$500K fund created to support P.E.I. festivals and events through another pandemic summer

·2 min read
The Summerside Lobster Carnival is planning a scaled-down event for July that will not include the midway of past years. (Explore Summerside/Facebook - image credit)
The Summerside Lobster Carnival is planning a scaled-down event for July that will not include the midway of past years. (Explore Summerside/Facebook - image credit)

The federal government has created a new fund to support festivals and events on P.E.I. through another summer of pandemic restrictions, Cardigan MP Lawrence MacAulay announced Thursday on behalf of the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

The P.E.I. Events Innovation Fund will be administered by the Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I., or TIAPEI.

From a pot of $495,000, the program will provide $7,500 to $35,000 to not-for-profit organizations to help them safely mount festivals and events on the Island as pandemic restrictions continue to affect attendance and capacity.

"Our tourism industry here on Prince Edward Island has been incredibly resilient this year, and I'm proud of how they've continued to adapt as we all work our way through this pandemic," MacAulay said in a written release.

"Festivals and events are a great opportunity for us to show what makes P.E.I. truly unique, and this investment will help sustain the many jobs connected to them."

Only a handful of P.E.I.'s more than 200 events went ahead in 2020.

Most of this year's events are still in the planning stages. Some, such as the Festival of Small Halls, already cancelled for a second straight year, while the Charlottetown Festival will go ahead on a smaller scale without large productions like Anne of Green Gables.

Personal and organized gathering limits are tentatively scheduled to be lifted in P.E.I. on Sept. 12.

'New and creative ways'

TIAPEI called the fund "a welcome support."

Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. CEO Corryn Clemence says they're 'excited' to begin rolling out the new fund to help festivals and events through another summer of pandemic restrictions.
Tourism Industry Association of P.E.I. CEO Corryn Clemence says they're 'excited' to begin rolling out the new fund to help festivals and events through another summer of pandemic restrictions. (Brian Higgins/CBC)

"We understand the struggle that operators have had adapting their products, and this fund will allow new and creative ways for festivals and events to be delivered," said TIAPEI CEO Corryn Clemence.

"This is an opportunity for new product to be developed and existing festivals and events to adapt and expand."

Applications are now open and information on the funding is available on TIAPEI's website. There will be funding for two seasons: summer and fall. All events must take place before the end of February 2022. Festivals and events may receive up to 75 per cent of eligible expenses. They will get 80 per cent of the money after signing an agreement with TIAPEI, and the rest only after reporting back on the event's economic, social and cultural impact and local vendors used.

Money for the new fund is coming from ACOA's Regional Economic Growth through Innovation program, the release said. It also noted the 2021 federal budget includes $101.4 billion over three years for Canada's COVID-19 recovery, including $1 billion for tourism businesses.

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