Parksville could lose $18 million as popular beach festival cancelled due to COVID-19

Parksville could lose $18 million as popular beach festival cancelled due to COVID-19
Parksville Beach Festival / Facebook
The sand castle competition is just one of many events cancelled in the Beach Festival

The Parksville Beach Festival Society has cancelled the 2020 beach festival due to COVID-19 after an “eleventh-hour decision” by its board.

With this announcement, the Quality Foods Sand Sculpting Competition and Exhibition, Art in the Park, Tim Hortons Summer Concert Series, Lunch with the Castles, Canadian Tire Sculpt like the Pros and the Coast Capital Savings Light-up! Show are all cancelled due to COVID-19.

With an average of 122,000 annual event visitors over the past five years, Cheryl Dill, president of the Beach Festival Society, said in a press release that the event would pose a significant health risk in light of the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Because the rules around gatherings and a social distancing have not yet changed and our event planning involves significant travel arrangements from around the globe, well in advance, it does not make sense to continue with plans for 2020,” said Dill.

The board says the cancellation of the Parksville Beach Festival will have a significant social and economic impact on the community. According to research completed using the Sport Tourism Economic Assessment Model (STEAM), the Parksville Beach Festival’s annual events reel in more than $18 million for the local economy each year.

“Not only will many businesses, contractors, local not-for-profit groups serving as gate ambassadors and our society feel the financial impact of this cancellation, our community will feel the loss of a well-respected event that garners significant social cohesion and boosts community pride,” says Dill.

Annually, the board transfers a significant portion of gate donations to an average of 25 philanthropic groups in the Parksville-Qualicum region, which will not be possible this year.

“While our heads are hanging low with this decision, we know we need to do our part for the health and safety of our community”, says Dill. “We will continue to plan for a fantastic festival in 2021.”

For more information details about the festival, visit their website.

Rebecca LawrenceRebecca Lawrence

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