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Cranbrook council commits funding to Winter Festival event

Cranbrook city council has approved funding for a Winter Festival event set for 2023, with staff considering charging entry fees to help offset costs.

Council has approved up to $50,000 and committed in-kind resources to help spearhead the event.

This will be organized internally and staff will work to seek out private sponsorships.

Initially, council was asked to organize another Winter Blitzville, which debuted in 2019, with a second event the following year.

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The COVID-19 pandemic stopped the city from hosting Winter Blitzville in 2021 and 2022.

Plans were in the works to have another Winter Blitzville, but the proposed budget to keep up with the scope of previous events was more than what city council was willing to spend.

Council member Lynnette Wray proposed changing the name as well, to temper any expectations.

“I think using the term Winter Blitzville is going to have a specific meaning for folks,” said Wray. “What I’m hearing is that a winter festival is doable but I think the expectations that are around Winter Blitzville probably do not fit with the budget we identified.”

That said, council members still wanted to see some kind of winter event.

“We still want to have a Blitzville. It may not be what it was previously, but we still want to do something in the shoulder season this winter,” said council member Ron Popoff. “I think there’s still some value in doing it, but it won’t have the hype of what we had those two years previous.”

According to council documents, options included: find an external organizer to put on Winter Blitzville 2023 with a budget of $50,000 and up to $5,000 of in-kind services or host Winter Blitzville as presented with $96,000 in funding with an additional $50,000 set aside as contingency, and in-kind services

Council ended up voting in favour of the third option and directed staff to put together another idea for a winter festival and come back to city council at a later date.

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