Grayson Speirs of Nanaimo follows through with his shot during a game of bowling during the annual KidFest at Parksville’s Community Beach Sunday, Aug. 20. The 2018 KidFest could be cancelled if the festival’s board can’t get enough volunteers. — NEWS file photo

Parksville KidFest on verge of being cancelled

Annual children's festival threatened with cancellation in the past

Parksville’s 2018 KidFest could be cancelled if the organizing committee doesn’t get more volunteers soon.

Heather Mahony, chair of the Oceanside KidFest Society, said the board held its annual general meeting Wednesday, (Feb. 7, and only two new volunteers showed up. Mahony also said that of last year’s committee members, only three or four people are able to commit to volunteering again this year.

“The event is in jeopardy of being cancelled,” she said.

This isn’t the first time KidFest has faced possible cancellation, Mahony said.

Last year the committee struggled to find volunteers and the past couple of years, there has been a problem finding volunteers for the event day, she added.

“Somehow it always manages to work out,” Mahony said.

“People really enjoy the event and want it to continue. But I think with everyone’s busy lives, they don’t want to make that commitment to put the time and energy into actually running the event… which actually isn’t that much work.”

Most of the organizing is done through email, Mahony said.

“Maybe it just seems really daunting, I’m not quite sure why people choose not to help,” she said. “There is a lot of support for the event to continue, but no one really wants to take the time to commit to help.”

Mahony said she joined the committee about five years ago when the board at the time put a call out for more volunteers. She said at that time, the committee was in a similar situation with KidFest in jeopardy of being cancelled.

“It’s not uncommon that this happens, usually the threat of it being cancelled will encourage enough people to come out and help, however, that doesn’t seem to be the case this time,” Mahony said.

The time and effort people put into helping run this event, Mahony said, is very minimal compared to the impact it has on thousands of families that attend.

“We had people contacting us last year between April and July to find out when the 2018 event would be because they wanted to book their holidays around it,” Mahony said. “They’re always so happy and excited (to attend). It’s very rewarding to see that.”

Mahony said there would definitely be an impact on tourism if KidFest were to be cancelled. KidFest is held annually to coincide with the Quality Foods Children’s Sandcastle Competition and the Quality Foods Festival of Lights.

The KidFest board will hold one more meeting as a last attempt to fill vacant positions on the committee. The meeting is scheduled for Feb. 21 at 7 p.m. at the Quality Resort Bayside (240 Dogwood St., Parksville).

Mahony said it would be nice if the committee could get a minimum of five more volunteers. She also said the event day usually needs about 20 volunteers.

“Right now, we’re just more focused on planning.”

Mahony said people who want to know more about the vacant committee positions can email info@kidfest.ca.