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Tourism Industry Association gives $65,000 for County festivals and events during COVID-19

Eleven local festivals and events designed for residents and visitors have received $65,000 in funding from the Tourism Industry Association of Ontario (TIAO) to support meeting COVID-19 related requirements for activities over the fall, winter and spring.

Events include:
– Ghosts of Camp Picton: A Halloween “haunted house” drive-through experience at Loch Sloy. Visitors are invited to enjoy it from their vehicle as lights, audio and actors bring the historic buildings to life.
– Halloween at Mustang Drive-In: Artists will transform the Drive-In for two days of triple-bill ‘spooktacular’ movies.
– ====\\DeRAIL: This inaugural public art initiative spans seven monthly walks taking place from November to May on the Consecon section of the Millennium Trail, led by storyteller Conrad Beaubien and his donkey, Thunder. It is to culminate with an animated, community event experience by the Department of Illumination.
– Firelight Lantern Festival: Lantern kits will be distributed in the community, with Zoom workshops to help create masterpieces on the theme of “Hope.” Instead of the usual parade, the lanterns will stay stationary, safely installed behind the glass of storefronts on Picton’s Main Street, as pedestrians stroll by.
– Regent Theatre: A series of hybrid-model concerts and performances – including new work from Shatterbox Theatre and a performance from local favourite Siobhan Bodrug.
– Slake Brewing Winterfest: Raise a cold one during one of the coldest months, with a new February beer festival at Slake Brewing, featuring local brews, eats and artisan-made treats.
– Flashback February: Marketing support will help spread the word about this museums-led winter season event whose focus is on the history and heritage of Prince Edward County.
– Maple in The County: This beloved springtime event was one of the first local events impacted by COVID-related restrictions, but the County’s maple producers are already thinking about next March, envisioning stringent COVID protocols to help bring back family-friendly agricultural fun.
– Cross County Crackup with Comedy Country: Live-streamed comedy performances, featuring Comedy Country’s signature mix of top-flight Canadian comedy talent alongside a healthy dose of local funny folk from Taste That!
– Storytelling Workshop with Emmanuel Jal: South Sudanese-Canadian artist, actor and activist Emmanual Jal has travelled the world telling his story as a former child soldier, using art and creativity to knit together a powerful story of survival, resilience and empowerment. Jal will lead the attendees who identify as Black, Indigenous or Persons of Colour through a one-day workshop on storytelling, followed by an open-to-all performance.
– All Welcome Here POCnic: Spring POCnic brings together local Black, Indigenous and People of Colour food producers, farmers, artisans and artists to create an indoor and outdoor market with storytelling and art.

Providing funding for new and reimagined events is part of a tourism recovery strategy that incorporates input from the Mayor’s Economic Recovery Team and was developed in consultation with the Destination Development and Marketing Working Group.

The strategy also includes development of an updated visitor guide and visitor-focused promotional materials, workshops, coaching and marketing support for experience development. It also includes micro-grants to support marketing of new products or experiences, an expanded Countylicious program with the Culinary Tourism Alliance, development of a strategy, packages and materials to support small group wellness retreats, corporate retreats and incentive travel and finalization of a long-term strategy guiding future development of the tourism sector.

“Tourism is one of the largest and fastest growing sectors of the Prince Edward County economy, accounting for more than 2,000 jobs according to 2016 figures,” notes the muncipality’s Mark Kerr, Communications and Public Consultations.

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