With just months to go before showtime, some of Hamilton’s largest free public festivals are looking for new sources of funding after the Ontario government unexpectedly denied their celebration grants.
Supercrawl will go on as planned this September, as will Festival of Friends in August, the events are already booked, but now organizers have to figure out how to fill budget holes left by celebrate Ontario funding.
Supercrawl founder Tim Potocic says the celebrate Ontario grants started about five years in and helped the event grow to the massive multi-day party the city gets now.
“It was a huge blow. We figured there would be a cut that we could manage, now the cut is much bigger, from 275 thousand to zero, about 25% of the entire budget. So it’s a massive hit we’re trying to figure out.”
Local Conservative MPP Donna Skelly said in a statement that while Festival of Friends and Supercrawl are great events, grants are never guaranteed. She also said she would ask the ministry why the decision was made so late in the process.
Ontario tourism critic and Hamilton-area NDP MPP Paul Miller’s cousin Bill Powell started Festival of Friends in Gage Park in 1976.
“It’s a huge economic blow to Hamilton to not fund these events. This is not open for business, this is closing businesses.” Paul Miller.