New additions to the year’s Scottish Festival aimed at sustaining event

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News

By Barb McKay

 

The Kincardine Scottish Festival and Highland Games are getting a financial boost from the Municipality.

 

Janice Griffith, event manager for the festival, made an appeal to Kincardine council at its meeting last Wednesday to provide $1,000 in funding to cover additional security costs for the festival after the committee learned that it is illegal to use volunteers to act as security. In previous years volunteers have helped to provide security during the daytime hours on the Friday and Saturday of the Scottish Fest, which runs July 5, 6 and 7. The committee had not accounted for the extra security cost in its budget.

 

Griffith noted that the Festival depends on ticket sales and liquor sales to cover its costs.

 

“We know we are one rainy Saturday away from financial disaster,” she said.

 

The festival committee has applied for community grants from the Municipality in the past but has never received one. As a result, it did not apply this year. Griffith said the committee has applied for an Ontario Trillium Grant to help sustain and market the event, which is now in its 13th year.

 

As well, the Scottish Festival is being expanded this year to include new events and activities. On Thursday evening, July 4, the festival is teaming up with the Bluewater Summer Playhouse and the Kincardine Theatre Guild for a show; Legs in Kilts. Coinciding with the show is a contest for a variety of legs – knobbiest, gnarliest, skinniest and hairiest, just to name a few. Judging will take place on the Friday evening. In addition, the committee is adding an Institute of Scottish Culture, which will feature Celtic fiddling workshops.

 

Griffith also asked council, on behalf of the committee, to allow the beer tent to be expanded to cover all of Victoria Park on the Saturday from 11 a.m. until 8 p.m. The reasoning was that by allowing alcohol consumption within the entire park, it would promote responsible drinking because patrons would not be downing drinks quickly in the beer tent in order to get to events, such as the piping competitions, in time.

 

“I don’t believe it’s the right thing to do to license the whole park,” said councillor Ken Craig. “I’m sure it probably says somewhere that if you don’t gag down your beer, you’re smarter, but I think it also sends a good message to our younger people to have to have a beer in your hand to have a good time.”

 

Councillor Maureen Couture didn’t agree, pointing out that the entire park is licensed for the annual Gathering of the Bands and there haven’t been any issues.

 

Councillor Ron Coristine noted that it would set a better example to young people to enjoy a beer casually than to hide away in a beer tent and chug a drink down in order to get out and see an event.

 

“I look forward to teaching our children to drink responsibly,” he said.

 

Council agreed to license the entire park for the Saturday of the festival. Deputy mayor Anne Eadie said the festival, and other events that promote tourism and generate revenue for the community, should be included in the Municipality’s events policy, which is being developed.

 

“Next year, we need to do this a bit differently and I think with our new policy we will,” she said.

 

Council agreed to allocate $1,000 to help cover security costs.