News Local

No to CarrotFest Sunday

By Miriam King, Bradford Times

Gwilly is the Carrot Mascot of Bradford's CarrotFest. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

Gwilly is the Carrot Mascot of Bradford's CarrotFest. Miriam King/Bradford Times/Postmedia Network

Bradford West Gwillimbury Council received a report from Leisure Services, on the possibility of transforming Carrotfest into a 2-day Festival, taking place Saturday and Sunday.

The report noted that CarrotFest currently costs $50,000, plus $18,000 in in-kind donations, for a festival that begins on Friday evening and ends Saturday night. About $8,000 is generated by vendors' fees, $9,000 comes from the Town, and the rest from various sponsorships, to cover the cost of entertainment and the street buskers that have made the festival so popular.

Extending the Festival for another day would double the costs, to $100,000, Council was told. With no guarantee that additional sponsorship could be found, the Town would be asked to increase its contribution by $35,000.

“Adding Sunday to the event would have a large impact on the schedule of the staff involved, creating overtime as well as making it difficult to maintain the regular weekly operations,” the report warned.

Although Council had originally requested the study, there was no support for a Sunday extension of CarrotFest.

Instead, Deputy Mayor James Leduc proposed an alternative: closing off Holland St. at noon on the Friday, and creating a Midnight Madness festival featuring only downtown Merchants and local entertainment. He suggested there would be “no cost” over and above what is already being spent.

Councillor Gary Lamb said the Friday event could begin at 6 p.m., modeled on Richmond Hill's “Night Market.... It's really great. So much fun.”

“Call it the Bradford Night Market,” Lamb said. “Let's make it easy for our merchants to get out on the streets.”

Councillor Raj Sandhu also vetoed Carrotfest Sunday, and said that he would consider a Friday festival, but only after a new report. “I want to see that on a piece of paper, before I make that decision.”

A decision was deferred, and staff asked to look into the impact, on planning and finances, of a Friday downtown merchant street market.

Councillor Ron Orr recommended canvassing downtown businesses first, “to see if this would even work. We need everybody on board.”

Currently, Ontario Dock Dog competition and the Family Fun Fair at the Lions Park, organized by local churches, are the only events on the Sunday.