Laketown Ranch is now offering more high quality events than ever, bringing big crowds to the Valley. (Lexi Bainas/Citizen)

Lexi Bainas column: There’s a lot to be thankful for in Cowichan’s entertainment world this year

With an ever increasing number of festivals, Laketown Ranch has a winning hand

At this time of giving thanks I would like to draw attention to a woman who works tirelessly behind the scenes for us.

Joy Ann Bannerman has toiled for many years, organizing and scheduling the Young Musicians of the Week, and then getting that information to us in a handy, easy-to-use format.

Through illness, vacation, rain, heavy rehearsal schedules, sleet, the music festival season, teaching, snow, and more, Joy Ann has persevered. She’s been a rock we could count on from week to week, month to month, and year to year.

So, Joy Ann, a heartfelt thank-you to you and your colleagues at the Cowichan Music Teachers Association for keeping us up to date with the Valley’s young musical talent.

•••

While I’m at it, I’d also like to thank all the folks, both paid and unpaid, who make an effort to get me timely information about upcoming shows.

This, too, is not always an easy job, and to keep doing it, year after year, calls for dedication, especially from busy volunteers.

You’re the heartbeat of our entertainment community, and I’m more grateful than I can say for your remembering me as you sprint from one task to another.

•••

According to Michelle Vogelgesang, the Chemainus Theatre is showcasing a Kids Art Show in the upper level, called “Art with Lotta”.

The artists range in ages from four to 18 and are all local children from the Cowichan Valley and have used several media to prepare the work in this show. The art will be on display in the upper lobby until Dec 30. Some of the art is even for sale.

There will also be an artist reception/meet and greet on Dec. 28 from 1-2 p.m. in the upper lobby and the public is invited.

Michelle says: “The theatre wants to continue to support all ages of artists.”

•••

If you’ve missed Christmas and still need to give a gift to someone, why not visit your local library?

They’ve been offering a special holiday card with a library card inside it, all for free.

Your giftee can then enjoy books, videos, access to computers, and lots more, saving money and enjoying meeting new people at the same time.

•••

It’s been a great year, entertainment-wise, as we would have said years ago.

The Cowichan Valley is such a hotbed of talent, both in arts and entertainment, that every time I look around, there’s a new venue, or a new group has been formed, or another bunch of artists and artisans are getting together to show their superb work.

But, from my own standpoint, the biggest entertainment story of the year is the ever-growing menu of tasty events being offered at Laketown Ranch in Lake Cowichan.

From a standing start, with Sunfest’s huge popularity to build on, the team at the Ranch is continually adding to its hand.

In 2018, we saw Laketown Rock move to Canada Day, and, following a significant reworking of The Flats Stage area, a trio of Laketown Shakedown festivals was added to the schedule.

Now, we find that the Sooke Bluegrass Festival has renamed itself the Cowichan Valley Bluegrass Festival and is preparing to take up residence in The Flats as well.

As for Sunfest itself, if 2018 is anything to go by, the usually quiet opening night on Thursday will be booming from now on following the huge success of the back-to-back appearances of Valley favourites, Aaron Pritchett and George Canyon.

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