Lily Festival will return in 2015


Submitted article

The annual general meeting of the Neepawa & Area Lily Festival on Nov. 6  saw five new people come forward and confirm that they will be joining the organization’s board of directors and another five who have shown interest in joining the board.  People came forward at a public meeting last month and again at the AGM with lots of new ideas to help ensure that the festival will build upon the success of previous festivals.

The 19th Annual Neepawa & Area Lily Festival to be held July 24, 25 and 26, 2015.

Long-time festival administrator, Audrey Heffell is retiring as of Dec. 31. Heffell said, “I  know I will miss the friendship and co-operation of the group and wish you all the best with the next festival.” Advertising is going out shortly to seek a replacement administrator.

In his report to the meeting, outgoing festival chair Ken Waddell, said, “On many fronts the 2014 Lily Festival was the best ever. Certainly the parade and the variety of entertainment and activities were second to none. I want to especially thank Audrey and all our board and volunteers for their hard work. The Lily Festival is Neepawa’s signature event and it’s seen by may people as one of the best festivals in Manitoba. Visitors tells us repeatedly how much they enjoy the flowers, the food, the entertainment and all the activities.”

Waddell also stated, “Compared to other festivals though, it would good if there were more funds and available to the festival. The Town of Neepawa doesn’t currently spend much on tourism and that needs to change. The festival is a year-round tourism theme and effort. The Lily office is the ideal venue to coordinate  tourism efforts.”

The festival showed a loss of $15,000 due largely to a reduction in grants received and sponsorships from the business community. Waddell said, “Many in the business community benefit directly from the festival. Those who don’t benefit directly reap indirect benefits. The community is well advertised by the festival efforts. Sometimes, the benefits of such an event don’t happen just that weekend. If a local business directly benefits, they have more money to spend locally and the money gets spread around in the local economy.”

A new executive was elected consisting of past chairman Ken Waddell, Lily Festival chairman: Brent Hunter, secretary: Jenna Kilburn, treasurer: Agni Demey, festival events: Amanda Novak and properties: Ron Santos. The board is still seeking people to fill the positions of vice chairman, marketing chair, sponsorship chair, Lily Development chair and Amanda Novak is seeking a co-chair with the festival events position.