Christmas came early for Muskoka community groups last night in Bala.
The Bala Cranberry Festival Board of Directors gave contributions totaling $41,302 to 28 community groups who applied for funding raised by the Bala Cranberry Festival.
About 40 people were on hand at Bala Bay Food and Spirits to accept the funding for their various groups, ranging from Andy’s House, Big Brothers Big Sisters Muskoka, the Bala Santa Claus Parade, Gravenhurst Supper Club, Port Carling Youth Synchro Teams, Camp Oochigeas. Walker’s Point Archival & Heritage Group, and to PFLAG Canada (to name just a few).
“More groups applied this year than ever before and we were happy to be able to give everyone something,” says Event Manager Tania Cowley.
She says over 10,500 people attended the festival this year, despite the weather station reports not being in the festival’s favour, and proceeds from button sales always go back to the community. There were also four scholarships awarded for a total of $2,000 in scholarship funds. One previous winner of the Weismiller award, Wyatt Poulton of Port Carling, was a scholarship winner again this year to help continue his studies at the University of Waterloo. He couldn’t attend last night but sent a video message thank you instead.
The three other scholarship winners were Andrew Atkin of Gravenhurst who is studying at OCAD University; Haley Hall of Port Carling, who will be attending either Western University or University of Waterloo; and Noelle Griffioen of Milford Bay at Queen’s University.
“We also like to recognize volunteers who really went above and beyond,” says Cowley who says the Festival Board has reinstated the Volunteer Ambassador Award. This year it went to two ladies who worked hard on set up and tear down of the festival: Janie Graham and Janet Frasier.
“Being a volunteer based Festival, we rely on the support of the entire community and it’s really awesome to see that such a small group of volunteers can put on such a great event,” adds Cowley. She thanks all sponsors including major sponsors such as Johnston’s Cranberry Marsh, Weismiller Timber Mart, Napoleon Home Comfort, Hammond Transportation, Muskoka Lumber, Bala Freshmart, Ted Smith Construction and Bedrock Landscapes.
The grants were given out last night by Cranberry Festival Board President and emcee for the evening, Tiffany Bol, who has served on the Board for seven years.
(Photo via Muskoka News Watch)