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Carrot Fest, Santa Claus Parade set to return to Bradford West Gwillimbury in 2022

Carrot Fest, Santa Claus Parade set to return to Bradford West Gwillimbury in 2022

Excitement is in the air as the municipality plans for 19 events in town this year

Finally, Carrot Fest is coming back to Bradford.

Everyone’s favourite vegetable-themed summer festival is planned to return after a two-year pandemic-induced absence this year, taking place Aug. 19 and 20.

It’s one of 19 events planned for 2022 in conjunction with the Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury’s Events and Marketing Division. Bethany Kuboniwa, leisure events and marketing supervisor provided councillors with an overview of what’s in store this year during the Feb. 15 committee-of-the-whole meeting.

Six of the events are new this year, including Volunteer Appreciation on April 20, Touch a Truck on May 18, the 10th anniversary of the Bradford West Gwillimbury Leisure Centre on May 28, National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21, Multicultural Day on June 27 and Youth Movie Night at a date to be determined.

As well the Santa Claus Parade is set to return in 2022, booked for Nov. 19. Once again, the local Santa Claus Parade will be a night-time affair.

For Coun. Ron Orr, seeing all the events outlined in the report was reason to get excited.

“After two years of what we’ve gone through with COVID… I think it’s going to give you a lot of positive feelings going forward for all our mental health,” he said.

Pre-COVID, overall event attendance was on the rise, with a 30 per cent jump between 2016, where nearly 50,000 people attended local events and 2019, which saw more than 70,000 people attend. Town staff are confident that the enthusiasm for community events remains as pandemic restrictions are lifted and what is hoped to be a more normal spring, summer and fall appears on the horizon.

Not only was attendance on the rise, but sponsorship was also increasing, going up by almost 80 per cent between 2015 and 2019. This year, the town is looking to bring in $125,000 in sponsorship to help put the events on.

A more fulsome town sponsorship policy is in the works and will be brought before council for approval later this year.

“The policy will seek to outline the sponsorship process including sponsorship selection, first right of refusal, and sponsorship benefits,” a staff report stated. “This is an important process to acknowledge as the sponsorship program grows.”

New advertising opportunities will also be explored by the town this year, including on-ice logo advertising and Zamboni wrapping.

Kuboniwa also gave councillors an overview of the proposed road closures for special events in 2022. While there is little difference from past closures for events, such as the Our Lady of Fatima procession, Carrot Fest or the Run for BWG, the recommendation approved by the committee allows for the town’s Director of Community Services Terry Foran to have authority to make minor changes to the planned closures as required.

All events and associated road closures are contingent on the status of provincial COVID-19 restrictions at the time.