Events like the just completed Peach Festival, the upcoming Challenge Penticton and many more, large and small, are important to the area, and now the City of Penticton wants to be more involved in their development.
These events form a part of the fabric of community, and are enjoyed by locals just as the many participants and tourists they draw to town.
Now, as part of a developing Eventful Penticton strategy, the city is hoping to grow existing events and nurture new ones.
“We will proactively go after events that fascinate our target markets and fit our budget and our community. Our strategy will help us determine what to do and just as important, what not to do,” said Chad Douglas, sports and events project manager for Penticton.
The suggestion includes strategies to help event planners in the city network, both with other local groups, and to work with the private sector. It also highlights promotion as a key strategy for 2017.
But it also suggests the city become more involved in succession planning for the various events. Mayor Andrew Jakubeit said the city wouldn’t be inserting themselves into the groups and societies that put on the events, describing city involvement as “more of holding their hand on developing some basic succession plan.”
“Usually, it is one or two key people in an organization that do 90 per cent of the work. Some events just fizzle and go away because there is no one there to help transfer the torch, so to speak,” said Jakubeit, adding the city would also try to link them with some of the other groups for getting volunteers, leveraging a similar event or similar sport or put them in touch with some professionals to help them get sponsorship.
“It is not the intention we would just barge in and say do it this way,” said Jakubeit.
“It is more of, if you need help we are here to help you grow your event and make it successful.”
The Eventful Penticton strategy also suggested some events could be encouraged to change their date to spread into the shoulder seasons, which would also help alleviate volunteer burnout.
Douglas praised the work of the volunteers, but said he thought the experience of the people attending events would be “even better if we can spread them out a bit.” “I do believe the piling on of events in the same timing, summer timing or in a long weekend, contribute very much to the fact these volunteers are spread so thin in our community,” said Douglas. “We are looking at incentives … ways we can make it more economically viable, add incentives for events to move into those off peak periods.”
“Last year we were fortunate with the Young Stars not being on the same weekend with jazz fest and dragon boats. When it was, you couldn’t get a hotel room, so people wouldn’t come and so all three events were actually impacted by that,” said Jakubeit. “All three of them will say we are historically this weekend, or the musicians that come through, this week is blocked off for them. It is not as easy sometimes to make that shift.”
Douglas said it is expected to take four to five years for Penticton to see big benefits from the shift he is proposing.
“Next steps in building the Eventful Penticton strategy include determining who and how much the city dedicates to event hosting. From there we can assign financial and human resources where the city is best suited and ask funders and partners to assume other activities,” said Douglas.