Let the fun(tastic) begin.
Today is the start of the 29th annual Funtastic Slo-Pitch Tournament and Music Festival, which will see approximately 4,500 ball players taking part in the four days of action on the fields and at the DND grounds.
“There’s 216 teams in Vernon alone and with Armstrong and Enderby there’s another 82,” said Jim McEwan, Funtastic executive director.
While a number of the teams are locals, many of the teams have travelled great distances (as far as Iqaluit, Nunavut) to be part of North America’s largest slo-pitch tournament.
“Funtastic is growing,” beams McEwan.
Alberta makes up more than a quarter of the participants (80 teams), and even they aren’t letting the local flooding and detours keep them from playing.
“They’re coming, hell or high water, for the sunshine,” said McEwan, noting that only one team couldn’t make it.
“We’ve got a few (Alberta) teams who are looking for players as some of their players work in emergency services or with the municipalities and couldn’t make it.”
Tonight’s music festival entertainment includes Original Shakedown, The Dirt, The Young’Uns and Honeymoon Suite.
Mace kicks off Saturday night’s entertainment, followed by the Legendary Lake Monsters, Barracuda and Sweet.
Funtastic goes country Sunday with headliners Julian Austin and Aaron Pritchett after Cod Gone Wild and The Goods.
Then the fun extends into Monday when Big Wreck and Theory of a Deadman rock the stage before the fireworks light up the skies (10:45 p.m.).
“We are planning for the biggest Canada Day celebration this town has ever seen,” said McEwan, adding that the events aren’t sold out yet, but are going fast at A&W and ticketseller.ca
Even a special family section has been added outside of the beverage gardens for the Canada Day concert.
Those wanting to take in the fireworks but avoid parking hassles can take a shuttle from the Performing Arts Centre starting at 8 p.m. and retuning at approximately 11 p.m.
The Get Home Safe Shuttle will also be running Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting at 10 p.m. until 3 a.m. This shuttle will run until midnight Monday.
“We want to make sure everyone gets home safe,” said McEwan.