FAMILY FEST 101 Cancelled for 2022

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Friends of Chippewa Press Conference
Friends of Chippewa Press Conference

THUNDER BAY – LIVING – It was the toughest decision Iain Angus has had to make as a part of the Friends of Chippewa Park.

Angus stated at a press conference today, “It is with deep regret that we must advise you that our planned Family Fest 101 scheduled for the August long weekend has been cancelled.

There is one bright spot to this announcement, however, Our Kids Count has agreed to hold the Children’s Festival at the park on Saturday, July 30 running from noon to 4 pm. This free event is open to children along with their guardians. The festival will consist of attractions inside and outside the main pavilion.  There will be face painting, bouncy castles, barnyard friends petting zoo, games & relay races, entertainment by Rodney Brown and Jim ‘n’ I, story time from the Thunder Bay Public Library and family crafts and more!

There will also be an expanded Sundays in the Park event on July 31, featuring some of the performers we had planned to take part in Family Fest 101.

“We’ve been facing a perfect storm in our efforts to organize this event. The corporate private sector has been struggling with loss of revenue due to the ongoing pandemic as well as rising costs and that adversely affected our sponsorship and advertising targets

“We struggled to attract volunteers for a busy Thunder Bay weekend”.

The biggest impediment to the event was a result of not being able to get decisions from the provincial and federal governments.

“And we’ve not been able to get decisions from our potential government funders in time to commence the festival with confidence,” continued Angus.

The Friends of Chippewa Park board made the decision to cancel the festival on Sunday, July 17 after reviewing the finances for the event.

“We had been advised late last week that a decision on the two major funding applications we had submitted four months ago would not be made until the festival was over.

“We determined that we would be short $130,000 with no realistic way to cover that deficit in the short or long term”.

Angus said that the provincial decision stopped with the dropping of the writ for the provincial election, and the new minister was only briefed two weeks ago. The funding decision from the federal government has been delayed despite lots of talks back and forth.

“Cancelling the Festival is a painful decision, given the time and energy that has gone into its planning, but we felt it was the honourable thing to do in light of the financial circumstances. We were all excited about the broad range of entertainment we were able to attract (60 acts in total!) along with the ‘buzz’ in the community about the festival.” stated Angus. “And we know that the public will be extremely disappointed as they were looking forward to the festival. We’ve worked hard over the past year to put this festival together and we are extremely disappointed with the decision we have had to make”.

“We hope, however, this explanation will help the public appreciate the circumstances that have led us to make it,” shared Angus.

“We informed our entertainers, vendors, and volunteers by email on Monday morning and thanked them for their willingness to be part of the festival. We also informed the range of local companies who were to provide services to the festival, along with the City of Thunder Bay, a major supporter of the festival.  We also wrote to the two provincial members and the two federal members advising them of the decision. We also informed our local hotels who had been holding rooms for the anticipated visitors that would arrive to take in the event”.

We are also pleased to report that our marketing efforts to date have led to a significant increase in attendance at Chippewa Park.

The rides, concession and tourist camp are busier now than they have been in many years before COVID.