The spotlight of Funtastic might be up at the DND grounds and on local baseball diamonds, but the real heart of the event spreads beyond those fields.
For three decades now, the Vernon and District Funtastic Sports Society has delivered more than $1.5 million to the region. From equipment purchases for youth sports to getting more seniors active, Funtastic has pitched in support for sports and recreation across the region.
“Our vision is to build a better community through sport,” said Brett Kirkpatrick, president.
This year is no different, except that in celebration of Funtastic’s 30th anniversary, nearly $30,000 has been granted to local sports groups and non-profit organizations.
“This is my favourite part,” said director Christine Bosworth as 13 local organizations were delivered cheques at the VantageOne Centre Monday. “This is what it’s all about.”
Each of the organizations was equally thrilled with the partnership with Funtastic which enhances sports and recreation for all ages.
It adds to an already exceptional year for the Vernon Judo Club.
The support from Funtastic ($2,500) means additional mats can be purchased for competitors, like 14-year-old Brendan Yakura, who recently returned from Quebec, where he earned silver in nationals.
While Funtastic is celebrating its own milestone, this year also marks 70 years for the Vernon Judo Club.
“We are the longest continually running judo club in Canada,” said Robert Dunlop, treasurer.
The support also means the Vernon and District Minor Football Association can purchase a new scoreboard ($4,500).
PacificSport Okanagan can fund a new transport trailer and wheelchairs for schools ($2,500).
More speed skates will help out youth at the Vernon Speed Skating Club ($3,500).
Soccerpatch kids will be getting some new goal posts through the North Okanagan Youth Soccer Association ($3,112).
More jump standards will be going up at the Vernon Pony Club ($3,000).
Vernon Soccer Association members can enjoy new benches at the VantageOne Centre ($974).
Enhanced safety will be ensured through new radios for the Vernon Ski Club Society ($2,679).
When they’re not running around, the kids at the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club of Vernon will get some gym benches to sit on ($1,750).
The increasing number of girls joining the Vernon Boxing Club will soon have proper changing facilities ($1,420).
Those taking to the waters with the Vernon Rowing and Dragon Boat Club will be safer thanks to some new equipment ($1,280).
Disadvantaged youth will have access to sports equipment at The Junction ($975 to the Literacy and Youth Initiatives Society of the North Okanagan).
A poolside wheelchair will give disabled individuals a chance to enjoy low-impact water exercises through the Kindale Developmental Association ($887).
Many of the same athletes, parents and coaches who benefit from the Funtastic funds also help make the event possible by volunteering at the June 27 to 30 event.
“Everybody who is up there is a volunteer,” said Kirkpatrick.
It’s the volunteers who make the event possible, 525 of them, but it is also the community that makes Funtastic the largest slo-pitch tournament and music festival in Canada.
“Remember that you are an ambassador for Vernon,” said Kirkpatrick.
“Well over half of the people come here from elsewhere, they come from Alberta, they come from New Mexico…”
For more information visit www.funtasticsports.ca. Tickets can be purchased at Save On Foods.