35th Bala Cranberry Festival One Of The Most Successful To Date

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Bala Cranberry Festival
Photo by Maddie Binning

The 35th Bala Cranberry Festival was one of the most successful to date. Always the weekend after Thanksgiving, Bala’s beloved festival was fortunate enough to have 135 volunteers, 16,000 paid event attendees, and 3 amazing days of weather. Local businesses and community organizations reported it as one of their busiest weekends yet, and the economic impact of the festival was seen as far as Port Carling, Bracebridge and Gravenhurst.
As is their annual tradition, the festival distributed its Community Funding grants just in time for the holiday season. The Bala Cranberry Festival Community Funding is a non-repayable grant that is made available to not-for-profit associations centered in, or benefiting those of, the Township of Muskoka Lakes. Preference is given to those groups that have youth and/or community values at their core.
Festival organizers awarded the funding grants on December 18, 2019 in Bala. On one of the coldest nights of the year (a reported -27 degrees celsius), the mood was warm and jovial indoors, as volunteers and organizations shared information on projects and citizens that these monies will be benefiting. Groups included local youth sports such as figure skating, hockey, soccer, and ringette. Local youth outreach and support programs including YWCA, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Muskoka, One Kids Place, Camp Kodiak, Camp Ooch, and Opening Doors for Young Women of Muskoka. Other notable programs such the Bala Library, Bala Santa Claus Parade, and Bala’s Meals on Wheels – a program that served over 800 meals over the last year. Overall there was plenty of
smiles, stories, and gratitude to be shared.
“This is what makes the Bala Cranberry Festival so very special. Hundreds of volunteers come together to put on an incredible weekend, one of the most genuine displays of community pride you will ever come across,” says Jordan Mulligan, Festival Chair. “Even more amazing, the festival is able to donate proceeds to so many incredible, worthy causes that benefit so many people in our community. There is truly no other festival like the Bala Cranberry Festival.”
In total, $43,985 was distributed to support 27 community groups, 1 community project, and 5 youth scholarships. An additional $7,641 of in-kind donations were made throughout the festival weekend through artist subsidies, free booth space for not-for-profit community groups, paid parking fundraising initiatives and building rentals of not-for-profit groups.
The AGM for the festival is scheduled for February 12th 2020, 6:30pm at the Bala Community Centre. Nominations for the 2020 board are open, and interested individuals are requested to submit nominations by January 31 2020 by email at cbfest@muskoka.com

Muskoka411 is a proud sponsor of the Bala Cranberry Festival

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