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Province promises cash to local events, festivals

The province has announced more than $500,000 in funding to boost tourism and create jobs through festivals and events in Simcoe County
Collingwood's Art in the Street Festival will receive provincial funding this year. Erika Engel/ CollingwoodToday

The province has announced more than $500,000 in funding to boost tourism and create jobs through festivals and events in Simcoe County.

The province is supporting 328 festivals and events (including 13 in the Simcoe County area, five of which are in or around Collingwood), the highest in the history of the program, that celebrate Ontario’s diversity, heritage and culture.

"I’m pleased to see the government is making an investment to support events happening in our local communities," said Simcoe-Grey MPP Jim Wilson. "Our local economy is driven by tourism and people coming to visit our region. These events attract visitors to our communities, who in turn support our local businesses. Our small businesses have been hit hard in recent years by rising costs and out-of-control Hydro prices, they deserve all the support they can get.”

The funding will enhance programming, activities and services so festivals and events can offer new experiences, reach new audiences and support jobs in their communities.

Collingwood BIA’s Frozen In Time Ice Sculpture Festival will receive $28,000. According to the funding announcement: this event will attract 2,845 new visitors by installing a giant dual ice slide in the Winter Wonderland Village, building additional ice sculptures and adding an indoor theatre and activities. It runs Dec. 28-30.

Art on the Street, another event by Collingwood Downtown BIA will receive $24,000. The funding announcement states this project will attract 7,250 attendees by creating a new festival celebrating and highlighting all forms of arts and culture, from the visual and performance arts to rich culinary offerings. It runs from May 19 to Oct. 6.

The Village Winter Events Series (Blue Mountain Village Association) will receive $50,000. This project will attract 11,600 new tourists by enhancing the winter festival experience with the development of a light trail, illuminated sign, light projection show and drone light show. Event runs throughout next winter.

The UG Series BeachWOD will receive $30,000. This project will attract 5,100 new attendees by providing shuttle services, implementing a teen division, improving accessibility for adaptive athletes and expanding marketing into Quebec. Event runs July 6-8.

The Small Halls Festival (Clearview Township) will receive $22,000. This project will attract 300 additional tourists by creating a new culinary program called Brews and BBQ, offering a shuttle service, enhancing children’s programming and increasing logistical support. The event runs Sept. 27-30.

Tourism is an important economic driver, supporting nearly 400,000 jobs and generating more than $32 billion of economic activity, according to the province.

“Our government’s continued support for festivals and events is an investment in the livelihood of communities all across Ontario,” Minister of Tourism, Culture and Sport Daiene Vernile said in the release.

“Festivals and events are powerful economic drivers and play an important role in bringing communities together,” Vernile added. “Our diverse events give visitors and Ontario residents a reason to visit, discover and experience the riches of this wonderful province.”

Other events around Simcoe County to receive funding include:

RAM Rodeo Series: $46,000. This 16-city tour, running from June until October, will attract 2,500 attendees by providing overnight camping options at three of the events in the series.

Mariposa Folk Foundation: $75,000. This project, running July 6-8 in Orillia, will attract 338 new visitors by adding a family-focused headliner, including more family-friendly activities and creating a new community village.

Barrie Automotive Flea Market: $100,000. This project will attract 12,300 additional tourists by introducing new evening entertainment and programming. The event runs June 7 until Sept. 9 in Oro-Medonte Township.

Midland Cruise Ship Celebration Days (Town of Midland): $23,000, running from June until September. This project will attract 5,000 tourists by creating a new festival celebrating the arrival of Midland's cruise ships including music, Aboriginal programming and local attractions.