Nanaimo’s first Heritage Days celebration won’t be strapped for cash, but lassoing sponsors is proving problematic as Victoria Day long weekend approaches.
Morgan Carey, owner of Real Estate Webmasters, guaranteed $50,000 to cover event costs, hoping other corporate sponsors would step up to absorb some of that commitment. Tuesday Carey was still holding the bulk of the sponsorship bag.
“To date we have literally zero major financial sponsors for Nanaimo Heritage Days which is truly disappointing,” Carey said in an e-mail to the News Bulletin.
So far the city has contributed $5,250 earmarked for the former Empire Days.
Corry Hostetter, DNBIA executive director, confirmed in late March the association committed $1,500 cash, plus staff time and in-kind donations.
Bob Wall, owner of R.W. Wall Ltd., contributed $1,000, Motherload Transport gave $500, plus there is a smattering of $50 and $20 donations, Carey said.
In-kind donations have been committed too, from portable toilets to entertainment. Carey estimates less than $10,000 of the $50,000 he committed has come through so far.
Angie Barnard, event coordinator, said she is pushing to have 100 entrants in the first Heritage Days parade. Last year’s Empire Days parade had 65.
Parade and vendor registration is active. Links to registration forms are on the Nanaimo Heritage Days Facebook page at www.facebook.com/nanaimohd.
Four parade entrants have registered and another 25 have verbally committed. One of those entries will include a restored 1967 Ford Bronco, which Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay said Tuesday he and Snuneymuxw First Nation Chief John Wesley will ride in together.
“I would say any momentum that we might have lost, with the threat to the event being cancelled, we’ve gained back and then some,” Barnard said. “We’ve got so many community groups that have contacted us and asked, ‘How can we be involved?’ Volunteers that have come out of the woodwork, so now it’s just a matter of putting ideas or willingness to paper.”
This year’s fireworks program will be set to music, with the score and commentary broadcast by Island Radio.