Fresh off advancing to the Okanagan Rugby Union final for a third straight year, the two-time defending ORU champion Vernon Jackals took to a different pitch Monday.
Members of the Jackals were recruited to help the Funtastic Slo-Pitch Society set up the grounds at the Vernon Army Camp for the 34th annual ball tournament and music festival, which begins Friday.
“The rugby guys were here last night and unloaded about 55 picnic tables in about 20 minutes,” said Funtastic director Ryan McGiverin in what will be the beverage gardens at the army camp Tuesday morning.
Funtastic board president Rob Ellis said Monday and Tuesday would be the heavy loading and unloading days at the army camp, and then, all that will be left will be the arrival of the nearly 200 teams scheduled to play in Vernon at the DND grounds, Kin Race Track and Grahame Park.
“Everything seems good to go,” said Ellis. “We’re sold out for ball teams, and we’ve had really good support from the business community.”
Volunteers for the event are still needed. Anybody wishing to help out can register online at the Funtastic website, funtasticsports.ca.
Along with softball, the other highlight of the long weekend is the tournament’s A&W Music Festival held on the main stage at the army camp.
This year, local bands take the stage Friday; Saturday will have country bands performing and Sunday will see three strong tribute acts.
The lineup is, as follows:
Friday, June 29
7:30-8:30 p.m.: Jon Bos;
8:30-9:30 p.m.: Noble Crew;
9:30-10:30 p.m. Shawn Lightfoot Band:
10:30 p.m.-12 a.m.: The Young’uns;
Saturday, June 30
7-8 p.m.: Dirt Road Kings;
8-9 p.m.: Lost n Found;
9-10:30 p.m.: Appaloosa;
10:45 p.m.-12:15 a.m.: The Road Hammers
Sunday, July 1
7-8:30 p.m.: High Voltage (AC/DC tribute)
9-10:30 p.m.: Aerosmith Rocks;
11 p.m.-12:30 a.m.: The Hip Show (The Tragically Hip tribute).
“We’re looking forward to a good community event, great softball and great music,” said Ellis. “Thank you to everyone for getting involved, and be patient with all of the out-of-town, long weekend traffic.”
There will be 32 teams playing in Funtastic Enderby over the holiday weekend but, for the first time in 28 years, there will be no games in Armstrong.
“We only had eight teams registered as of March,” said Armstrong Funtastic committee member Fran Stecyk. “Our numbers have been dwindling for the past couple of years. We couldn’t run a tournament with only eight teams.”