Published: September 6, 2017
BY JENNIFER PARSONS
Planning for the 26th annual Norseman Festival started last week with organizers examining this year’s efforts for best practices and non-starters.
Meeting for more than two hours on Aug. 31 the planning committee reported record gate sales and beer garden sales bringing in much needed revenue to support the $100,000 price tag of this year’s activities.
“Really we held this festival on a wing and a prayer because that was probably an extra $15,000-$20,000 in revenue that we made this year,” said Chair Duane Riddell after the meeting last week.
“When we went into doing this festival we were looking at that kind of loss but we decided to do it anyway.”
At the beginning of July Riddell noted the committee had not been successful in obtaining a series of government grants which would’ve allowed the group to come out of this year’s festival without touching reserve funds.
As the bank account stands the group is without crucial start-up funds which he says the committee will be looking to raise from fundraising opportunities and/or new grant applications throughout the fall.
Those gathered for the meeting last week deemed the festival an overall success as participation was reported to have increased at a number of committee and vendor sponsored events. The number of volunteers had also increased.
Red Lake Regional Heritage Centre Director Trevor Osmond noted a number of positives from the partnership established between his facility and the festival including:
“There have been so many compliments…For us here we got people through the door that I don’t know if they have been at the Heritage Centre before, certainly not in five years.”
“Something needs to be said about the commitment of the committee and volunteers to bring together a [strong] festival,” said committee member Aileen Yakiwchuk. “We are looking forward to bringing events next year but also looking forward to different organizations to step up to the plate to enrich the flavour of the festival.”