This past summer, Toronto/Muskoka based planner Michelle Planche, President of Paradigm Events had an idea to create an event that combined three of her favourite things; Music, Muskoka and Christmas. With a short three month planning window, the goal of her festival was to create a festive kick-off to the season in Muskoka while driving tourism to Muskoka area in the off season.
Just in time for the start of the holiday season, the first ever XMus Festival, took place December 2-4th, 2016 in the Town of Bracebridge in Muskoka.
The weekend events included a Caroling Party, Cocktail Bitters Workshop, Holiday Gifting Market, Get “Shinnicked” in the Jack Frost Ice Lounge and the signature event… “Mix it Up, Get Into the Holiday Spirits at Muskoka Brewery” featuring live entertainment and cutting edge cocktails.
The Caroling Party; Sing, Drink & Be Merry was not your average sing along. Over 100 carolers got warmed up with delicious food, great cocktails (such as candy cane martini) and festive carols. Christmas carols led by prominent members of the Muskoka community including Ian Crowley who is the founder and artistic director of the Mad Raven Dinner Theatre, along with Tony Clement, Member of Parliament/député Parry Sound-Muskoka + Public Safety Critic for the Conservative Party. There were also several carolers in attendance from the Muskoka Rock Choir.
The Holiday Gifting Market was held on Saturday at Muskoka Brewery. Over a dozen vendors participated in the market which was open to the public and featured local and non-local crafts, one of a kind art, culinary artisans, gifting and other holiday activities.
Get Schinnicked in the Jack Frost Ice Lounge was open all weekend at Muskoka Brewery. It featured an outdoor ice beer gardens featuring live entertainment and kicked off the launch of the brewery’s newest Beer, aptly called “Schinnicked”. Celebrity chef and cookbook author Emily Richards was handing out Free Turkey burgers all day and attendees were treated to performances by Spencer Nicholson, Sean Cotton and Angie Nussey. Specialty ice features were created for the weekend including an ice bar, ice photo frame, and ice furniture.
The Mix It Up. Get into the Holiday Spirits event took place on Saturday as well at Muskoka Brewery where guests were able to shop, sip and savour the tastes of the season while being entertained by Stacey Renee Music, a Santa Photobooth and the Celebrity Bartenders, including Clinton Pattemore. This event was possible with the support of Muskoka Brewery, Lake of Bays Brewery, Muskoka Lakes Winery, Palatine Estates Winery, Riverwalk Restaurant, Pasta Tree & Smokehouse, Tromba Tequilla, Canada’s Best Ceasar mix featuring Clinton Pattemore, Arks tea infused cocktail, Red Thread Brewing, Curbalicious, Gooderham & Warts, Lot 40 & Pine Creek.