Brockville festivals get a boost

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Brockville’s All Ships Festival got a bit of extra wind in its sails Thursday, in the form of a $45,000 Celebrate Ontario grant.

The province’s tourism ministry announced that grant and other area festival grants in Kingston on Thursday.

“We’re really excited,” said Brockville festivals and events coordinator Chris Hum, who added planning for the June event is going well.

Other Brockville recipients of this year’s Celebrate Ontario funding include the 1000 Islands Regatta and Festival hydroplane racing event, which is getting $34,200, and the 1000 Islands Wine and Food Festival, which is getting $4,072.

The province is helping 270 festivals and events through Celebrate Ontario this year, the highest number in the history of the program, ministry officials announced.

The All Ships Festival is a free-admission collection of events, both on and off the river, slated for Friday, June 19 through Sunday, June 21.

The wide-ranging Father’s Day weekend event aims to recapture the tourism energy of Brockville’s first Tall Ships Festival, held in mid-June 2013, which packed the waterfront with crowds for three days.

All Ships will include ships of different sorts, as well as a variety of activities ranging from the Brockville Police Service “Wild West Showdown” paintball challenge in Reynolds Park, to an Artists Village and “Water Street Beach Party.”

Hum is pleased to see the inaugural festival get provincial recognition.

“We’ve got room to grow,” he said. “We’ve got a three-year plan and they’re aware of it.”

That plan is to build off this year’s festival into another Tall Ships Festival next year, when Tall Ships America makes Brockville a port of call for its Great Lakes sail in September 2016, then leading to a blockbuster event in 2017 marking Canada’s 150th anniversary.

Brockville had applied for $70,000 from Celebrate Ontario, the same amount it received for the 2013 Tall Ships Festival, said Paul.

“We had our expectations lowered after that by some of the staff people,” said Paul, adding the province is cutting back on the amounts of the grants amid its current fiscal challenges.

The money for All Ships will go toward operating costs for the festival, said Hum, who promised more precise details of the festival’s budget after organizers make a presentation to city council.

Organizers are also raising money through a variety of sponsorships options.

“Planning’s going very, very well,” said Hum, adding new partners continue to get on board.

The Wine and Food Festival runs May 29 and 30, while the Regatta and Festival runs June 26-28.

Other Celebrate Ontario recipients in the region include 1000 Islands Pirate Days in Gananoque, which receives $21,375 and runs July 10-12, the Delta Fair later in July, which gets funding of $14,400 and the Kemptville Live Music Festival, also in July, funded at $31,500.



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