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      What the heck is the Shaw Festival?

      What the heck is the Shaw Festival? I'm writing this on the bus on the way back from the Shaw Festival in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario. There are so many elements of this trip that are on the 'pro” side of the ledger.

      Let's see. As I said, I'm writing this on the bus. BIG pro here: I don't have to drive! We take a coach from Benedict's Bus Service. I just have to get myself to Benedicts in the morning and then I can sleep, read, talk, blog on my new lap-top, listen to music. I don't have to worry about parking or keep my eyes on the road. Big pro.

      I get to walk around in a beautiful little town. Fresh air, incredible color in flowers all over the place. We usually hit the full bloom of the cherry trees. Niagara River. Horse-drawn carriages . Sheesh, one might think one was in Wellsboro, it's so beautiful!

      I get to meet new people, or not. On the coach there are people I know and just as many that I don't. I am given the opportunity to meet and talk with people whom I haven't crossed paths with before. Now, you might just like to have some quite, private time, too. No worries. You can sit on that bus and not talk to anyone if you want.

      I can eat out in really cool restaurants in NOTL. No chains or franchises here; just original, good food. All within walking distance of the theatre. Oh, jeez; did I say theatre?

      We are fortunate to live so close to world-class theatre. This place oozes with theatre. The Festival, which runs from April to October, I think, has four different venues offering a wide variety of shows. We usually aim for a Saturday matinee with a well-known comedy or classic or musical. This year it's a musical I had never seen, Me and My Girl. The thing has been around for decades and has enjoyed a re-birth, so to speak. Full of tap dancing, singing, endearing characters, the afternoon was a welcome respite from the vicissitudes of life. I don't think I gained any new insights or will ponder any deep profound ideas or be challenged...but I sure relished all that incredible talent exhibited by the company And the sets and lighting and costumes and orchestra.

      We go every year. One day. Up and back in plenty of time to catch Saturday Night Live. Usually early May. Affordable. (Remember you don't have to drive and pay for gas, and you get discounted admission cost since it's a group rate, and currently the currency exchange rate is good for us.) And great, great theatre.

      We go on a three day bus hike further up in Ontario to Stratford Festival every October. More on that one later, but for now, start putting away your pennies and plan to sit in the back of the bus with me next May...as I write another blog, and look forward to some darn good theatre.

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