Apple Blossom Festival looks for donations after sponsors drop out
The 6-day festival, now in its 84th year, costs more than $100,000 to put on, its president says
Organizers of the Annapolis Valley's Apple Blossom Festival say it's getting harder to pay for the annual event and they're hoping an online fundraising campaign will help stir up donations.
A board member set up a GoFundMe campaign Monday night. By Tuesday at noon the effort had raised about $90 of the $70,000 goal.
Gary Long, president of the Apple Blossom festival, said it is running into "some financial glitches" because some longtime sponsors won't be donating money this year.
He said it costs more than $100,000 to put on the six-day event.
'Shake the tree'
"It's an event that for 84 years people have looked forward to in the Valley. People come from the city for the weekend for Apple Blossom Festival and the parade," he said.
"It's a cultural thing in the Valley and it's in our best interests to keep it going and that's what we're striving for."
Long told CBC Radio's Mainstreet the Valley has lost businesses in recent years and others are downsizing their contributions.
"We're hoping this will maybe shake the tree a bit for some of the people that we didn't know about to contact us to see if we could get sponsorship or get support."
But the pitch for funds has proved controversial, Long said, because some people thought it was a scam.
Kentville Police Chief Ken Reade said officers received an inquiry about whether the pitch for funds was a fraud.
Festival will go ahead
Long hopes the controversy doesn't get in the way of the campaign and said there was never any question that the festival would go ahead this year.
"People are thinking [the festival] is in such dire straights and they're misreading the whole campaign," he said.
The festival's theme this year is "East Coast to the Core — Celebrating Nova Scotia" and it's scheduled to run May 25 to May 30. The event's website describes it as the second-longest running festival in Canada.
It is set to feature a parade down Main Street, a children's parade and a leadership competition — the choosing of Queen Annapolisa and her princesses.
Long, who is also a town crier, has been personally involved in the festival for three decades. He said the family-oriented weekend hasn't changed much over the past four decades and it's the result of a year-round effort from a team of volunteers from Digby to Windsor.
With files from Mainstreet