PHOTOS: Funtastic ready to rock Vernon

Thomas Wells gets the ball diamonds tuned up at the DND grounds for the Funtastic Slo Pitch Tournament Thursday, June 30. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)Thomas Wells gets the ball diamonds tuned up at the DND grounds for the Funtastic Slo Pitch Tournament Thursday, June 30. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Thomas Wells gets the ball diamonds ready for the Funtastic Slo Pitch Tournament at the DND grounds Thursday, June 30. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)Thomas Wells gets the ball diamonds ready for the Funtastic Slo Pitch Tournament at the DND grounds Thursday, June 30. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
The beverage gardens are all set for the Funtastic A&W Music Festival at the DND grounds June 30-July 2. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)The beverage gardens are all set for the Funtastic A&W Music Festival at the DND grounds June 30-July 2. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
The RCMP will be camped out June 30-July 2 at the DND grounds for the Funtastic A&W Music Festival. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)The RCMP will be camped out June 30-July 2 at the DND grounds for the Funtastic A&W Music Festival. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
Thomas Wells grates the ball diamonds at the DND grounds in preparation for the Funtastic Slo Pitch Tournament Thursday, June 30. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)Thomas Wells grates the ball diamonds at the DND grounds in preparation for the Funtastic Slo Pitch Tournament Thursday, June 30. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
There are plenty of options for eats from food trucks and vendors June 30-July 2 at the DND grounds for the Funtastic A&W Music Festival. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)There are plenty of options for eats from food trucks and vendors June 30-July 2 at the DND grounds for the Funtastic A&W Music Festival. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)
The stage is set to rock for three nights June 30-July 2 at the DND grounds for the Funtastic A&W Music Festival. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)The stage is set to rock for three nights June 30-July 2 at the DND grounds for the Funtastic A&W Music Festival. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

The stage is set, ball diamonds are prepped, RCMP are camped out and the community is ready for some Funtastic.

The annual slo pitch tournament and music festival is expected to be a hit after COVID-19 knocked the event out for two years. It gets underway Thursday, June 30 through to Sunday, July 2.

Grounds Guys employee Thomas Wells was busy putting the final preparations on the ball diamonds Thursday morning. He is excited to see the event back at the Department of National Defence grounds and around town.

“I take care of all the ball diamonds,” said Wells, who was using a sand pro to grate around the bases.

“The last two years have been a challenge.

“With COVID no one was playing ball, I thought ‘oh this will be easy.’ Then all of a sudden the weeds started popping up.”

Without players running bases and sliding home, mother nature started to take over.

“The people playing ball help me keep my fields cleaner.”

The fields will sure get a lot of traction over the next three days as 112 ball teams make their way to the diamonds all around town, as well as in Enderby.

While the number of teams is far fewer than the event normally attracts, the games will go on and spectators are welcome to come watch and cheer on the players, including those who dress up for the games. Opening pitches take place at 5:15 p.m. Thursday on 13 diamonds around town. Games start at 8 a.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday with the last games played at 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2:30 p.m. Sunday.

The party starts at 4 p.m. Thursday at the DND grounds with the Funtastic Market open in the beverage gardens. You can also check out the silent auction in guest services. It is kick-off party night with prize giveaways including a chance to win a Sicamous Houseboat vacation (winner must be there for the draw). DJ Lunchboxx (Tyler Smart) will be spinning from 7 p.m.-1 a.m., with Shawn Lightfoot Band taking the stage 8:30-11 p.m.

Friday features some fun for the kids with the Okanagan Science Centre Family & Minors Zone at noon around the Hey y’all diamond five.

Big kids can play some games too in the beverage gardens.

Celebrities get in the game at 2:30 at diamond five for a friendly game of ball.

The party gets rocking with local classics at 7 p.m. in the beverage gardens with DJ Lunchboxx spinning around Noble Crew at 7:30 p.m., The Young’uns at 9 and Darby Mills Project at 10:30.

The Kids zone and big kids games continue Saturday at noon followed by Country Night at the Wild Saloon in the beer gardens featuring Ben Klick at 7:30 p.m., Dirt Road Kinds at 9 and Aaron Pritchett at 10:30, with DJ Lunchboxx in between sets.

Sunday fun continues with games for the big and little kids again at noon.

Throughout the weekend players and party-goers are urged not to drink and drive, therefore Funtastic, the City of Vernon and Home Building Centre are offering free transit from the festival site to downtown, starting at 10 p.m. Taxis will also be on site.

Funtastic contributes thousands of dollars annually to local sports groups and initiatives through proceeds from the event. There are also 50/50 tickets being sold and raffle tickets before the draw July 2.

For more information or tickets to the concerts visit funtasticsports.ca. Tickets are also available at the entrance.

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