Lily Festival future will be decided next week


By Kate Jackman-Atkinson

The Neepawa Banner

This year marked the Neepawa and Area Lily Festival’s 18th year and with it, the retirement of over half the festival committee’s board. On Monday, the future of the festival will be discussed and decided at a public meeting which will give anyone wanting get involved the chance to come forward.

Administrator Audrey Heffell said that if the festival is going to continue, new people will have to come forward.

This year, six of the committee’s 10 board members will be retiring and Heffell said, “The purpose [of the meeting] is to find new people who will come on board to organize next year’s festival.” Many of the board members have been involved since the festival’s first year. Heffell said that she too plans to retire this year, after seven years as the festival’s administrator.

In addition to looking for people to step forward to join the board, Heffell said that this is also an opportunity for people to propose new ideas for the festival. She explained that there will be at least one person presenting a new direction for the festival. “We need new ideas and new energy,” said Heffell.

In the last 18 years, the festival has put a lot of money into the town. This year’s festival drew visitors from 14 different countries who stayed, ate and shopped in the town. The festival itself spent between $90,000 and $100,000 with local businesses and the 40 out of town vendors spent an average of $500 on food, fuel and accommodations. “It would be a shame to see it go,” said Heffell.

While there are many options for the festival going forward, Heffell said the committee is clear about one thing-without new board members, the festival won’t continue. “We can’t run with three people, we need a board to run,” she said.

New board members will be sworn in at the festival’s AGM in November.

The Neepawa and Area Lily Festival community meeting will be held on Monday, Sept 29, at 7 p.m. at the Neepawa Library.