A lifeline or two is being thrown to the annual Canada Day Children’s Festival in Salmon Arm, but not enough yet to make sure it survives.
Recently three members of the seven-member Salmon Arm Children’s Festival Society came to city council to explain the free festival is getting harder to maintain. President Karen Bubola said it has grown immensely over the years, now attracting in the range of 6,000 people. Set-up and take-down are done by too few people, and the handful of volunteer organizers who have been running it for years are running out of time and energy.
Games at the festival are 50 cents each and the admission, while entertainment and balloon animals are free.
The society asked council to provide $10,000 towards the event, as well as reducing or covering the $1,200 charge for the indoor arena rental. Council suggested applying for funding so it can be included in next year’s budget process.
The society also requested the city once again assist with set-up and take-down of the big tents. Council agreed to continue.
Council also agreed to use up to $1,224 out of its council initiatives fund to cover the cost of the indoor arena for two days, June 30 and July 1.
The city has historically given the festival society a $3,000 grant-in-aid through the Shuswap Community Association, which the society will apply for once again.
Society vice-president Kari Wilkinson said the cadets are being paid $1,000 in return for sending a guaranteed crew of 12 people able to help out with heavy lifting for set-up and take-down.
“We’re hoping our partnership with the cadets this year is going to work into something long-term,” Wilkinson said.
The city relies on and appreciates community partners – SASCU, for instance, has agreed to provide funds and people for the next three years to run the prize tent.
Wilkinson said the society will still need an additional 15 to 20 people for take-down on July 1, beginning at 3 p.m.
“The biggest struggle is the people piece; we need people to bring it together.”
Posters are being distributed around town to try to attract volunteers. If you are willing to donate time or money, you’re asked to email firstname.lastname@example.org.