Adverse Conditions will be taking the stage as this year’s entertainment at the Highlands Christmas Shindig on Friday, Nov. 24. /Submitted

Big changes for Highlands Christmas Shindig

By Vivian Collings

The Highlands Christmas Shindig is putting a little twist on the popular holiday fundraiser for Fuel for Warmth this year.

Adverse Conditions Highlands Soul Band, a new local music group, will be the sole entertainment for the evening.

Familiar characters Marple Syrup (Victoria Bingham) and Patsy Pine (Amy Brohm) are returning to host the holiday spectacular.

“This year is going to be completely different because it’s going to be one act, and the audience is going to be encouraged to get up and dance,” said Drew Allen, Highlands Christmas Shindig sponsorship director. “This is going to be an all-ages show.”

Another big difference for the familiar favourite event is a change in location.

It will be held at Royal Canadian Legion branch 129 in Haliburton on Friday, Nov. 24 with the show beginning at 8:30 p.m.

“Yes, it’s happening on the same night as the Santa Claus Parade. This way, everyone can get a whole evening of Christmas events,” Allen said. 

Last year, the stage saw 10 different acts. 

This year, the stage will see 10 musicians performing together playing trumpet, trombone, saxophone, bass, guitar, drums, keyboard, and singing vocals.

“Adverse Conditions is modelled after Chicago soul bands. We got the name because we were born during the COVID pandemic, and it was hard for us to get anywhere to rehearse,” said band member Craig Thompson. 

They had their first gig earlier this year which proved to be a huge success.

“Everyone got up to dance at our sold out show,” Thompson said. “There’s a lot of energy in the room with us when we play.”

Allen explained the Shindig’s shift came with the changeover of the committee.

“Many people who had been on the committe for a number of years were ready to move on and just wanted to do something different,” he said.

There are currently 13 members working hard behind the scenes.

“The Shindig has been very successful in the past in raising funds for Fuel For Warmth. Many of our sponsors have come back year after year,” Allen said. “Last year, $33,000 was raised for Fuel For Warmth. I’ll be really happy if we can meet or exceed that.”

Fuel For Warmth is a local not-for-profit organization that provides heat assistance to those in need in Haliburton County.

“Seeing it in person made a big impression on me. It raises a lot of money for Fuel for Warmth. I didn’t realize how many families in Haliburton need help buy their propane, oil, or firewood to keep their homes warm,” Allen said.

Tammy Rea from Sticks and Stones Productions will be livestreaming the event for those wishing to stay home.

Shindig goers can expect an array of goodies on the prize table such as golf packages, gift baskets, fine art, and more.

There will be two intermissions with the show wrapping up around 11 p.m.

Tickets go on sale at Up River Trading Co. in Haliburton and Minden on Friday, Nov. 10 and are $30 each.

“I know that Fuel for Warmth has helped close to 1000 families every year, so I thought this was a really good cause. Keeping people warm in the winter is a really good cause,” Allen said.