It was another great year for the Filberg Festival as far as producer Susan Lewis is concerned.
When I spoke to her two days after the last vendor and visitor left, Lewis and crew were still cleaning up from the four-day bash over the August long weekend.
“It’s a lot of work to take everything down,” says Lewis. “Especially since we work very hard to return the park to the way it was before the festival.”
This was the event’s 30th anniversary and to celebrate the occasion, Filberg Festival shopping bags were given to the first 300 people through the gates each day and 300 vanilla and chocolate cupcakes with sprinkles on top were served each afternoon at 3 p.m.
“It was a fun way to celebrate with people at the festival and the cupcakes were especially well received,” says Lewis.
Although exact numbers of people attending the festival wasn’t available, Lewis says everyone was happy with the crowd concentration. The visitor break down is typically 40 per cent Comox Valley residents, 10 per cent from the mid-Island and Campbell River north with a large crowd from Victoria and about five per cent coming from other parts of B.C. and elsewhere.
“We were competing with the Olympics this year and some afternoons were pretty warm,” says Lewis. “But people are always surprised at how cool the park is once they get there. Being right on the water and having all those big old trees creates a really pleasant atmosphere even on hot days.”
Artisans came from as far away as Ontario and Quebec to showcase and sell their wares. “Approximately 25 per cent of the 130 juried artisans were new this year, which makes for a nice change,” notes Lewis.
“As well as crafts and food the music continues to be a big draw,” she adds. “Our entertainment director, Bobbie Blue, always puts together a great music lineup. And the entrance fee is very reasonable considering that it includes music on two stages in a gorgeous setting.”
The fundraising raffle raised $13,000 with all proceeds going to the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park Association.
“They’re in the midst of a very aggressive five-year maintenance program required to upkeep and maintain the 4,000-square-foot lodge,” explains Lewis.
This is the second year that Lewis’ Qualicum-based company, Lewis and Sears Marketing and Event Management, has produced the festival. The complex and carefully orchestrated is put together by a team of more than 300 volunteers and fewer than 20 staff.
A small but significant change this year was opening the festival an hour earlier and closing an hour later each day.
“Everyone was really happy with the extended hours,” says Lewis. “We’re taking feedback now and will definitely do some tweaking next year as we try to come up with the perfect solution to everything.”
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A duo called Impossible Bird concludes the five-part Filberg Summer Concert Series this Thursday from 7 to 9 p.m. on the grounds of the Filberg Heritage Lodge and Park in Comox.
Tickets are sold at Blue Heron Books, Comox Videos N More, Bop City, Long & McQuade, Laughing Oyster Books and at the concert. There’s no charge for children 12 and younger. All proceeds go directly to renovations and restoration of the lodge and buildings in the park.
Bring a picnic dinner or dine at the Filberg Tea House. Call 250-339-0747 for tea house reservations.
For details, visit impossiblebird.com and www.filberg.com.