White Rock residents Karen Arsenault and four year-old Dylan Arsenault at the Pacific National Exhibition midway in 2017. (PNE photo)

White Rock residents Karen Arsenault and four year-old Dylan Arsenault at the Pacific National Exhibition midway in 2017. (PNE photo)

B.C. doubles COVID-19 relief fund for community festivals, events

Fairs, festivals, rodeos in 134 B.C. communities qualified

An “enormous” response to the B.C. government’s grant fund for community festivals has prompted an increase in the fund from $12.9 million to $30 million, allowing it to support more events, Tourism Minister Melanie Mark said Monday.

“This means that over 680 local fairs, festivals and events have support for the safe resumption of their activities in 134 communities,” Mark said at Vancouver’s Firehall Arts Centre theatre Dec. 13. “This support includes everything from the Williams Lake Stampede, the Junior All-Native Basketball Tournament in West Kelowna, The Interior Provincial Exhibition in Armstrong, the Dawson Creek Exhibition and Stampede in the North, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, Lights of Wonder on the Island,” and events in Vancouver including the Pacific National Exhibition.

Mark announced the grant program for community festivals in August, with an Oct. 1 deadline for applications. The grant fund was established to cover up to 20 per cent of the total event budget, to a maximum of $250,000, for events that took place after July 1, 2021 or are planned up to Sept. 30, 2022.

In May, it opened applications for another program aimed at what the ministry terms “anchor attractions,” such as the PNE and the Butchart Gardens on Vancouver Island, as well as museums, amusement parks, science centres and other visitor landmarks.

The full list of community events receiving funds is posted on the province’s website here.

RELATED: PNE cancels in-person 2021 fair over COVID concerns

RELATED: Kootenays’ Shambhala music festival off for second year


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