Funtastic runs in Vernon

Funtastic runs in Vernon

Funtastic attracts enthusiastic crowd

It’s Funtastic time in the North Okanagan.

It’s Funtastic time in the North Okanagan.

Canada’s largest slowpitch tournament kicks off Thursday and runs until Sunday in Vernon, Enderby and Armstrong.

“There’s a real spirit with the community coming together,” said Brett Kirkpatrick, Funtastic Sports Society president.

A total of 300 teams will take part in the 27th annual Funtastic, with 216 of them in Vernon.

It’s expected that 5,000 people from outside of the North Okanagan  will take part in the fun.

“We’re full,” said Kirkpatrick of the ongoing popularity of the tournament.

“Some teams have been coming the whole time.”

Besides slowpitch, the other major component of Funtastic is the music festival at the Vernon Army Camp.

Thousands of people are expected to be on site.

“People are calling to get tickets for Glass Tiger,” said Kirkpatrick of the ‘80s band, which takes to the stage Thursday.

The other headliners are Great White Friday and Blaze of Glory Saturday.

“People are coming from Washington State, Vancouver and Calgary for the music,” said Kirkpatrick.

“With Canada Day and the fireworks, there will be a sell-out Friday.”

During the four days of Funtastic, about $4.2 million is pumped into the local economy.

“The hotels sell right out,” said Kirkpatrick, adding that restaurants and other businesses also benefit.

Funds raised during Funtastic also go back to community groups.

“Since it began, Funtastic has given back $1.2 million,” said Kirkpatrick.

Funds were recently presented to the Vernon Rowing and Paddling Centre, the Okanagan Boys and Girls Club,  Vernon Senior Men’s Baseball, the Vernon Tennis Association, the Vernon Kokanee Swim Club, Vernon Minor Fastball, the Schubert Centre, North Okanagan Youth Soccer and the Vernon Curling Club.