it. It’s almost like a little bit of a homecoming, to enable everyone to come to one spot to see some of the finest local talent and have some chuckles along the way.”
Hosted by Dame Beatrice (Jaycock) and Penelope (Victoria Bingham), the variety show features twenty-five performers, including David Archibald, Wendy Kurtz (Robin Duke) of Schitt’s Creek, Slinky and the Boys, Jim Blake and Fay Wilkinson, Tomorrow Never Knows, Nick and Stan Russell, the Moontones and the Kowalski Sisters with Ragged Company.
“I must say, that was the easiest part,” said Jaycock. “You put out the call and probably within the first two to three weeks of getting planning going, every one of them said, ‘you bet, we’d love to be a part of it.’”
Speaking from his home in Ingersoll where he moved with wife Jane earlier this year, Jaycock said host Dame Beatrice is ready though her outfit might need some fitting.
“Dame Beatrice has been getting heck from my wife because she hasn’t tried on her outfit, yet,” said Jaycock.
She’ll be, as always, in fine form for the event, which has to date raised more than $150,000 for Fuel For Warmth, a local organization which helps to alleviate heating challenges for those in need during the winter.
“Typical of Haliburton County, everyone rallies around,” said Jaycock. “The Haliburton Highlands is just a unique area. I’ve certainly come to appreciate that. There’s a connectivity across the county that’s very hard to describe to people. There’s this bonding that exists, stands out as a very, very unique kind of thing. People say, ‘well, small communities are like that.’ I’m not sure. I think smaller communities have a better opportunity to be that way, but I think Haliburton County and all the people within it have got it right. That’s why it’s a joy to come back, help out and see everyone as well.”
Jaycock notes the hardships of the pandemic might have an impact on the amount raised this year, but that people struggling to heat their homes will benefit from ticket sales and donations.
“We know whatever we raise, it will be very appreciated by the organization,” said Jaycock.
The Shindig committee is made up of volunteers Betty and David Mills, Jack Brezina, Tammy Rae, Jim Love, Sean
Pennylegion, Heather Smith, Barb Murphy, Shawn Smandych, Wendy Ogilvie, Mark Tomlinson, Joanne Barnes and Mike Jaycock.
The Highlands Christmas Shindig takes place on Nov. 27 at 7:30 p.m. A limited number of tickets to attend live are $25 (live performance) or $15 (Legion Club Room) and go on sale at 10 a.m. on Nov. 8 at Up River Trading Co. in Minden, and Glecoff’s Family Store in Haliburton. Proof of vaccination required. The show can also be watched live from home via the website at www.fuelforwarmth.com. A watch party will also take place at Minden’s Dominion Hotel. Donations of any amount are appreciated.