Four Collingwood events have received more than $125,000 in provincial funding through the Celebrate Ontario grants, announced today.

The 2014 Collingwood Elvis Festival saw record attendance of nearly 30,000 visitors, of which 39% were first time visitors. The Celebrate Ontario funding will be used to enhance the first time visitor experience.

The Collingwood Elvis Festival received $61,200. This funding will support a transformation into a new chapter for the Festival with emphasis on the first time visitor experience and expansion of the target visitor demographic. The Collingwood Elvis Festival will continue to celebrate the life of “The King” with world renowned tribute artists and high production values. The Festival will also include celebrations of Elvis’ influence on music, the art of performing, and pop culture in general, from his origins to the present day.

Sidelaunch Days, a new festival for 2015, was awarded $14,625 to assist with funding the entertainment portion of the festival. Sidelaunch Days will celebrate life in, on, and around Collingwood Harbour, both past and present. Activities will include historic walking tours, water sport trials and demonstrations, and the longstanding Collingwood Music and Arts Festival. The showpiece of the event will be a historic photo and footage exhibit projected onto Collingwood’s iconic grain elevators.

Carve This Way! The annual Collingwood BIA ice sculpture festival received $25,425 towards furthering the enhancements that were first launched with the Town of Collingwood’s Winter Wonderland events in 2014. Pine Street Central Station will be a family friendly venue, enhance the visitor experience, and create a vibrant event in addition to the sculptures and demonstration areas.

Snowflake Carnival, was awarded $24,300 and is another new festival for 2015. Hosted by the Collingwood BIA and the Town of Collingwood, this is a new 10-day winter festival beginning on the Friday of the February Family Day holiday weekend, and coinciding with Heritage Week in Ontario. As Collingwood’s downtown is recognized as the first downtown area to be recognized federally as an “Historic Place”, this festival will showcase the area and celebrate its culture, heritage, and tourist attractions.

The Town of Collingwood is excited to welcome visitors to these new and enhanced festivals. According to the Ministry of Tourism, Culture, and Sport, the festivals and events industry in Ontario is estimated to generate in excess of $2.3 billion annually in contribution to regional GDP. The Ministry also notes that from 2008 to 2013, festivals and events created/sustained approximately 50,000 full-year-equivalent jobs.