OrcaFest organizers request funds

OrcaFest 2015 organizers asked the Port McNeill council for funding

Orcafest 2015 has become a reality. Two of the festival organizers, Ashley Tapp and Jilly Laviolette were delegates at the Town of Port McNeill council meeting on June 1 requesting $5,000 for the Aug. 15 event and sharing their vision for the festival that, until recently, was in danger of not happening.

Mayor Shirley Ackland told Tapp and Laviolette that a decision to grant funding would not be made at the meeting, but that Council would decide by June 15.

Tapp and Laviolette said that their group of volunteers plans to move away from allocating a large portion of festival funds towards a Bounce-A-Rama, an expense that together with other inflatables cost $3,500 in 2014, and instead want to include fun, active games that encourage families to spend more time downtown.

The pair said that there has been a lot of interest from other groups and a great deal of support and help from additional volunteers. They said that the next step will be seeking out sponsors.

In May, the Port McNeill Chamber of Commerce announced that it would be unable to organize OrcaFest 2015 due to funding cuts and resources being directed to business community restructuring.

A group of community members banded together and spearheaded making the event happen.

“I’d like to commend your energy and enthusiasm,” Councillor Jay Dixon told Tapp and Laviolette.

The delegates also explained that they recognize the importance of organizing and delegating tasks.

“If we try to take it all on, we’re going to sink our ship,” they said.

In a May 25 email to council, Tapp and Laviolette also expressed their group’s interest in becoming a new community association to promote and host events and festivals.

Mayor Ackland suggested the committee hold off on becoming an association at the moment, a move that requires significant paperwork, and function with an already-established association. “As Council we are here to support what you want to do in the community,” said Ackland.