Opinion

EDITORIAL: Sea Festival needs people to stay afloat

While thousands look forward to taking part each year in White Rock’s Sea Festival – which celebrates its 65th year this summer – one thing is clear:

If it is going to survive another 65 years, it will need the full support of the community, from White Rock city hall and event organizers to businesses and other groups.

And if such support is forthcoming, it’d be prudent for it to come as soon as possible – yes, a half a year early –  for these types of events, if done right, take meticulous planning and organization.

If the annual summer festival is to rebound this year from last year’s poorly received effort – which included a revamped, largely float-less torchlight parade, and which the former co-ordinator admitted tried to be “bigger than it should have been” – then the pressure mounts even further, as two failed festivals in a row would no doubt be difficult to recover from.

A new group of organizers – who’ve been meeting since August in an effort to keep the Sea Festival alive – are no doubt aware of that fact, and are working tirelessly to create a festival that is not only exciting and fun for residents, but also sustainable long into the future.

History, at least, is on their side. This is not the first time the Sea Festival has hit rocky waters since it first began in 1952. Interest in the event ebbed and flowed in its early years, and the festival was rocked by a funding scandal in the 1990s, which resulted in the dissolution of the original organizing body.

So here we are anew, with a committee of fresh faces aiming to steer the festival off the rocks and into calmer waters.

They’re aiming for a weekend-long event – Aug. 1-4 – with fireworks and a Sunday parade, while adding that two things are needed most of all: money and people.

And while some funding may be on the way to help with the former – organizers asked White Rock council this month for $70,000 – the committee could surely use more of the latter.

Organizers both past and present have routinely said Sea Festival has lasted as long as it has because people on the Peninsula have always cared about it.

Now’s the time to show them they’re right.

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