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Niverville fair trims budget

By: Jordan Ross

Posted: 03/9/2018 9:15 AM

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The committee behind Niverville’s Olde Tyme Country Fair plans to trim the event’s budget by about 35 percent in a bid to rainproof its finances and lay a foundation for sustainable growth, a spokesperson says.

Promotions and sponsorship coordinator Dustin Krahn said the committee is currently working to ensure proposed changes have a minimal effect on festivalgoer experience.

The goal is to replenish the fair’s reserve fund, which Krahn said has been eroded by wet weekend weather the past few years, including a steady rain last June that dampened Friday turnout in more ways than one.

A larger reserve fund will better position the fair for future growth and make revenues less reliant on walk-up ticket sales, which Krahn noted are often weather-dependent.

"It’s a matter of risking money we have versus risking money we don’t have," he said.

Admissions prices will likely be adjusted to incentivize advance ticket sales, Krahn said.

Pre-ordered weekend passes may retail for the same price as a walk-up day pass, and passes for children under 12 could drop to $5, Krahn said, bringing the festival within reach for more families with children, especially if they’re willing to plan ahead.

An impressive but expensive Friday night fireworks show may also be eliminated, and security, printing, and entertainment costs are currently under review, though this year’s musical acts have already been booked, Krahn said.

He acknowledged the fluctuating value of the Canadian dollar poses a challenge for organizers every year.

However, sponsorships are holding steady, and Krahn said the Town of Niverville is transitioning toward a sponsorship model after years of providing contingency support.

Historically, the town supplied advertising dollars and zeroed the fair’s balance sheet in the event of a loss, said the town’s business manager, Eric King.

Last year that worked out to a $9,000 sponsorship, a $10,000 insurance payout, and a further $10,500 to help with outstanding debt, said town finance clerk Dawn Penner.

This year, the town will provide a $30,000 sponsorship and extend a maximum of $29,000 of insurance coverage, with the latter ending in 2019, Penner said.

Public feedback on the fair committee’s proposed changes can be emailed to info@nivervillefair.com.

The 2018 Niverville Olde Tyme Country Fair takes place June 8-9.

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