EDITORIAL: Event swings up more than fun
They call it Funtastic for a reason – it’s the most fun you can have with your cleats on.
Today marks the start of a 30-year-old tradition in Vernon, the Save-On-Foods Funtastic Slo-Pitch Tournament and A&W Music Festival.
It was 1984, when Okanagan Spring Brewery was born as well and coincidently 55 teams played the first ever Funtastic Slo-Pitch Tournament and $610 was raised for Special Olympics under the guidance of John Topping. Now, 30 years later, the tournament sells out at capacity of 216 teams and more than $1.5 million has been raised for our communities.
So while those swinging bats or rocking it up at the DND grounds (upwards of 16,000 pass through the gates over the weekend) might only think of this as a two-day fun-filled weekend, the reality is Funtastic’s effects are felt all year long.
Community and sports groups benefit from grants, recreational opportunities are expanded and the influx in town generates an approximately $4.5 million economic impact.
It’s thanks to everyone, from sponsors to teams and music lovers to each of the dedicated volunteers, who make this event such a success.
In fact, it is so successful that others are also waving the Funtastic flag. There’s even a Funtastic Okee Dokee Slo-Pitch Tournament in Port Alberni which marks its 26th year this weekend.
In fact, AC/DC cover band Who Made Who is playing there Sunday, after they entertain the crowds in Vernon Saturday.
And with players coming from as far as Alberta, Saskatchewan and even New Mexico, you could say that Funtastic has a nation-wide impact.
It is, after all, the largest slo-pitch tournament and music festival in the country.