John MacDougall (left) and Connor Callaghan

John MacDougall (left) and Connor Callaghan

Funtastic swings up fun in Vernon, Enderby and Armstrong

The 32nd annual Funtastic Slo Pitch Tournament and Music Festival runs from Thursday to Sunday

Get ready for the crack of the bat and some sweet sounds.

The 32nd annual Funtastic Slo Pitch Tournament and Music Festival runs from Thursday to Sunday in Vernon, Enderby and Armstrong.

Diana Williamson, new president of the Funtastic Sports Society, is experiencing a different view of Funtastic from previous years when she handled registration.

“There’s lots to learn,” she said.

Williamson is quite familiar with the teams. This year, teams from the Lower Mainland and Alberta are gathering to compete.

Williamson remembers the Pink Kanoes well as they have been participating for around 12 years and Karaoke Bar, which changes names every year, but always carry a “Bar.”

The costumes are a fan favourite.

“A couple years age we had a team dressed up as Transformers,” said Williamson.

Every time the Transformer made it to a base, he’d turn into an ambulance, she laughed.

Some 202 teams will be competing this year, with up to 18 members on each team.

“It’s turned into Canada’s largest slo pitch/music festival,” said  new executive director Tony Pallas.

Preparation and organization is essential.

“Everything’s very strategically planned and outlined,” said Pallas.

They have over 35 suppliers on site at any given time, he said.

“We have a volunteer force that is unsurpassed… our capacity is 7,000, including 500 to 600 staff.

“We are bringing in usually over 15 to 17,000 (people) just to come to town, just for this tournament,” said Pallas.

They generally like five days to set up, but because of Canada Day being Friday, the set up will be completed in three and a half days, he said.

Food will be available from a variety of food trucks.

“We got a guy coming up from the Lower Mainland that makes (acclaimed) donairs. It’s super cool. Half the fun is coming up and eating,” he said.

The misting water tent will be available to keep people cool with the predicted hot weekend approaching. Water will be provided as well, said Williamson.

Armstrong will celebrate its 27th annual tournament and Enderby hosts its 18th annual.

The Okanagan Spring Gardens open at 2 p.m. Thursday at Vernon’s DND with Cosmic Brew, Noble Crew and the Young’Uns kick starting the music festival.

Headliners Platinum Blonde and Big Sugar take to the stage Saturday night.

The first game will start at 5:15 p.m. Thursday and playoffs end Sunday afternoon, said Williamson.

The Funtasic Sports Society is a non-profit society that generates funds for community activities. This year they gave away $30,000 in grants.

For more information about the tournament, visit funtasticsports.ca.