The weather was amazing. The teams, old and new, were great.
In the opinion of Funtastic Slo-Pitch and Music Festival board president Diana Williamson, the 33rd annual Canada Day long weekend event in Vernon, Armstrong and Enderby was a solid hit.
“Everything was really good,” said Williamson. “We had teams coming back that it was their 20-something year of being here. We had teams that were here for the first time. We had competitive teams and teams that were just here for fun.
“It was really nice to see the combination of teams.”
For the first time in years, Funtastic featured a competitive division with the Redline Reapers of Kelowna taking home the $2,500 first prize cheque with a one-run victory over Vancouver’s Don’t Hassle The Hoff in the final. The Hoffs pocketed $1,500.
The Reapers went undefeated.
The competitive division was one of many changes in this year’s tournament as Funtastic organizers decided to go back to the roots of the event and focus more on softball.
“Some things we tweaked a lot, some things we tweaked a little,” said Williamson. “We’ll have a meeting in the next week to go over the event.”
One of Williamson’s personal highlights was seeing large crowds gather to watch ball games under the lights near the beer gardens.
Also among the changes was having music played on the main stage at the Army Camp beer gardens throughout the day.
“I think a majority of fans and players liked that idea,” said Williamson. “The teams could be out playing, hear the music, and say, ‘hey, let’s go check that out after we’re done.’ And for some of the bands that were mainly garage bands, this gave them the experience of being up on a big stage with a large audience.”
The music festival remained a hit with Funtastic goers, with the lineup featuring an almost exclusive content of local musicians who played throughout the weekend.
“The music was really good with a great variety,” said Williamson. “Vernon and area is lucky to have so much talent.”
The Odds played the main stage Friday night, the Young’Uns performed Saturday and The Wild closed things out Sunday evening.
“The crowds were great all nights,” said Williamson “The Young’Uns played to a large crowd Saturday. Allied Security, the RCMP and bylaw officers were all on-site to ensure a fun, safe night for everyone.”
Vernon-North Okanagan RCMP Sgt. Tory Romailler said the crowds were generally very well behaved.
“It was fine,” said Romailler. “There were a few individuals arrested for drunken behaviour but generally everybody was great and having a good time.”
While Williamson was back at her regular job Tuesday, volunteers were still on-site at the camp tearing down the displays, tents and stage.
“We can’t run this without volunteers,” she said. “We wouldn’t be able to make it through the weekend.”
Registrations for the 2018 tournament can be done online at www.funtasticsports.ca.