An infusion of cash could have a long-term benefit for Armstrong-Spallumcheen’s economy.
The federal Department of Canadian Heritage has provided $15,000 to the Armstrong-Spallumcheen Chamber of Commerce’s Harvest Pumpkin Festival.
“We were shocked when we got the news,” said Sandra Starke, chamber chairperson.
This year’s 11th annual festival runs from Oct. 21 to 22 at the fairgrounds, and it includes the Great Pumpkin catapult, pumpkin carving, lawn tractor races, a dance and farmers market.
Last year, about 3,700 people participated in the festival.
It’s expected that the grant will allow organizers to expand festivities.
“We’re hoping to possibly offer more entertainment and more vendors,” said Starke.
Increased marketing throughout the region may also be possible.
“We hope to get more tourists into the area, which will help our local businesses and economy,” said Starke.
It will also help cover costs for the pumpkins and facility rentals.
The funding takes significant pressure off of the chamber.
“We’re a non-profit organization and our events have to break even,” said Starke.
“If we don’t have to come up with all of the funding, it’s great for the community.”
Chris Pieper, Armstrong mayor, is pleased that the chamber has received federal recognition.
“Most times groups are scrounging for donations for events so this is really good news for the community,” he said.
Pieper classifies the Harvest Pumpkin Festival as one of the key events that raises Armstrong’s profile.
“It’s pretty big because of the family-oriented activities,” he said.
“Last year there were 12 or 13 pumpkin launchers and people have a lot of fun.”